Apple revamped its iPod lineup today, making the portable music player more attractive to music lovers. Although still based on the basic white iPod design, the new model incorporates a "click wheel," the innovative controller introduced with the iPod mini (see "iPod mini Joins Successful Music Player Line"). The four touch-sensitive buttons found above the scroll wheel on the previous iPod line are gone, replaced by the capability to press the edges of the scroll wheel to play, rewind, fast-forward, or access menus.
The new iPod is also a millimeter thinner than previous models. Perhaps more exciting is Apple's claim that the new models can get up to 12 hours of playback time before the battery needs recharging.
The software for the Click Wheel iPods has changed a bit, too. A new top-level menu item called Music is the portal to your tunes. Apple has also moved the Shuffle Songs option to the top level for easy access, and you can now store multiple On-The-Go playlists. For fans of audio books, the iPod software can play back at different speeds (without sounding unintelligible). Apple has also released iPod Updater 2004-07-15, which includes iPod Software 3.0 for the Click Wheel iPod; iPod Software 1.1 for the iPod mini; iPod Software 2.2 for third-generation iPods with the dock connector; and iPod Software 1.4 for previous iPod models. (Note that the software for all models prior to the Click Wheel iPods hasn't changed since the last updates released for them.)
The new iPods come in two configurations. A 20 GB version, for $300, weighs 5.6 ounces (159 grams) and includes earbud earphones, an AC adapter, a FireWire cable, and a USB 2.0 cable (the latter was previously available separately). For $400, the 40 GB model weighs 6.2 ounces (176 grams) and also includes an iPod Dock. Both prices reflect $100 off of similarly configured third-generation models. Both configurations are available now.
In related news, HP announced that it would release its HP-branded iPods, based on the new design, in September.