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Apple : A Few More Things, Actually

Today, at a very exclusive press event, Apple announced a sprinkle of new items; from iPod to iTunes and much more, the company made some very bold moves today.

As speculated, there is a new iPod out. Called The iPod, it has a 2.5" color screen, with QVGA resolution (320 x 240). Jobs claims the device will be 30% thinner than the current 20GB iPod, which would make it about .44" thick - slim. The iPod will be available in black, and will be offered at 30Gb and 60Gb sizes ($299 and $399 respectively). Apple say the device will do real-time decoding of MPEG4 and H.264. The devices will begin shipping next week, and, will come with a case. Apple is still getting flak over the scratch happy iPod nano; presumably made out of a similar design, the company doesn't appear interested in a repeat. In other iPod news, Apple updated the list of car companies with iPod features in-built.

Apple have also announced updates to the iMac line. The new iMac is thinner, and has an in-built iSight video camera built in. Included is a new application called PhotoBooth. It lets you take pictures with the iSight and email them to friends, adding special effects, if you'd like. It even uses the iMac screen as a "flash" of sorts. The new models are $1299 for the 17 inch and $1699 for the 20 inch. Both include Bluetooth, Superdrives (DVD-RW/CD-RW) and a Mighty Mouse (Apple's new two-button mouse) and are available starting today. Click 'read more' for the full specifications.

Apple have also announced a new version of iTunes, coming out today. Version six, hot on the heels of a version five release literally weeks ago, will feature the ability to purchase music videos for $1.99. The store launches with 2,000 music videos. Said videos come with a similar DRM setup, allowing the playback of the videos on up to 5 computers. iTunes lets you preview the entire video for free before purchase. A slightly upgrade version of Quicktime is shipped with version six of iTunes.

Next step, movies/TV? Bingo! Apple have signed up with ABC (think Lost, Desperate Housewives, etc) and users will be able to purchase shows for $1.99. Shows will be available the day after screening on TV. The move into movies is not unexpected; studio executives no doubt hope that Apple will stem online piracy in this arena in a similar manner to that of the music industry. Whilst there are obvious perks for the idea of purchasing media in this fashion (advert free, watch at leisure etc) there are several negatives; the small size of video for one. Let's not forget that most users will have already paid for this content in one form or another; whether they'll be happy paying for it again is unclear.

Apple were screening the event at the BBC studios in London; there was some speculation that there would be video content for UK users but alas, that does not seem to be the case at this time. Raw deal continued, UK consumers will be paying £1.89 per video. We're not exactly sure which exchange rate Apple are working to here, but be sure it isn't a fair one.

At the event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that "we're doing for video what we've done for music—we're making it easy and affordable to purchase and download, play on your computer, and take with you on your iPod."

Other changes to the music store include 'gifting'; you purchase music for someone else, who receives and email and gets the music for free. Second, peer-reviewed customer reviews of content. Finally, an Amazon style recommendations service titled 'Just-for-you'. Elsewhere in the software department, Jobs debuted FrontRow, shipping with all new iMacs. The program is essentially a media player allowing you to watch your videos / pictures etc on the iMac screen. The clever bit is the iPod style, six-button remote that it ships with.

View: Apple.com

Screenshot: iTunes + Lost | New Ipod

View: New iPod | iPod Remote | iMac (All at Apple store)

Download: iTunes 6.0 Direct Download

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