Apple pares down iPod

Apple has radically updated its iPod MP3 player with a new version that weighs in at just 159 grams--slightly lighter than the 185 grams of the existing model.

Apple on Tuesday radically updated its iPod MP3 player with a new version that weighs in at just 159 grams--slightly lighter than the 185 grams of the existing model.

The new iPod is is available in three versions, holding 10GB, 15GB and 30GB of data respectively. The 10GB version costs about US$300. However, the new models have a lower battery life: Apple rates the new iPod at eight hours of playtime, compared to the 10 hours managed by the old iPods.

A new dock on the 15GB and 30GB models includes supports audio-out for direct connection to a stereo. All the iPods support FireWire and USB 2.0 connection to both Apple and Windows computers, although the Windows USB 2.0 drivers won't be available until June. The iPod also includes a couple of games, an alarm clock and a file viewer--as before, it can act as a portable file store.

"The competition hasn't even caught up with our first-generation iPod, and we're introducing our third generation," said Apple chief executive Steve Jobs in a statement.

The new iPod for Mac and Windows PCs is available on Apple's Asia-Pacific Web stores, though the actual shipment date could not be confirmed.

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