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    Apple unveils Apple TV... Again


    by ODN


    Apple has unveiled a smaller, cheaper version of its web-to-TV device Apple TV, stepping up a battle with Google and Microsoft for control of the digital living room.

    Apple co-founder Steve Jobs also rolled out a completely overhauled lineup of iPods and the latest version of iTunes, with a new logo that does away with the outdated image of a CD.

    The new Apple TV device, which accesses content from the Internet and plays it on a TV, will sell for in the US for $99. It is a quarter the size of the original, which cost $229.

    The small square device allows users to rent TV shows and films. Earlier models, which allowed users to only buy shows, failed to find a major audience.

    "Consumers are already terrified of hooking anything up to their televisions, so unless you can make it crystal clear why they should and make it super easy for them to do so, you're limiting yourself to a niche market," said Avi Greengart, research director for consumer devices at Current Analysis.

    The biggest shift to iTunes is the introduction of a social networking feature called Ping, which allows users to recommend songs to followers or their chosen circle of friends.

    "It's Facebook and Twitter meets iTunes. It's a social network all about music," Jobs said at a presentation to unveil the products.