Apple's new iPod lineup, unveiled by Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs on his first public appearance since his liver transplant, disappointed investors as it didn't add as many new features as some analysts predicted, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
Investors may have expected Apple to add built-in cameras to more iPods, said Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray & Co. in Minneapolis. Instead, Apple only added a video camera to one model, the iPod Nano. The company unveiled the new lineup at an event in San Francisco.
In addition to the video camera, the iPod Nano has a built- in FM radio and pedometer. The 8-gigabyte device costs $149, while a 16-gigabyte model goes for $179. Investors probably expected to see a camera on the new iPod Touch as well, Munster said. The iPod Touch uses the same touch screen as the iPhone and can run applications from Apple's App Store.
Apple also cut the prices of some iPod models. It lowered the cost of the 8-gigabyte iPod Touch to $199. A 32-gigabyte model will have a $299 price, while a 64-gigabyte version will be $399.
Apple also unveiled a 160-gigabyte version of its iPod Classic for $249 and cut the price of the 2-gigabyte Shuffle to $59. The Shuffle is available in five colors.
However, Steve Jobs missed a big one - the iPod touch - which everyone knew was coming with a video camera - turned out to be excluded for a built-in camera. Would-be buyers will have to settle for price cuts and faster guts instead.
This is disappointing, as a camera would be a much more compelling addition to the iPod touch than the iPod nano. The iPod touch users can upload videos to YouTube right away with internet connection and do on-device editing. They will also benefit from apps that take advantage of the camera.
Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said in July that sales of Apple's traditional music players -- the Nano, Shuffle and Classic -- declined on a year-over-year basis as customers turned to devices like the Touch and the iPhone.
Even so, the traditional iPod business is a great business that we believe will last for many, many years, Oppenheimer said. The iPod division accounted for about a quarter of the company's $32.5 billion in sales last year.
Apple has sold more than 220 million iPods, product marketing chief Phil Schiller said at the event. The company has about 74% of the market in the U.S., he said.
Jobs appeared for the first time after he introduced Macintosh notebooks at an event in October, 2008. He announced that Apple's iPhone sales have climbed to 30 million, with more than 75,000 applications available at the App Store. He said users have downloaded more than 1.8 billion programs. Apple launched an iPhone version of Electronic Arts Inc.'s John Madden football game today.
The company also introduced a new version of Apple's iTunes store today, improving the way the software syncs up with devices. Apple will also sell ring tones for $1.29 each. A feature called iTunes LP will add videos and liner notes to music, an enticement to buy songs in album form.