Cheaper is good! Ipods for everyone!!!

Apple Rolls Out Cheaper iPod, Launches Garage Band
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Apple Computer Inc. on Tuesday said it would introduce a smaller and cheaper version of its popular iPod music player next month to challenge rivals in the market for flash-memory-based digital devices.
In a presentation at Macworld in San Francisco, Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said that Apple, known best for its stylish and easy-to-use Macintosh computers, had shipped 730,000 iPod units in the most recent quarter, bolstering its market-leading position among digital music players.
The new iPods, which are roughly the size of a business card, half an inch thick and weigh 3.6 ounces, along with a new version of its iLife digital lifestyle software and a new music program called Garage Band, extend Apple’s digital hub strategy that Apple co-founder Jobs outlined more than two years ago.
“The iPod is clearly one of the most successful consumer electronics devices out there and is by far the most successful MP3 player,” said Tim Bajarin, an analyst with market research firm Creative Strategies. “Steve does tend to be the one who drives innovation into the industry and then has everyone follow him afterward.”
The charismatic Jobs, a consummate showman, unveiled the iPod and other goodies for the Mac faithful, with his characteristic flash. Musician John Mayer jammed on stage to demonstrate the Garage Band software, and a video featured testimonials from actor Elijah Wood, professional skateboarder Tony Hawk and musician Sheryl Crow.
“Now instead of lugging an old amp around, you can lug a PowerBook around,” Jobs quipped, referring to the six different vintage simulated guitar amplifiers that are built into the Garage Band software program.
Jobs said the iPod mini, which comes in variously colored anodized aluminum cases, is aimed at high-end flash memory MP3 music players, which he said accounted for about 30 percent of the overall MP3 player market.
Apple, based in Cupertino, California, said it continued to hold the No. 1 position in the MP3 player market , with 31 percent in terms of units for the months of October and November, and accounted for 55 percent of the MP3 player market when measured by revenue, according to Jobs.
Apple, which has about 2 percent of the personal computer market on a worldwide basis, said it had sold over 2 million iPod units since the launch of the popular digital music player two years ago, which has won a following for its huge storage capacity and sleek design.
The iPod mini is aimed at MP3 players such as those made by Rio Audio and others in an increasingly crowded market. It didn’t take long for Apple to have fresh competition. Hours before Jobs’ keynote, Rio Audio announced a new version of its Nitrus player that boasts 4 gigabytes of storage, or enough to store about 1,000 songs, the same as Apple’s new iPod.
Moreover, a slew of souped-up portable music players that use the competing Windows Media Audio file format are slated to roll out at the Consumer Electronic Show this week in Las Vegas.
The iPod has also received a boost from Apple’s online music store, iTunes, which the company said has sold more than 30 million songs — an increase of 5 million tracks from the sales numbers announced by the company less than a month ago.
“This thing is on fire,” Jobs said of the iPod.
The new “iPod mini” will be priced at $249 — $50 cheaper than the current entry-level iPod. Rather than flash memory, it uses a tiny hard disk drive to store songs, said Phil Schiller, Apple’s head of marketing.
Jobs also said that the company would phase out its entry-level 10-gigabyte iPod and offer a 15 gigabyte model instead for the same price of $299.

The prices on the 20-gigabyte iPod and the top-of-the-line 40-gigabyte model, which is able to hold about 10,000 songs, remained at $399 and $499 respectively.
One of the most innovative software programs out of Apple in years, analysts said, was its Garage Band application. The program essentially turns a Macintosh computer into a musical instrument and recording studio.
In addition to more than 1,000 prerecorded loops, Garage Band has more than 50 instruments. Users can put together complete digital music tracks, as if assembling building blocks, Apple said.
“Garage Band might even have more long-term effect on Apple’s sales,” Bajarin said. “Steve has taken the consumer application (software) layer to its next level from playing music to allowing you to be part of making music.”
Apple also rolled out a new Xserve storage system and Xserve computer servers that use the latest PowerPC G5 processor, instead of the G4 microprocessor.
Apple shares fell 8 cents to close at $22.09 on the Nasdaq on Tuesday.