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Apple Introduces Upgraded iPod

By ECT News Desk E-Commerce Times ECT News Network
Jul 19, 2004 12:24 PM PT

Apple today released its beefed-up, fourth generation iPod, the cigarette box-sized, 5.6 ounce, portable digital music player whose widespread popularity has punched up Apple's profits considerably in recent months.

Apple Introduces Upgraded iPod

The hot sales numbers for the device -- along with the latest generation's added features, such as longer battery time and up to 40-GB capacity -- have even gained the "Walkman of the 21st Century" the cover spot on this week's edition of Newsweek. The iPod is compatible with both Macs and PCs.

"The best digital music player just got better," Apple CEO Steve Jobs said. He pointed out that it is now smaller and "puts up to 10,000 songs in your pocket."

New 'Click Wheel'

The new iPod features such upgrades as Apple's patent pending Click Wheel, which combines the smooth and continuous scrolling of a touch-sensitive wheel with five push buttons for better navigation. Previous generations of the device relied more on control buttons.

The new version also includes a rechargeable, 12-hour battery -- a 50 percent boost over previous models. Another new feature is Shuffle Songs, a command in the main menu that gives users instant access to songs in their library.

All iPods work with Apple's iTunes, providing music fans with a digital jukebox on either a Mac or Windows computer and access to the iTunes Music Store, Apple's digital music service.

The new iPod sells for US$299 for a 20-GB model or $399 for a 40-GB model.

Wider Range of Use

Despite its music focus, the Newsweek story points out that fans of the device use it for more than tunes.

"It's the limousine for the spoken word," Newsweek quoted Audible CEO Don Katz, whose struggling digital audiobooks company has been revitalized by having its products on Apple's iTunes store, as saying. Computer users have discovered that its vast storage capacity makes it useful for keeping huge digital files -- for instance, the makers of the "Lord of the Rings" movies used iPods to shuttle dailies from the set to the studio.

iPod features Apple's patent pending Auto-Sync technology that automatically downloads an entire digital music library onto iPod and keeps it up-to-date whenever it is plugged into a Mac or Windows computer using USB or Apple's FireWire. Users can transfer two songs per second from their Mac or Windows computer.

iPod requires a Mac with a FireWire port and Mac OS X version 10.1.5 or later (Mac OS X 10.2 or later is recommended); or a Windows PC with a FireWire or USB port, or a Windows-certified FireWire or USB card, and Windows 2000, XP Home or Professional.

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Which of these tech companies has the greatest *positive* impact on society?