Apple adds touch screen to iPods

Apple has refreshed its iPod lineup, adding touch screen and wireless internet connectivity to the devices.

Apple Inc. has revamped its iPod lineup, adding the touch screen and wireless capability introduced with the iPhone in June, as well as access to video games.

CEOSteve Jobs unveiled the new lineup, which includes a new iPod Shuffle and a smaller Nano, at a media event in San Francisco on Wednesday.

The Nano will now play video and games such as a Sudoku program developed by Electronic Arts Inc. The 4 GBand 8 GBNanos with two-inch video screens, which are about the size of a Zippo lighter, will cost $169 and $219, respectively.

The centrepiece of the lineup, the iPod Touch, features the same 3.5-inch touch screen as the iPhone. Like the Nano,the Touch uses flash memory, which is smaller than the hard drives of previous players. The Touch, at 8 millimetres thick, is as a result thinner than previous iPod models, and comes with either an 8 GBor 16 GBmemory card, at $329 and $449, respectively, and will be available later this month.

The Touch also has Wi-Fi wireless capability that allows it to connect through a hotspot to the internet, which can then be surfed with the built-in Safari web browser. Users will also be able to use the Wi-Fi to connect to Apple's online music store iTunes and purchase songs.

"We think it’s one of the seven wonders of the world," Jobs said at the conference. "If you have used an iPhone you will feel very much at home."

Apple also announced a refresh of its older video iPod models, now renamed the iPod "Classic." The two additions to this line, which will continue to use a built-in hard drive, have 80 GBand 160 GBof memory and sell for $279 and $399, respectively.

The company also said it would release a new version of iTunes that will allow iPhone owners to create their own ring tones with songs they buy. Users will be able to save a 30-second clip of the song and use it as a ring tone for 99 cents US.

Apple has not announced when or if the iPhone will be available in Canada. Jobs said the new iPods would be available immediately, although the Touch will not be available in Canada until later this month, the company said.

During the announcement, Jobs also poked fun at NBC Universal, which this week said it would stop selling its television shows on iTunes.

With John Lennon's Give Peace a Chance playing in the background, Jobs joked: "That's for when NBC calls."

Apple has sold more than 100 million iPods since unveiling the device in 2001 and commands more than 70 per cent of the global digital music player market, according to analyst estimates.

Corrections

  • The new iPod Nano and Touch use USB flash drives, which are not easily removable, as was originally reported.
    Sep 06, 2007 3:10 PM ET