Apple updates the entire iPod range

Steve Jobs took to the stage of the YBCA Theatre in San Francisco last night to announce a slew of new goodies from Apple and we've dissected the offerings for your edification.

The Cupertino company has apparently sprung more leaks than a broken colander, so there were very few surprises in store for the gathered faithful. But Jobs still managed to squeeze a few pathetic whoops out of the audience of grown-ups. We really wish they'd stop doing that. It's most unbecoming.

Anyway... here's the full run-down of new portable media players from the fruit-themed gadget giant with all the specs and numbers you know you love.

If you'd rather hear Mr Jobs waxing lyrical about his new toys you can watch the keynote. Be warned, however, this video contains traces of Chris Martin out of Coldplay and is not suitable for those of a nervous disposition.

We'll deal with IOS 4.1 and iTunes 10 elsewhere.

iPod Touch
As predicted, a new iPod Touch was announced, featuring the Retina Display that currently graces the iPhone 4.

ipod touch 2010

“We’ve put our most advanced technology inside the new iPod touch,” said Jobs. “Whether you’re listening to music, playing games, making FaceTime video calls, browsing the web, capturing HD video or watching TV shows and movies, the new iPod touch with its Retina display, A4 chip and 3-axis gyro is more fun than ever.”

The Retina Display has 960 x 640 pixels - four times as many as the previous incarnation - and the resulting 326 pixels per inch resolution is so dense that the human eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels when iPod touch is held at a normal distance, making text, images and video look sharper, smoother and more realistic.

Two new cameras have been added: a front-facing one which, along with an added microphone, allows you to make FaceTime video calls over a wi-fi connection to other iPhone and iPod Touch users. A rear-facing lens captures HD video at 720p, which can then be edited and exported using the iMovie App.

The device is powered by the same custom-designed A4 processor found in the iPhone 4, and the whole thing is substantially slimmer than the previous model.

It also features the iPhone's 3 axis gyro which could well cement the device's current position as the biggest portable gaming device on the planet. Apple reckons there are more iPod Touches in the hands of gamers than all of Sony and Nintendo's handheld game consoles put together.

iPod Touch tech specs

Height: 111.0 mm (4.4 inches)
Width: 58.9 mm (2.3 inches)
Depth: 7.2 mm (0.28 inches)
Weight: 101 grams (3.56 ounces)

Storage: 8GB, 32GB or 64GB flash drive

Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi (802.11n 2.4GHz only). Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR. Maps location-based service. Nike + iPod support built in

In the box: iPod touch, earphones, dock connector-to-USB cable, Quick Start guide

Audio: Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz

Audio formats supported: AAC (8 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), HE-AAC, MP3 (8 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX and AAX+), Apple Lossless, AIFF and WAV

TV and video: MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5Mbps, 640x480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4 and .mov file formats. H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 3.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4 and .mov file formats
Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35Mbps, 1280x720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format. Support for 1024x768 pixels with Dock Connector to VGA Adapter; 576p and 480p with Apple Component AV Cable; 576i and 480i with Apple Composite AV Cable (cables are sold separately for about £40).

Sensors: Three-axis gyro, accelerometer, ambient light sensor.

Battery and charging: Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery offers playback time of up to 40 hours of music or 7 hours of video when fully charged. Fast charge in about 2 hours (80 per cent capacity), full charge in about 4 hours.

Hit the next page for iPod Nano

iPod Nano with multi-touch interface

Once again, not much of a surprise as pictures of an Apple-branded touch-screen component leaked onto the Internet a few weeks ago. Even so, the new Nano is still the biggest departure from previous Apple designs.

ipod nano2 2010

It's nearly half the weight and size of the last generation Nano and offers the same swiping and tapping touch interface as the iPhone and its ilk.

It has a built-in clip and is small enough to be worn like a watch, promises 24 hours of battery life on a single charge, and features Genius Mixes, shake to shuffle and a built-in FM radio with live pause.

The display can also be rotated by twisting two fingers on the tiny screen. Holding down a single finger returns to the Home screen.

Obvioulsy aimed at the fitness market, the device also features a built-in pedometer and is compatible with Nike + hardware.

The VoiceOver function identifies and changes tracks, artists and playlists.

The new Nano comes in a range of seven colours in some very neat packaging and will set you back £129 for the 8GB version or £159 for 16GB. Preorders are open now, and the first batch will be dispatched in around a week.

iPod Nano tech specs

Height: 37.5 mm (1.48 inches)
Width: 40.9 mm (1.61 inches)
Depth: 8.78 mm (0.35 inches) including clip
Weight: 21.1 grams (0.74 ounces)

Display: 1.54-inch (diagonal) colour TFT display, 240x240-pixel resolution, 220 pixels per inch

Audio playback: Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz

Audio formats supported: AAC (8 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), HE-AAC, MP3 (8 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX and AAX+), Apple Lossless, AIFF and WAV

FM radio: Regional settings for Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe and Japan. Live Pause feature for pausing a radio broadcast and rewinding (within a 15-minute buffer).

Battery and charging: Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Up to 24 hours of music playback when fully charged. Charging via USB to computer system or power adapter (sold separately). Fast-charge time: about 1.5 hours (charges up to 80 per cent of battery capacity). Full-charge time: about 3 hours.

Hit the next page for the iPod Shuffle

iPod Shuffle

Apple's smallest and cheapest music player has taken a step backwards from the last generation's utterly minimalistic USB stick design, and the buttons are back.

ipod shuffle 2010

It comes in five fruity colours but is restricted to a single 2GB size, which will be available for £39 in around a week. There's not much more to say about it really, other than it's roughly 30mm square and you'll get 15 hours of music from a three-hour charge.