Apple Locks Up Low End of Music Player Field -- In a move sure to stymie competitors' attempts to offer less-expensive MP3 players than the wildly popular iPod line, Apple last week lowered the prices of its tiny iPod shuffle players and introduced a new, less-expensive 1 GB model of the sleek iPod nano. The new $150 nano joins the existing 2 GB and 4 GB models, which remain $200 and $250, respectively, and is available immediately in black or white, worldwide. In the meantime, the 512 MB and 1 GB models of the iPod shuffle fall to $70 and $100.
Apple also announced that cable TV network Showtime is tossing its hat in the episodes-for-sale ring. The complete first seasons of Weeds, Sleeper Cell, and Fat Actress are available now for $2 per episode, joining a selection of programs from MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon that were added late last month, such as South Park, Jackass, and Dora the Explorer. Television shows on the iTunes Music Store are available only in the U.S. [MHA]