Sony, which in late spring will be competing with Apple, Napster and MusicMatch on the Net with its Connect music store, just unveiled an updated version of its MiniDisc player that's better able to store tracks purchased online. The player, which can also record songs, uses new Hi-MD-format discs that boast a 1-GB storage capacity (enough to hold 45 hours of music), twice that of regular minidiscs. Players start at $199, and discs are $7 apiece. --W.R.
The iPod mini, introduced last week, is the size of a business card, comes in five brushed-metal colors, has 4 GB of song storage (enough for 1,000 songs) and works the same way its larger cousin does (a special version of which Apple agreed to make for HP last week). But even Mac fans may balk at the new digital music player's price: $249. The cheapest regular-size iPod is a mere $50 more but boasts 11 extra gigabytes of storage. Apple's Steve Jobs, never at a loss for words, has an answer: "It costs a lot of money to make these things." He thinks a lot of iPod owners will buy an extra mini for the gym. On this point, his instincts may be correct. Strapped to your biceps with the optional armband, the mini could be this year's must-have workout accessory. --By Chris Taylor