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Apple brewing up new products

The company will unveil the new iPod, which can be used as a digital organizer, and a flat-panel monitor at Macworld Expo Tokyo, according to sources.

Apple Computer will unveil a new iPod at Macworld Expo Tokyo that comes with a 10GB hard drive and optional software that will let consumers use it as a digital organizer, sources said.

In addition to the new iMac, Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple will show off a high-resolution 23-inch flat-panel monitor.

Apple declined to comment.

The new iPod, which will hold approximately twice as much music as the earlier 5GB model, will cost $499--$100 more than the earlier version. Along with playing music, the iPod will be equipped with optional software that will let consumers maintain phone numbers, addresses and other information, sources said.

The possibility of a larger-capacity iPod emerged in January when Toshiba announced 10GB and 20GB versions of the tiny hard drive used in the iPod.

Database maker ProVue Development has already introduced a clever piece of software that allows the existing iPod to be used as an organizer by storing contacts and addresses as artists and titles.

Although the iPod is more expensive than many portable music players, analysts and hardware reviewers have praised its industrial design and software, which make it easier to operate than some competing products. Apple sold 125,000 of its iPods in the quarter ended Dec. 31. However, the unit, which was announced in October, only went on sale Nov. 10.

Macworld Tokyo, which begins Thursday, was expected to be a relatively sedate event. At the January Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Calif., Apple unveiled its new iMac with an integrated flat panel. Demand has been stronger than expected and Apple faces a large backlog of orders.

Flat panels have emerged as one of the computing world's bright spots in the past two years. Although PC sales continue to remain sluggish, shipments of flat panels have been doubling annually, according to analyst reports.

The company is also expected to announce that it is adopting a faster recordable DVD drive in some of its computers. Pioneer, which provides Apple with recordable DVD drives, announced a new model Wednesday.'s Michael Kanellos, Ian Fried and Richard Shim contributed to this report.