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As if the iPod wasn’t ubiquitous enough already. Now Apple is releasing the iPod Photo: a version of the music player that displays photos too.

The new machine is available in either a $500 40 gig version or a $600 60 gig model. Worth the hefty price tags? Depends. You don’t need an iPod to display digital photos on the road, after all. You can use a personal digital assistant or a cell phone or, hey, your camera. But the iPod brand – which already has 92 percent of the market for digital music players – probably has the most potential to succeed in this capacity, if only because people associate it so directly with mobile entertainment. You’re on the subway, listening to the new REM album, you see a friend, and say, hey, check out my shots from Brazil. Could the iPod Camera be next?

But I think the new iPod U2 - a $349 custom player signed by the band, and packed with over 400 U2 songs – is, in some ways, a more notable stroke of genius. The iPod is all about stoking the passions of music listeners, and it makes sense to appeal to diehard fans of different artists. If I was 15, I’d save my lawn mowing money for an iPod Korn or iPod Jay-Z.

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