June 28, 2005 8:40 AM PDT

iPod screens go all-color

Apple Computer has switched to color screens for all its standard iPods and has updated its iTunes software to let people more easily download podcasts.

The move, which combines Apple's iPod and iPod Photo lines, means that black-and-white screens are now found only on iPod Minis, company said Tuesday.

The new 60GB iPod can store 25,000 digital photos or 15,000 songs, while the new 20GB version can hold 20,000 photos or 5,000 songs. The company released a new 20GB iPod U2 Special Edition with a color screen as well.

"We think this continues to add heat to our lineup," said Greg Joswiak, vice president of iPod product marketing. Joswiak declined to comment on reports that the iPod inventory had begun to swell ahead of Tuesday's announcement, saying that the company is in a quiet period ahead of its earnings report next month.

The new 20GB iPod sells for $299; the 60GB version is priced at $399. The U2 iPod costs $329, which is $20 less than a prior model that had a black-and-white screen. Apple also announced a price cut from $149 to $129 on the 1GB iPod Shuffle, which has no screen.

The new iPods, as well as the iPods and iPod Minis already in consumers' hands, can also take advantage of new podcasting features that Apple added to its iTunes software on Tuesday. Apple CEO Steve Jobs had announced earlier this year plans to let iTunes support the creation and distribution of podcasts.

Apple added on Tuesday direct access to about 3,000 podcasts from within the iTunes Music Store, including newly developed podcasts from ABC News, ESPN and Disney.

"We're very excited about bringing so many free podcasts to our iTunes and iPod customers," said Eddie Cue, vice president of applications for Apple.

The company would not comment on whether it may eventually charge for some content.

"Today is all about free podcasts," Joswiak said. The two Apple executives also declined to comment on reports that Apple is nearly ready to announce an iTunes-compatible cell phone being developed with Motorola.

Apple said a link in the main podcast page within the iTunes Music Store will allow any podcaster to submit a broadcast to the directory. Apple will make sure that the podcast is live and active before adding it to the directory, the company said.

There will be an option for the podcaster to mark a podcast as explicit and there is also a "report concern" button that customers can use to report problematic content.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said the move to add color will help Apple keep pace as competitors look to add similar features.

"We see the changes in both iPod and iPod Shuffle pricing and features as proactive steps by Apple to continue to gain market share," Munster said in a research note. "The lower pricing on the iPod shuffle will allow Apple to continue to dominate the flash-based device market, and we do not expect margins will be significantly impacted, due to declining flash memory pricing."

CNET News.com's Dinesh Sharma contributed to this report.

16 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
No middle of the line product.
Now, there Apple is missing not only a 40 gig iPod but also a 30
gig iPod. With this latest announcement, the 30 gig has been
cut, meaning there is no poduct in the middle of the lne, which
as it just so happens I was seriously considering purchasing.

On a side note, does anyone know if iPhoto compresses pictures
when it copies them over to the iPod? It seems pointless to copy
over a full resolution copy when it is only going to be shown on
a tiny screen or on a low resolution TV (and if the TV isn't low
resolution, the connector is anyway). Just seems like that would
add more loading time and put more wear and tear on the
device itself, having to load images a hundred times bigger than
they have to be.
Posted by hatandglasses13 (68 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes, the photos are compressed
The picture files are compressed before they are synced with the
iPod. You can also have it store the full-quality file on the iPod by
setting the preferences appropriately. Also, full quality files are
transfered automatically if downloaded directly from a camera.
Posted by (7 comments )
Link Flag
Photos
From what I have read and heard it stores multiple copies of each photo at different resolutions. This allows it to give fast photo browsing while still having the resolution for TV out.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Link Flag
question
I didn't think that the iPod photo came in a 20g model - rather it was a 30. Is this another photo model, or what?
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
It's a "new" model
The 'Photo' feature is now standard on all HD-based iPods. While it seems like there should be an intermediate model between the 20GB and 60GB HD sizes, I suspect the lack of one indicates that Apple is still having problems moving the biggest iPod off store shelves. $100 for an extra 40GB of storage isn't that bad of a deal, however, especially in the realm of iPods. But it does seem like Apple is retreading territory Creative had previously gone through with their original 20GB/60GB Nomad Zen...
Posted by make_or_break (3747 comments )
Link Flag
YES!!! Even less Battery life!
just what the iPod needed... something to suck its already short battery life down even quicker. I really hope apple fixes the battery issues before they release this thing.
Posted by (18 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What Battery Issue?
ah, what battery issue? all recharable batteries have the exact same issue, they don't last forever. The lack of customer understanding that they don't last forever is the issue.
Posted by (23 comments )
Link Flag
middle of the road
As many of you have pointed out, this latest revision leaves the
mid size market clear. Perhaps Apple has something new to fill
in here - I believe they have told media outlets to be ready for
new product annoucements during the first week of July, so who
knows. As for the battery issue, the photo models have offered
better battery life than the previous models - though continually
looking through photos does seem to drain the battery, 15
hours of music should really do most.
Posted by (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
exploitive iPods vs others
If this works- Apple is exploiting the brainwashed mania among affluent consumers and wannabee affluents for these overpriced devices. Look in stores- they are all in locked cages against the theft potential from people who "need" these things- Apple is playing catch up with the other brands in offering color screens SO WHAT . U2 sold themselves for Apple iPod pop glory --their last album is NOT THAT GOOD
Posted by eeee (672 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dude, Get A Life ...
Oh, great saviour whomever you are, save us from our mindless
desire to choose products that please us.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Link Flag
and you are.....?
EM:
Go to the Apple Stores & iPods are NOT locked up in glass cases, plus they are out on diplay for customers to play with.

When did your last album come out & when can I buy it on iTunes Music Store for my U2 iPod?

Go buy the IPOD MP4 Shuffle rip off from China (until Apple sues their a## off!)
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.