Apple Refreshes iPods, Cuts
iPhone Prices"> Over the course of the next year, iPod Touch owners will start seeing a special "Starbucks" icon appear when they come within range of a Starbucks T-Mobile-powered Wi-Fi network. This new store button will allow users to view what the most recent 10 songs played in that store were, with one-click purchasing and download available. Users will also be able to browse the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, complete with a special Starbucks music section, for free. However, users will not be able to access the Internetfor example, Web browsing or e-mailingfor free. That will still require a paid signup on the Starbucks wireless service.The iPod Touch will also include YouTube browsing, Google search and a contact manager. Prices will be $299 for an 8GB model and $399 for a 16GB model. The iPod Classic, which was previously known simply as the iPod, also got a makeover, with an all-metal case that closely resembles that of the iPod Nano. Available immediately in silver and black, an 80GB version costs $249, with the 160GB model at $349. Analysts attending the announcement seemed to respond well to the news of the day. "This is the most aggressive refresh ever from Apple," said Van Baker, a research vice president at Gartner. "This is a very powerful set of products with aggressive pricing. The new iPod Nano will show up under Christmas trees like crazy." He also said that he felt the iPod Touch would be a solid seller and that "the deal with Starbucks is strong." He said that the agreement would cut into the price-per-song-sold that Apple earns, "but Apple is all about selling iPods." Baker noted that cell phone giant Nokia had held a large event the previous week in London, announcing new music-enabled phones and a music store of the companys own. "It pales in comparison," Baker added. Michael Gartenberg, a vice president and research director at JupiterResearch, said that "todays news is not particularly good for Apples competition." Click here to read more about the long list of improvements power users want to see in the iPhone. He said that some new iPod models could compete with each other based on features. However, some customers will buy solely for technology, perhaps going for the iPod Classic, while others will also be motivated by style, he said. Gartenberg called the Starbucks deal "another way of enhancing the iPods Wi-Fi capabilities," noting that it is "a first step, but a complete step." He also played down suggestions that the iPhones price drop was motivated by poor sales. "There was so much demand initially, but $599 is not a mass-market product. I suspect the price drop was baked in from the beginning. Its a bold move, and likely to make a spike in iPhone sales," Gartenberg said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.
This feature will start to "light up" in approximately 5,800 Starbuck locations in New York and Seattle starting Oct. 2, with San Francisco following in Nov., Los Angeles in Feb. and Chicago in March.