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Apple unveils larger nanos

Dabbles in paradox

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This morning, at a San Francisco press event The Reg wasn't invited to, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled several new iPods, including a nano that handles videos and games from an expanded display. He also trumpeted the arrival of iPhone ringtones, and sadly, we have no idea whether he kept a straight face.

While this El Reg hack was sitting at his desk across town, Steve showed off two chunkier versions of the iPod: a 4GB model that sells for $149, and an 8GB model priced at $199. Each offers a 2-inch, 320-by-240-pixel display, letting you watch videos, play games, and browse your music library via that nifty CoverFlow app. Previously, you could only do such things with the so-called "iPod classic."

The new nanos will be in stores this weekend, loaded with a trio of free games that handle everything from trivia to "brick-bashing." Other games will turn up "later this month" on iTunes.

In addition to the new nanos, Jobs unveiled slightly-thinner, all-metal versions of the iPod classic (80GB for $249 model, 160GB for $349) and an iPhone that doesn't include a phone. That's right, you get Apple's breathtaking all-fingers, no-stylus interface without having to endure the hell that is AT&T's EDGE network. This new device is called the iPod touch, and it's also available in two flavors: 8GB for $299, and 16GB for $399.

Thanks to Apple's new "iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store," also announced today, both the iPod touch and the iPhone can now purchase tunes via local area wireless connections - without help from a PC.

Meanwhile, Starbucks has agreed to offer access to the new WiFi store free of charge. This means that if you walk into a Starbucks for one of the worst drip coffees you've ever tasted, you can download songs onto your iPod touch, iPhone, or laptop PC without paying for access to coffee shop's WiFi hotspot.

Where the iPhone is concerned, iTunes is also offering ringtones. After forking over 99 cents for any one of a million-odd songs, you can now pay an extra 99 cents to convert that song into 30-second snipper that kicks in when someone calls you. We couldn't even type that with a straight face. ®

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