As widely predicted the highlight of the Macworld Expo in San Francisco on Tuesday proved to be baby version of the iPod hard disk music player. The iPod mini is smaller and lighter than the existing iPod (though not by much), is available in five fashionable colours and features a new click wheel for faster access to tracks.
It is available with just 4Gb of storage, which Apple claims should be enough for around 1000 songs if the AAC format, as used by the iTunes music download service, is chosen. Battery life is rated at about eight hours – the same as the iPod – and there are versions for both Mac and Windows users.
It goes on sale in the US in February and in the UK in April. It will retail for £199 – about the same price as products from Rio, Creative Labs and Archos which all feature five times the capacity (20Gb). Rio is responding to the Apple announcement with a new 4Gb Nitrus player while Creative is launching the 4Gb MuVo 2. Both are expected to be considerably cheaper the the new iPod.
But although storage for the new iPod is limited, it is probably enough for most people, apart from serious music enthusiasts. We suspect the mini iPod is all about broadening the appeal of the player to pull in both more causal music fans and – given the several pastel colours in the range – women.
Other announcements at the Macworld Expo include an upgrade for the 10Gb iPod to 15Gb (the price will remain at £249) and a range of software enhancements including a new version of the iPhoto digital photography package. There was however no sign of the predicted Video iPod. Maybe that will follow later in the year.
Meanwhile microsoft has given a further boost to Apple by announcing that a new version of its Office software for the Mac is on the way and that another is already in the works.
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