By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Apple Australia today updated its entire iPod range, unveiling a smaller and more durable Nano player in five colours, a tiny clip-on Shuffle player and a beefy 80GB flagship iPod designed for full-length movies.

Featuring up to 8GB of flash memory, the new iPod Nano range appears to have been modeled on its forerunner, the discontinued iPod Mini, sporting a colourful aluminium casing and beveled edges reminiscent of the larger, hard disk-based Mini.

The original Nano was plagued with controversy when it was launched last year following widespread consumer reports that its plastic casing and screen were easily scratched in pockets and bags, with some users reporting cracks within days of using the player.

With the new aluminium casing, Apple has sought to answer its critics, declaring on its website that the ‘durable anodised aluminium says you won’t let the rough and tumble of everyday life ruin your groove’.

“iPod Nano is the world’s most popular digital music player, and we’ve completely redesigned it to make it even better,” said Apple CEO, Steve Jobs in a press release issued by Apple today.

“The all-new iPod Nano gives music fans more of what thy love in their iPods – twice the storage capacity at the same price, an incredible 24 hour battery life and a gorgeous aluminium design in five brilliant colours.”

The Nano’s screen has also been improved with a 40 per cent boost in brightness for photo and album art viewing.

The Nano range will be available in October 2GB (RRP $219), 4GB (RRP $299) and 8GB (RRP $380).

Apple claims the new iPod Shuffle player, which will be available as 1GB only for RRP $119, is the world’s smallest digital music player and stores up to 240 songs.

The second generation Shuffle is the most significantly remodeled player in the new iPod range. Apple has abandoned the upright chewing gum packet style form factor for a smaller, matchbox shaped silver aluminium body, which features the same circular control panel and an integrated belt clip.

“It’s hard to believe the new iPod [Shuffle] is a real music player when you first see it,” said Jobs.

“But it is real, and holds up to 240 songs in an incredibly compact and wearable design that weighs just half an ounce (15 grams).”

Apple’s fifth-generation standard iPod has also been updated with a 60 per cent brighter screen, 20 hours battery life and now with the choice of a 30GB (RRP $380) or 80GB (RRP $499) hard disk drive.

With the launch of movie downloads through its new iTunes 7 program, Apple is talking up the new iPod’s video credentials.

“The world’s best digital music player has evolved into the world’s most popular portable video player too,” said Jobs.

“The new iPod’s brighter and more vibrant display and longer battery life make it perfect for watching Hollywood movies and TV shows right in the palm of your hand.”

The iPod and iPod Shuffle models are available now online through the Apple Store, and are expected to be in stores next week.