Just when it seemed like the competition was encroaching on the iPod's turf, Apple has broken away from the pack with a new and improved version of its hugely popular portable media player.
The iPod Photo was announced Tuesday (October 26) at a press conference in San Jose, California. As the name implies, the latest edition of the iPod displays images in addition to playing music. On a two-inch color screen, users can shuffle through up to 25,000 photos, 25 thumbnails at a time. Digital images are loaded into the device via the latest version of Apple's iTunes software, also unveiled Tuesday.
Similar to the fourth-generation iPod, which was released this summer, the iPod Photo features the scrolling click-wheel as its only button. Unlike its predecessor's hard drive, which maxed out at 40 GB, it's available in a 60 GB version, capable of storing up to 15,000 songs or 25,000 photos. With an included AV cable, users can connect the device to their TVs for a slideshow complete with musical accompaniment taken from its stored songs.
The iPod Photo also comes with an improved battery, capable of more than 15 hours of continuous play. A 40GB iPod Photo sells for $499, while the 60GB device will go for $599.
With U2's Bono and the Edge also on hand, Apple also unveiled the U2 Special Edition iPod, due in mid-November. Decked out in black with a bright red click-wheel and featuring the engraved signatures of U2's bandmembers on the back, the U2 Special Edition iPod comes with a 20GB hard drive and sells for $349. It also includes an exclusive U2 poster and a coupon for $50 off The Complete U2, an all-digital 400-track box set available on Apple's iTunes Music Store in late November. The set comprises all of U2's albums, including How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, due November 23, as well as more than 25 rare and unreleased tracks.
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