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Apple exec: 'Tremendous' interest in new iPod shuffle

Apple Computer is seeing intense interest in its new iPod shuffle digital music player which went on sale last friday, according to the company's head of worldwide product marketing.

The "response to it has been tremendous," said Apple's Phil Schiller in a telephone interview with Reuters on Wednesday. He added that the "early response and reviews have been phenomenal."

Schiller went on to say that Apple is "really excited" about the upcoming holiday sales period, which heats up in just a little over two weeks.

Indeed, analysts have speculating that the new iPod shuffle could emerge as the dark horse of the company's entire digital music player line, outselling all other models on its way to boosting overall iPod shipments to a new quarterly high for the three-month period ending December.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company sold over 14 million iPods during the same period last year, a benchmark it has yet to best. But the majority of analysts who provide coverage of Apple expect the company will finally outdo itself this holiday season, with projections on iPod shipments ranging from 14 to 20 million for the quarter.

The new iPod shuffle, which retails for $79, includes a built-in clip and 1GB of storage capacity, capable of storing up to 240 songs. It also features a new anodized aluminum enclosure that weighs about half an ounce and is less than half the size of its predecessor.