Apple springs iPod Photo surprise

The iPod Photo makes a surprise debut as Apple revamps its music player range with color screens and a special edition iPod U2.

At a special music event expected to see the launch of the U2 iPod held Tuesday, Apple sprang a surprise by also releasing the rumored iPod Photo, a version of the music player capable of storing and showing photos.

The iPod Photo, which is available immediately, comes in 40GB and 60GB versions and looks identical to current iPods, but uses a 220x176 pixel display capable of showing up to 65,536 colors. The iPod Photo synchronizes images with iPhoto automatically on Mac, and with Adobe Photoshop Elements for Windows users.

The display is capable of showing up to 25 images at the same time, allowing users to scroll through their photo library for the desired image. It includes an AV cable to connect directly with either a TV or projector.

"Having both your entire photo and music collections with you wherever you go is the next big thing," said Steve Jobs, Apples CEO in a statement. "Everyone has a digital camera and wants to enjoy and share their growing library of digital photos wherever they are. Unlike video content, photo content is free and abundant, and there are no copyright issues to deal with."

The iPod Photo is priced at $499 for a 40GB version, and $599 for the 60GB model.

In addition to the iPod Photo, the company also announced the iPod U2. This is a special edition of the 20GB iPod, shipping in November and priced at $349. iPod U2 is black, with a red click wheel, and comes with the signatures of the band engraved on the back. Buyers will also receive a voucher worth $50 off the purchase of "The Complete U2", a "digital boxed set" of the bands releases totally 400 tracks, and including 25 rare and previously unreleased songs. "The Complete U2" will be priced at $149 on its release in late November, while the iPod U2 itself will be available in mid-November.