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Apple expo brings good and bad news

Cracking new kit but hundred-buck price hike

Apple's head man Steve Jobs today demonstrated the company's Bluetooth technology for Mac OS X at the Macworld Expo in Tokyo, as well as wowing crowds with a new, whopping 23in high-definition screen.

But he had some bad news too — price hikes of $100 (around £70) across the board, for which he blamed an increase in component costs.

"Apple was the first to build in Ethernet, one of the first to build in USB, the first to build in FireWire and the first to build in 802.11 wireless networking," said Jobs. "Now we're offering a Bluetooth solution that actually works and is easy to use."

Judging on the way users love Macs' traditionally easy-to-use set-up, this may actually be true.

He then announced some good and bad news for the Macolytes. The good news was that the demand for the new iMacs was much more than expected. He said Apple has shipped 125,000 of them.

The bad news was that since the iMac was introduced component prices have increased. Apple will increase prices $100 in the USA and 20,000 yen in Japan across the board. The news was greeted with stunned silence.

Apple also today introduced a second iPod model, with twice the storage capacity as the original device.

The 10GB iPod can store up to 2,000 CD-quality songs. Apple has released free software that adds the ability for iPod users to download and store contact lists with up to 1,000 names and addresses. Users wanting to add a custom look for their iPods can now get them custom-engraved with laser etching.

Apple has added 20 equalizer presets ranging from R&B to Classical, which allows you to adjust the iPod's dynamic range to better match the kind of music you like to listen to.

Contact and EQ features are both available as a free download from Apple's website, entitled iPod Software Updater 1.1. The new 10GB iPod model is now being sold alongside the original 5GB model, priced at a fruity $499, around £350.

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