Friday, September 14, 2007

Apple launches new iPod line

Today, at the Intercontinental Hotel in Mumbai, Apple announced the launch of four new iPod products in India.

New versions of the iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano and the iPod Classic will be available beginning next week, said EY Yeo, senior product marketing manager for Apple Asia Pacific. He added that the fourth and final product -- the all new iPod Touch -- should be available sometime in October.

"Music is universal. There is no specific demographic of music listeners. We believe these four products cover the whole range of tastes. They're available in different sizes, price ranges, storage capacities and colours." Mr Yeo replied, when asked if the new products were marketed at a specific audience.

The Flash-driven iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano are the most popular iPod products in Asia, comprising roughly 80% of sales. The new versions of these best sellers -- the third generation of both -- emphasise the desire for fashionable products in younger circles, according to Mr Yeo.

The new Shuffle -- which clips onto clothes and comes in an assortment of colours -- sports 1GB of memory and will be introduced at Rs 4500.

The Nano, which made a splash worldwide two years ago, retains the functionality of the original iPod at roughly 15% the size and weight. The Nano is offered with two different sets of specifications: the 4GB version for Rs 8,800 and the 8GB version for Rs 11,400.

The iPod classic -- Apple's flagship model in the line -- is now in its sixth generation. "The iPod classic is for people who have 10GB of photos, 30GB of movies and 100GB of songs!" Said Mr Yeo. Its impressive battery life -- 40 hours of continuous play -- marks a significant improvement in the technology.

The iPod Classic is also available at two different prices with different specifications: the 80GB version sells for Rs 14,500 while the 160GB version costs Rs 20,400. "With this much storage capacity, the iPod Classic can serve as a portable hard drive." Said Mr Yeo.

The iPod Touch, which will certainly be available before holiday season, uses the same input technology as the Apple iPhone. There is no accompanying stylus pen, because users only need a finger to operate the device.

Amazingly, it is only 8 millimetres thick, but still boasts a 3.5 inch viewing screen. Also, by incorporating wi-fi, the iPod Touch allows owners to surf the Internet while on the move. An agreement with Youtube makes downloading streaming video a breeze, as the player comes with an in-built Youtube command centre.

The iPod Touch also comes in two different models: the 8GB version (Rs 17,700) and 16GB version (Rs 23,600).

When asked if the Touch would move away from Flash-driven technology in the future, to increase its storage capacity, Mr Yeo said, "It's only 8 millimetres thick. If you add a hard drive, it becomes too heavy. We want it to be stylish."

With worldwide sales surpassing 100 million, the iPod is the most successful digital audio player in history.

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