The iPhone's Set Free With a Touch

Apple takes the covers off its new iPod line and slashes the price of the iPhone.

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After the usual secrecy and buildup, Apple has unveiled a new line of iPods, including an iPhone without the phone. The new iPod Touch looks like a great product, with the touch-screen and finger-flicking software that have made the iPhone so appealing in a package designed to be only (only!) a beautiful hand-held computer. One that slickly handles music, video, and the Web but can't make cellphone calls. For that, Apple is slicing $100 off the price of the iPhone, which now costs $400 after itself getting a price cut.

The Touch also cuts AT&T and its monthly fees out of the mix. It's a way for those blessed with company phones to finally get in on the iPhone, er, iPod Touch craze. The Web surfing, by the way, is done via Wi-Fi connections.

Apple also announced new iPods, making them thinner and with more storage. But there was nothing radically new there. In fact, Apple is now calling the iPods with hard drives "iPod Classics," which I think risks blaring "iPod Boring."

There was one announcement that left me skeptical. Jobs introduced new iPod Nanos, which are among the smallest of the iPods, that are wider and with color screens designed to handle video. This move points back to the whole question of video on cellphonelike devices—I'm just not sure there's a huge demand. How often are you stuck somewhere with eyes able to squint for watching video? Maybe mass-transit riders, maybe folks who are somehow doomed to spend a lot of time waiting in lines. Not me.

Apple Chairman Steve Jobs has come a long way. For a while, he resisted putting video on iPods, saying he didn't see there was a market. Now he apparently does. If nothing else, Jobs is apparently not too small to admit he's wrong, and now no iPod seems too small to get video.

Apple Inc.
Jobs, Steve

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