Rumours are abound the Apple Mac sites on the internet that Apple are about to announce a sub $100 iPod to tackle growing demands for the smaller MP3 players from companies such as Creative and Rio.

The announcement, reportedly to be made by Steve Jobs at MacWorld Expo in San Francisco in January, is suppose to herald a new iPod of around the 2 - 4Gb marker. This would amount to roughly 400 - 800 songs.

In contrast Creative currently offer its Muvo NX, a 256Mb solid state MP3 player, for just over £100 and its 1.5Gb offering at £180. This makes the rumours for a sub $100 (£60) highly improbable, but not completely unfounded as sources across the web such as news agency Reuters, analyst Rob Enderle and a host of other reputable sites have picked up on the story.

Apple has long been used to blazing the trail for the MP3 player market. Apple reportedly shipped over 1.3million units of its mp3 player by October 2003 with BBC online suggesting it was the must have gadget this Christmas.

APPLE PRESS RELEASE

MACWORLD EXPO, SAN FRANCISCO--January 6, 2004--Apple today introduced iPod mini, the smallest portable music player ever to hold up to 1,000 CD-quality songs. iPod mini is encased in an ultra-portable, lightweight anodised aluminium body available in five stylish colours - silver, gold, pink, blue or green - and features a patent pending, touch-sensitive Click Wheel for easy, one-handed navigation. iPod mini features the same award-winning user interface as its "big brother" iPods and works effortlessly with Apple's iTunes digital music jukebox software for seamlessly managing and listening
to digital music collections on both Mac and Windows.

"iPod has revolutionised the way people listen to music," said Steve Jobs Apple's CEO. "iPod mini joins the iPod family of best-selling digital music players, offering customers the same 1,000 songs in your pocket as the original iPod in an innovative design that's half the size. We think its going to be pretty popular, especially with younger music lovers."

iPod mini is the perfect combination of ultra-portable design, storage capacity, ease-of-use and audio performance. iPod mini is smaller than most cell phones and weighs only 3.6 ounces (102 mg). Building on the success of the original touch wheel, iPod mini features an innovative, new Click Wheel that combines the ease and simplicity of a touch wheel with the precision of mechanical buttons for precise, one-handed navigation. iPod mini users can transfer a song per second from their Mac or Windows computer and conveniently charge iPod mini with either the included FireWire or USB 2.0 cable.

iPod mini is the ultimate fashion statement with a choice of five stylish colours - silver, gold, pink, blue or green - the hallmark white headphones and a new belt clip. With a backlit, recessed screen and lightweight, yet durable anodised aluminium, iPod mini is the ultimate portable digital music player. Users can purchase an optional arm band, in-ear headphones or a dock to enhance their iPod mini experience.

iPod mini features Apple's patent pending Auto-Sync technology that automatically downloads an entire digital music library onto iPod mini and keeps it up-to-date whenever iPod mini is plugged into a Mac or Windows computer using FireWire or USB 2.0.

Users can personalise their new iPod mini with a custom laser engraving on the back. iPod mini can be custom engraved with a name or personal message to commemorate special events such as a graduation, birthday or a winning team's season, as well as for identification in case they lose their iPod.


Pricing & Availability

iPod mini for Mac and Windows, in a choice of a silver, gold, pink, blue or green 4GB model with a belt clip, will be available in the US in February and worldwide in April. The suggested selling price in the UK will be £199 (inc VAT). iPod mini will be available through the Apple Store (http://www.apple.com/ukstore) and Apple Authorised Resellers. All iPod minis will include earbud headphones, an Apple iPod mini power adapter, a 1.2m 30-pin to FireWire cable, a 1.2m 30-pin to USB 2.0 cable, and a CD
with iTunes 4.2 for Mac and Windows computers.

Optional accessories will include; the iPod Dock, in-ear headphones, and Arm band. Laser engraving is available for iPod mini and can include two lines of text with up to 23 characters per line. UK pricing for accessories will be confirmed shortly.

iPod mini can be charged with either the FireWire or USB 2.0 cable and gets up to eight hours of battery life. iPod mini requires a Mac with a FireWire port and Mac OS X version 10.1.5 or later (Mac OS X v10.2 or later recommended); or a Windows PC with a FireWire or USB 2.0 port, or a Windows-certified FireWire or USB 2.0 card and Windows 2000, XP Home or Professional.

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.