Ipod's second coming

Local stockists expect sales of Apple's latest iPod offering, the iPod mini, will match those of its larger counterpart when it hits retailers’ shelves on July 24.

Apple reseller NextByte director, Adam Steinhardt, said NextByte stores have had the players on display for three months, and had taken hundreds of pre-orders already.

"We were pretty sceptical [about the device] at first," he said. "Being geeks we were concerned with the specs, but people aren't focused on size. People see it and just say, 'I've gotta have one of those'."

Steinhardt said he didn't know whether the iPod mini would outsell the original. However his company had ordered thousands of the new players to meet expected high demand, he said.

Like the iPod, the iPod mini is hard drive-based, and has eight hours battery life. It will be available in five colours. Included accessories are a belt clip, earbud headphones, power adapter, FireWire and USB cables as well as a CD with iTunes 4.6 software.

Steinhardt said the product's best feature was the Click Wheel, designed for one-handed operation.

"It's a better interface than the iPod," he said.

The 4GB iPod mini player will be sold through retail channels and Apple's online store for $399.

Steinhardt said the iPod had proved positive as a revenue stream for a unit without high margins. However, the main benefit of the device's popularity was the flow-on effect for Macintosh sales.

"The Mac is still the best platform for the iPod," he said. "The iPod makes Apple's awareness higher, so people are becoming more open to Mac as a result."

An Apple Australia spokesperson would not provide details on advertising campaigns for the iPod mini or when the iTunes online store might be available in Australia.

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