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Monday, February 21 12:00 AM ET

New Ipod Firmware Will Display Ads

By Brian Briggs and Francisco Rangel

Cupertino, CA - Apple announced a new firmware update for its line of iPod music players. The update will be necessary to play songs bought from the iTunes Music Store beginning next month.

Pepsi iPodAmong the features of this new firmware are enhanced playback functionality, a simpler user interface, better song shuffling, and a new banner ad feature that will display information on new Apple and other relevant products.

"We needed to find a new revenue stream for the iPod. Selling music and music players just doesn't have enough profit in it. We felt we could leverage the iPod's leadership position and its LCD display to monetize the eyeballs," said an Apple spokesperson Kevin Wilson.

Wilson also said for users who don't want to see ads on their iPod thre is an alternative. An ad-free iPod would be available iPod for $650 and a $10 monthly fee.

Many iPod users were upset by the news, like Victor Shehab of Madison, Wisconsin. He said, "I hate ads, but I love my iPod, so I guess I'll just have to avoid looking at it from now on."

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However, Wilson said, "What are songs, but three-minute commercials for the artist. We think iPod users will embrace the technology when they get a chance to see it in action."

If successful, Apple will move on their plans to insert 30-second audio ads for customers.

The new firmware will automatically be installed the next time users synch their iPod.

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