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Apple launches low-end MP3 player and PC

Walt Mossberg’s personal technology column has an article about Apple’s two new products. The first is a stripped down Macintosh starting at $500. The second (and much more interesting to me) is a $99 iPod. Named the iPod Shuffle, this is an iPod with less functionality. Instead of a hard drive, the Shuffle uses flash memory. In addition, the iPod Shuffle limits users to around 120 songs versus the iPod’s thousands.

Mossberg gives it a so-so review, praising some features while questioning missing features that made the iPod a smashing success (no screen, no scroll wheel). From what I’ve seen so far, there are numerous competitors with quality products at this price point. In contrast, the Apple iPod, for the functionality delivered, has much less competition. I’m sure this will be another success though. Simply because of the aura and buzz currently surrounding anything iPod, the Shuffle will sell very well.

I’ve never been the biggest fan of Apple or its products, but I give credit where it is due. You have a hot product that has spawned its own mini-industry providing everything from music sites to accessories. With the nature of the consumer electronics market, Apple is doing the smart move to strike while the iPod is hot and milk its success for all its worth.

Additional Resources:
Apple Launches Low-End PC And $99 Digital Music Player
Macworld ’05: A New Direction?

The Apple iPod Shuffle

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