Week in review: Apple of my ire

Apple's Steve Jobs rained on his own iPod product parade by also announcing a $200 iPhone price drop, which angered early adopters.

Apple dominated the technology headlines this week, as it typically does following highly anticipated product unveilings like the one held Wednesday.

But this week's news wasn't just about the shiny new iPods and related features CEO Steve Jobs introduced in his polished presentation at San Francisco's Moscone Center. It was about the Jobs announced for the 8GB iPhone--from $599 to $399, and the resulting anger expressed by those loyal fans who were first to buy the product at the higher price point.

Following the uproar from customers--and in a rare admission of a mistake--Jobs on Thursday posted an open letter on Apple's Web site acknowledging the company shouldn't have treated its early adopters in such a fashion and offering them a $100 store credit.

"We apologize for disappointing some of you, and we are doing our best to live up to your high expectations of Apple," Jobs wrote.

Some commended Jobs and the company for what they considered a humble and fair response to the iPhone price flap. Others, however such as CNET News.com reader Jake Kushner, president of JK Media, said Apple's response didn't go far enough to satisfy those who bought a 4GB iPhone for $499, only to see the 8GB model become $100 cheaper. They should get a free upgrade to an 8GB model or a $200 rebate, he said.

"I feel wronged and misled by Apple. Such a quick price reduction indicates that Apple premeditated this reduction before the initial release," Kushner wrote, addressing Jobs. "I read your public response on Apple.com to this issue, but I still feel that the solution you are offering is not adequate."

Meanwhile, those who've been contemplating purchasing an iPhone might be interested instead in , which is essentially a phoneless, camera-less version of the iPhone with the same 3.5-inch screen, multitouch interface, home screen and OS X. has the ability to connect to the Internet with 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, comes with Apple's Safari Web browser and has built-in Google and Yahoo search.

Apple is also revising some of its previous iPods--the regular iPod, the Nano and the Shuffle. It will offer a new 160GB version of the regular iPod (now known as the iPod Classic) that's thinner than the regular iPod and has better battery life. It made minor changes to its iPod Shuffle line, which will come in new colors. And the new iPod Nano will now have video capability, though its screen is only 2 inches wide.

Jobs also announced the , which allows consumers to buy songs wirelessly, and a partnership with Starbucks. People with an iPod Touch or iPhone who walk into a Starbucks coffee shop will see a button pop up on their screen. They will then have the option to buy the last 10 songs that have been playing in the store, as well as music from featured artists at Starbucks.

A few other non-Apple products worth noting were also announced this week. Still on the gadget front, Hewlett-Packard unveiled the HP Blackbird 002, a souped-up, flashy gaming PC that is the company's first joint effort with its Voodoo unit. In a computing niche that leans heavily on design, the Blackbird shows careful attention was paid to detail both inside and out, industry observers say.

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