Apple Refreshes iPod Mini and Photo

by Michael Brewer

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Apple updated their iPod lineup today. They added a $249 6GB iPod Mini and reduced the price of the 4GB model to $199. They've also dropped the gold color from their line up and made the remaining three colors more vibrant. The "silver" iPod Mini remains unchanged – it still matches the aluminum used in Apple's other products.

Apple has made efforts to correct the problems with their iPod Photo. They're offering a new 30GB version that is much slimmer than the outgoing 40GB. It is only six one-hundreths of an inch thicker than the 20GB iPod. This is a huge (or is that small) deal. The old 40GB iPod Photo seemed ridiculously thick in comparison to their normal iPod models. There was a staggering visual difference if you looked at the two lying next to each other in an Apple Store. I'm glad to see Apple working on slimming the Photo models down.

They also reduced prices on their iPod Photos. The new 30GB iPod Photo is now only $50 more than the standard iPod at $349. And the 60GB model gets a $150 price drop to $449. The 40GB iPod Photo has been discontinued along with the 40GB iPod.

Most importantly, the iPod Photo was a disappointment for serious (amateur and professional) digital photographers. Sure, you could display photos on it and use it to display photos on a television. But, the most important feature was the one that wasn't there. There was no good way to get pictures out of your camera and into the iPod. Today Apple announced a device called the iPod Camera Connector that will connect directly to an iPod Photo (including older models) and to a digital camera. It will allow you to store up to 60GB of photos in the field without adding a lot of bulk to your camera bag. You'll also now be able to view these photos on the iPod – something you couldn't do with the expensive, bulky, and slow Belkin devices. This device will also work with older iPod Photo models.

Apple has not yet revealed the transfer rates that can be expected with this device nor whether it will require its own power source. Apple Vice President Greg Joswiak has described the device as being similar in size and appearance to a shrunken dock with cables that connect to the iPod and camera. No photographs of the device are available from Apple at this time.

What do you think of the improved iPods?