Apple Rolls Out iPod Mini Worldwide; Available July 24

After a three month delay because of reportedly high demand in the U.S., Apple Computer announced Wednesday the availability of the iPod mini worldwide beginning July 24.

The mini will be priced at ?279 in Europe and ?179, including taxes, in Great Britain. In Japan, the mini has been priced at n Japan for ?28,140.

"The iPod mini has been a smash hit in the US, and weire thrilled to finally be able to offer it to music lovers the world over," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs in the press release. "iPod has changed the way people listen to music and is now the number one digital music player in the world."

The 4GB miniature version of Appleis digital music player was to have been available worldwide in April, but Apple announced in March that because of "much stronger than expected demand in the U.S. far exceeding the total planned supply through the end of June", the product would be delayed until July. Apple executives also admitted that a shortage of miniature hard drives was also a contributing factor in not being able to meet demand.

The multi-colored iPod mini went on sale in the U.S. on February 20. The mini comes in silver, gold, pink, blue and green colors, and stores up to 1,000 songs.

Even before itis availability, the miniis pricing was met with skepticism in Great Britain. In January, days after the mini made itis debut at Mac Expo in San Francisco, an Apple executive told The Guardian newspaper that the company would review U.K. pricing on the product. The company had planned to charge ?199 to U.K. customers, while the price in the U.S is US$249. At the time based on the currency exchange rate, the ?199 would have exceeded the US price. Apple executive Greg Joswiak said the company would observe how the dollar performed against the euro and the pound before setting a firm price. "What we donit want to do is lock Europe into a price now, see the dollar continue to weaken, and have done all of ourselves a disservice by pricing too early," Joswiak said.