Cheaper iPods hit town

Cheaper iPods hit town

MAKING sure it stays ahead of its rivals, Apple has updated its iPod photo line with a slim new 30GB model and prices to match.

Apple has dropped the 40GB, which sold for $956, in favour of the 30GB model which is selling for $579, and has reduced the price of the 60GB model from $1,136 to $759.

Due to be released here early next month, the new iPod camera connector allows users to connect their camera directly to the iPod for transfer - removing the need to transfer via computer.

While the Apple division at Renaissance doesn’t have delivery or pricing details on the connector as yet, the accessory is retai-ling for $US29.

At the same time the company also unveiled its second-generation iPod mini with new 4GB and 6GB models. Described by Apple CEO Steve Jobs as hitting the magic price point, the new minis are priced at $349 and $419, respectively, and feature extended battery life of up to 18 hours.

Meanwhile, IDC has conducted a teardown analysis and has come up with an estimate of how much it costs Apple to make an iPod Shuffle.

Using flash memory supplied by Samsung Electronics in South Korea costs around $US37.50 for each Shuffle, two thirds of the estimated $US59 it costs to make a 512MB model.

With the iShuffle retailing for $US99, IDC says Apple is making roughly 40% profit on each sale - which will increase with the anticipated reduction in the cost of flash memory.

In the same week rival Creative released its latest flash-based MP3 player, the MuVo Micro N200, targeting the mini market.

Creative’s offering requires no software so file and photos can be transferred from the desktop via a USB 2.0 port.

Nick Angelucci, Creative marketing manager, says the company is positioning itself as number two in the flash memory market. “There are a lot of people out there that aren’t iPoders and our customers are more sophisticated than the average iPod user,” he says.

While smaller than the iPod mini in both size and price, the MuVo Micro lacks the mega-storage that iPod has, available in 128MB, 256MB and 512MB. “The average user doesn’t have 10,000 songs - they might have 100 albums at most and Creative products don’t require a computer to transfer music.”

Angelucci says although Apple advertising has worked extremely well there are many iPod buyers who are unaware they need a computer to load music onto it.

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