Wed, Jan 19, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Apple Computer launches lower-priced music player

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

Apple Computer Inc yesterday unveiled the iPod shuffle, a new member of its best-selling iPod music player family, to Taiwan consumers, which it expects will become a hot item when it hits store shelves early next month.

The company first launched the product at the 2005 Macworld Expo in San Francisco last week.

"We have seen tremendous sales of iPod in Taiwan in the past year, and believe that the new player will also be popular with music fans that prefer flash-based MP3 players," said Kong Yuk Loong (江旭龍), who is general manager of Apple Computer's Taiwan branch, at a press conference yesterday.

Flash-Based

The iPod shuffle, smaller in size than a pack of chewing gum, is Apple Computer's first flash-based digital music player, distinguishing it from the hard-drive-based iPod and iPod mini.

The iPod shuffle comes in two models, which are able to hold up to 120 and 240 songs, with storage of 512 megabytes and 1 gigabyte respectively.

Apple Computer is debuting the pint-size players at NT$3,600 and NT$5,400, and is hoping to appeal to users who are fond of the iPod but have a smaller budget, Kong said.

As it has no display, iPod shuffle has a scroll wheel for the controls so stored songs can either be played sequentially or automatically shuffled in random order, a feature that earned the gadget its name.

The company also introduced its Mac mini computer, which was another star at the 2005 Macworld Expo, and is now Apple's cheapest computer.

Small Computer

The mini is slated to hit the market late next month, said Danny Lam (林志強), Apple Computer's Asia Pacific product marketing mana-ger. The product, which is 42cm2 and 5cm tall, is sold without a keyboard and monitor and will sell for between NT$17,900 and NT$21,900, depending on the model.

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