Apple shuffles iPod line up

Announces iPhone-like iPod touch while cheapening the iPhone
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Apple has overhauled its entire iPod range adding for the first time ever a touch-sensitive version of the ubiquitous MP3 player, as well as announcing a raft of changes to its existing line up.

The iPhone-like touch was the main attraction with several firsts for an iPod announced. In addition to the touch-sensitive screen, Jobs also revealed that it would feature wi-fi as well as a web browser - allowing wireless iTunes access.

One of the surprise annoncements, however, was the dropping of the price of the 8GB iPhone by $200 and the ditching of the 4GB model. Even by Apple's high standards this is a poke in the eye for its slavishly loyal early adopter fanboy community.

"The iPod touch is a landmark iPod, ushering in a whole new generation of features based on its revolutionary multi-touch interface and built-in Wi-Fi wireless networking," said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO.

It isn't the first time a device has offered such functionality, however, with Commodore's Gravel, Microsoft's Zune and Archos' new range of MP4 players offering similar functionality.

The success of Wi-Fi MP3 players probably depends on universal, free Wi-Fi access. With that in mind, Jobs also announced that Apple had signed a deal with Starbucks to give iPod touch owners access to Apple's wi-fi iTunes store for free while in one of their stores.

The move further blurs the lines between its iPod range and mobile phones with the touch reflecting the styling of the iPhone much more than the traditional design of the iPod.

The touch will come in two versions: the smallest being an 8GB version and the larger one being 16GB. Jobs also announced the US and UK pricing – the smaller version costing £199 ($299) with the larger version priced at £269 ($399). They are expected to hit shelves later this month.

The nano got a new look and can now show video, while the HDD iPod was renamed 'classic' and now comes in 80GB and 160GB capacities. But overshadowing all the product news has to be the iPhone price cut.

"The surveys are in and iPhone customer satisfaction scores are higher than we’ve ever seen for any Apple product," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO, in a stunning display of hubris and customer insensitivity

PC Retail would love to hear how satisfied iPhone early adopters are that everyone can now buy their lovely toy at a third of the price they paid for it. Perhaps Jobs, having seen how Apple fanboys love jumping to his defence, has decided to set them a new challenge. Good luck boys.

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