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Associated Press, Published September 01 2010

Apple updates iPods, slashes price on new Apple TV

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple Inc. took the wraps off its latest iPod media players Wednesday and also updated its Apple TV offering, announcing a more compact and cheaper device that will arrive later this month.

At a media event in San Francisco, Apple showcased the company's newest iPods. The company's popular iPod Nano will get a multitouch screen, while the iPod Touch will get many of the features of Apple's iPhone 4, including a high-resolution display and a front-facing video camera.

The new iPods will go on sale next week. The iPod Nano will start at $149 for an 8 gigabyte version, while an iPod Touch with the same memory will start at $229.

"Even though the iPod has the No. 1 market share, we've never rested on our laurels," Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said at the event, calling the latest updates "the biggest change to our iPod lineup ever."

The company also updated its iPod Shuffle, adding back the button controls. The Shuffle will start at $49.

The iPod is now Apple's smallest product line in terms of revenue, behind the iPhone, Mac computer and iPad tablet. The company sold about 9.4 million iPod units during its June quarter— down 8 percent from the same period last year.

However, the device is still considered an important part of its growing iTunes ecosystem, and the iPod Touch extends the market for app developers targeting the iPhone and iPad devices.

In addition to the iPod, Apple also unveiled a redesigned Apple TV, which is one-quarter the size of its original device. The new Apple TV will support only rentals of movies and TV shows instead of downloads. The company's iTunes store will offer high-definition TV shows to rent for 99 cents, thought it said only Walt Disney Co.'s ABC network and News Corp.'s Fox will support the rental option for the time being.

"Not all studios wanted to get on board with (99-cent rentals) for now," Jobs said.

The new Apple TV will sell for $99 — a sharp drop from the original $229 price. The product will be available sometime in late September, Jobs added.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.