The iPod Shuffle is the smallest one yet...

APPLE have unveiled the

latest addition to the IPOD family – the IPOD

SHUFFLE.

CEO Steve Jobs showed the world the new product

from the annual Macworld event in San Francisco, syndicated live by satellite to Paris, where NME.COM was in the audience.

The iPod Shuffle is the smallest

iPod yet, and is Apple’s answer to

the growing range of compact ‘Flash’ digital music devices.

Barely the size of a packet of chewing gum, the

iPod shuffle dispenses with a screen display, instead

playing its music on constant shuffle mode, or by a pre-set playlists,

determined via the iTunes interface.

It features the trademark iPod click-wheel, comes

with a 12-hour rechargeable battery, built-in USB port, works through

PCs and Macs, and is worn round the neck with a built-in lanyard.

But the most appealing thing about iPod shuffle

will be its price. One model holds 512MB (120 songs) of memory and

will retail at $99 in the US, with a 1GB (240 songs) model costing

$149. The iPod shuffle will be shipped from factories today. Models in

the UK cost £69 and £99 respectively

Highlighting the cultural dominance and market share of the

iPod, Jobs announced that over

10million iPods have now been sold, 8.2million of

them in 2004. 4.5million of those were sold in the Christmas quarter,

compared with 733,000 in the same period of 2003.

Meanwhile, the iTunes Music Store has now sold

230 million songs, boasting a 70% market share.

Jobs also announced that the first generation of

iTunes compatible mobile phones – produced by

Motorola – will be available in shops within the next

six months. Additionally, Mercedes,

Nissan, Volvo, Sion

and Ferrari join BMW in

manufacturing cars with iPod inputs.

Compact was the theme at this year’s Macworld –

which showcases all of Apple’s new products for the forthcoming year.

The other headline-grabbing product is the Mac Mini,

the smallest, most affordable computer Apple has ever

made. Just big enough to house a CD drive, two different capacity

models will cost $499 and $599, starting at £399 in the

UK.

The Mac Mini comes without a keyboard, mouse or

monitor, but is compatible with most industry models. It will be

shipped to retail from January 22.