Welcome Your New iPod Overlords

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True to expectation, this afternoon’s Apple announcement has brought major revamps to the iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano, and iPod Touch lines. What’s new?

At just $50, the new iPod Shuffle still manages 15 hours of battery life; the 2GB device comes in black, blue, green, pink, and yellow. The biggest fourth-generation change versus the third generation of Shuffle is that Apple is bringing back the buttons: Apple says that people missed them, so they’re bringing them back.

Next up, the new iPod Nano, in which the changes are even more apparent. 24 hours of battery life despite its far tinier size, and a multitouch screen to displace the clickwheel. (We have to ask: Is this screen too small for comfortable all-touch handling?) “46 percent smaller and 42 percent lighter” than the fourth-gen, the fifth-generation Nano will cost $149 for an 8 GB model and $179 for a 16 GB. You can read all the stuff above, but: There’s a clip, there are volume buttons, there’s VoiceOver, and there’s FM radio compatability (hopefully not a nefarious RIAA plot), Nike+, and a pedometer.

Lastly, the iPod Touch 4G is upon us. At the risk of displanting reporterly objectivity: Wow. It’s thinner than the already-thin third generation, has the iPhone 4’s “retina display” which may-be-a-big-exaggeration but is still quite high-res, an increasingly Apple-standard A4 chip, a 3-axis gyro for moar gaming, iOS 4.1, and a front camera with FaceTime and a rear camera with HD video recording, all with 40 hours battery life. (For music playing, at least.) Previously, only the iPhone 4 had FaceTime, which only works on Wi-Fi currently anyway; the new iPod Touch could finally allow people to FaceTime without being locked into a monthly fee, although Jobs wasn’t clear on whether the Touch had a microphone, without which the video chat service would be significantly less useful. The iPod Touch 4G costs $229  for the 8GB model, $299 for the 32GB, and $399 for the 64 GB.

All of the new models will be available for preorder today (though the online Apple Store is down as of 2:15pm ET) and will reach consumers starting next week.

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