MANILA, January 31, 2005 (STAR) By Manny De Los Reyes  -  Those who have always coveted Apple’s iconic iPod but could not afford it now have reason to celebrate – a new iPod model that you can take home for less than P7,000.

Meet the iPod shuffle which was launched this week at the Mac World at the New World Hotel in Makati City. It’s a breakthrough digital music player based on the iPod’s pioneering and widely used shuffle feature which lets users experience their music in a million different ways.

Smaller and lighter than a pack of gum, iPod shuffle works seamlessly with iTunes’ innovative AutoFill feature which automatically selects songs from a user’s music library to fill up the device with just one click.

The iPod shuffle is available in two models: the 512MB which holds up to 120 songs, for just P6,999, and the 1GB which holds up to 240 songs, for P9,999.

Users can charge and transfer music from their Mac or PC by plugging iPod shuffle directly into a USB port. iPod shuffle also doubles as a portable USB flash drive with up to 1GB of storage space to back up personal files and exchange them between computers.

The shuffle is the newest member of Apple’s wildly popular iPod family, which includes the fourth-generation iPod, the iPod mini, the iPod U2 Special Edition and iPod Photo. More than 10 million iPods have been sold since it was introduced, and it is the number one selling digital music player in the world.

The popularity of iPod has also created a booming accessory market, and iPod shuffle is being introduced with several optional accessories. In addition to the included lanyard, earbud headphones and a CD with iTunes 4.7.1 for Mac and Windows computers, there is an optional armband and sport case. An optional dock serves as a base for syncing and charging the shuffle, and an optional USB power adapter charges iPod shuffle when it’s away from the computer. Users can extend the iPod shuffle battery life (up to 12 hours) with an optional battery pack that holds two AAA batteries and keeps the music playing for up to 20 additional hours.

The iPod shuffle armband, sport case, battery pack, dock and USB power adaptor are optional accessories that will become available over the next few weeks for a suggested retail price of P1,800 each.

iPod shuffle requires a Mac with a USB port and Mac OS X version 10.2.8 or Mac OS X version 10.3.4 or later, a Windows PC with a USB port, a USB card and Windows 2000 Service Pack 2 or later, or Windows XP Home or Professional Service Pack 4 or later.

Also launched at Mac World was the Mac mini, the most affordable and compact Mac ever. Starting at just P39,188, Mac mini is the ideal desktop computer for anyone wanting to get started with Mac OS X. It features iLife ‘05, the latest version of Apple’s innovative suite of software for managing digital photo and music collections, editing movies and creating music. Just two inches’ tall and weighing only 2.9 pounds, Mac mini redefines design for the sub-$1,000 desktop.

Mac mini offers the processing and graphics performance to take advantage of demanding consumer applications with either a 1.25GHz (P39,188) or a 1.42GHz (P45,188) PowerPC G4 processor and ATI Radeon 9200 graphics with 32MB of dedicated DDR memory. Both models come with a slot-load Combo drive for watching DVD movies and burning CDs, and up to an 80GB hard drive for storing digital media creations. Mac mini includes one FireWire 400 and two USB 2.0 ports for easy plug-and-play connections to popular peripherals such as Apple’s iPod digital music player, digital still and video cameras and printers. It offers a DVI interface that also supports VGA so customers can easily connect to a variety of LCD or CRT displays.

The new Mac mini includes built-in 10/100BASE-T Ethernet and a 56K V.92 modem for easy Internet access, and offers optional support for an AirPort Extreme Card for 54 Mbps 802.11g fast wireless networking, along with an internal Bluetooth module for the latest in wireless communications.

Mac OS X version 10.3 "Panther" is pre-installed on every Mac mini and delivers breakthrough features, including iChat AV desktop video conferencing, Mail, Safari Web browser, Sherlock, Address Book, QuickTime, iSync, iCal, DVD Player and the Classic environment.

Mac mini also comes with a collection of outstanding productivity and entertainment titles designed to meet the needs of the entire family, including Quicken 2005 for Mac, Nanosaur 2 and MarbleBlast Gold.

Build-to-order options and accessories include up to 1GB of RAM, SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW), AirPort Extreme Card, internal Blue-tooth module, wired or wireless Apple keyboard and mouse and the Apple-Care Protection Plan.

The iPod shuffle and Mac mini are available in Apple centers and from authorized Apple resellers. Also introduced at Mac World were iLife ‘05, iWork ‘05 and Final Cut Express HD, the latest upgraded version of Apple’s video editing application.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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