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A very big month for the iPod indeed…

To say that the September was a huge month for Apple would be an understatement. With the debut of three new iPods, September was a landmark in Apple’s history. September 5 saw the launch of the iPod Nano, Classic and Touch. The new, improving and WiFi enabled iTunes was released and a partnership with Starbucks was announced.

It wasn’t, however, all smooth sailing for Apple. Have ugly legal cases and technical shortcomings made Apple’s position a little less secure? .

September 5

As if the domination of the portable media player market wasn’t complete, Steve Jobs released a plethora of new, revamped iPods at the September 5 get-together. Rumours of a WiFi connected iPod and a new iPod nano came true. .

The Nano

The Nano features a 2 inch, full-colour screen. The main selling feature is Nano’s video capabilities. The Nano has 24 hours of audio and five hours of video playback in 4 and 8 gigabyte models. The Nano is a considerably chunkier addition to the iPod family. The Nano also comes in a variety of candy-inspired colours, including cranberry red, baby blue and light green. .

The Classic

The iPod classic is a new version of the original, full sized iPod. Apple offers the Classic in 80 and whopping 160 gigabyte models. With significantly improved battery life, Classic users can enjoy 40 hours of audio and seven hours of video playback. .

The Touch

Then there’s the iPod Touch, an identical twin to the iPhone, but significantly less talented. 8mm thick, the Touch features the same touch-sensitive screen with the same functionality as the iPhone. A large 3.5 inch screen operates in both portrait and landscape modes. .

The iPod Touch has WiFi allowing users to surf the net and download music via the iTunes WiFi Store. You cannot, however, make phone calls or send emails through the iPod Touch. With 22 hours music and five hours video playback, there’s no doubt the Touch will be a hit with those of us not convinced of the iPhone’s capabilities (or those of us with limited budgets). .

iTunes.

The iTunes 7.4 is a full version of the online store, available through WiFi. The store is divided into genres, allowing users to search through new releases and hot songs with the same ease they would via their home computer. The benefit of iTunes for iPod users is that the music they purchase through WiFi will automatically sync to their home computers. .

Having sold more than 3 billion songs to date, it seems a natural move for iTunes to move WiFi, selling more songs to a captive Apple audience on their iPods. .

Starbucks and Apple: The best of friends?

September also saw the announcement of a joint venture between Starbucks and Apple. Over the coming months, Starbucks locations across the United States will give customers the opportunity to download music through iTunes through a series of promotions:

When customers purchase a coffee from Starbucks, they will receive a ‘Song of the Day’ card. When they connect to the iTunes WiFi store in Starbucks, they can download their free song. Artists featured on ‘Song of the day’ downloads will be hand-picked, including Bob Dylan, Dave Matthews, Joss Stone, John Mayer, KT Tunstall and John Legend.

iTunes Digital Release Cards will grant customers access to a full album’s worth of music and limited edition artwork. The Starbucks Card Plus Two is a reloadable card which will also allow users to download two extra songs of their own choice. A ‘Now Playing’ download will also be offered, letting customers preview, purchase and download the music being played in-store.

Weathering the storm

Apple has also seen its fair share of legal woes this month, the most high-profile involving the European Commission.

The European Commission claims that Apple charges different prices to European customers living in different countries. The European Commission wants Apple to charge one price for all Europeans, regardless of their country of purchase. The blame is seen to lie with the greedy record labels, and Steve Jobs is eager to agree with the Commission.

In late September, the Commission began to hold hearings on the pricing structure of iTunes’ online store. The threat is very real – Microsoft was found in violation of European anti-trust regulations. If the same fate befalls Apple, they may be fined up to 10% of their global revenue.

Customers were furious to find that the new iPods were incompatible with TV-out accessories. Back in the day, you could connect your iPod to your TV with any accessory that included an Apple authentication chip. Now, only Apple-authorised developers can install the authentication chip, leaving customers to purchase a host of brand-new accessories.

Another disappointment for iPod customers are the new games for sale on iTunes. If you purchased old versions of games such as Ms Pac-Man, Tetris or Sudoku, you will be unable to play them on the new iPods. This left consumers with a bad taste in their mouth until last week when it is reported that Apple has allowed older versions of these games to be played on the new iPods.

Some iPod Touch screens were faulty, displaying overly dark videos and photos. When customers brought these problems to the attention of their local Apple store, they were charged a $40 repair fee. At the time, Apple refused to acknowledge that there were problems with the iPod or iPhone screens. Apple’s tune has since changed and they are attempting to resolve the problem.

The backlash customers are experiencing this month is evidence that, contrary to popular opinion, Apple is out for a profit. Apple has a niche market that it keeps fat and healthy with streams of new gadgets. Apple has a very loyal customer- and fan-base. It wouldn’t take too much on Apple’s part to bring the wayward customers back.

The beat goes on…

Despite the law suits and problems, Apple is still on top. A recent survey conducted found Apple the most popular brand of technology among teens in the UK. Apple is the most popular brand among teens in UK.

When the iPod Touch launched in Japan on 4 October, 100 Apple enthusiasts lined up in front of the store. With Christmas moving closer, there’s no doubt what one of the most popular presents will be…