Apple may soon be able to demolish criticisms of the battery life of its iPod family, thanks to PortalPlayer.

PortalPlayer has begun shipping a new processor, the PP5022 System-on-chip (SoC).

This is the next-generation of the processor iPods use today - and needs a lot less power to run. PortalPlayer claims devices using the new processor could benefit from three times their current battery life.

PortalPlayer's vice president of sales and marketing Michael Maia said: "Our goal with the PP5022 was to offer a solution that balances lowest operating power while continuing to increase system performance.

"We achieved this goal and will continue to deliver the lowest operational power during playback and encoding of rich media content-the PP5022 is our most innovative SoC to date, resulting in best-in-class battery life in hard drive jukebox systems."

Additional features include integrated USB 2.0 support - to the extent that designers could enable devices built using the processor to be compatible with peripherals, such as digital cameras.

The company also introduced its first processor for the flash-based music player market, the PP5024 System-in-Package.

This fully-integrated solution is designed to meet the need for high-capacity flash memory-based personal media players.

It combines the media processor, peripheral input/output (I/O) controllers, and analogue audio and power management functions on one processor.

"This enables high-performance audio jukebox features such as subscription music services and database caching support in a low-power flash platform," the company explained.