Analysts are positive about the launch of the iPod Photo, Apple's extension of the iTunes Music Store in Europe, and its relationship with U2. But Macworld Online readers voting in this week's poll and writing in the forum, were mixed over what was the most impressive piece of news.

Macworld Online readers were mostly impressed by the iPod Photo. Over a third (38 per cent) voted the photo displaying iPod the "best bit" of news to come out of the special music event.

The next best thing wasn't a new product, however. Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of the 1,423 readers taking part in the poll think the best bit of news is that "Steve's back!"

Steve Jobs was absent from the company for part of the summer as he recuperated after cancer surgery. The Mac community was pleased to see Jobs back and on top form at the event.

The third most impressive announcement was that the iPod now boasts 60GB capacity. Almost a fifth (17 per cent) said this was the best bit of news.

The extension of the iTunes Music Store to more countries in Europe received the vote of 12 per cent, despite the lack of a Music Store in Ireland. On the Irish theme, 5 per cent voted for the U2 association, and another 5 per cent the "cool black-&-red case" of the U2 branded iPod.

Black and red… you too?

The U2 news was less impressive to Macworld Online readers than analysts. Digital Music News analyst Paul Resnikoff believes the relationship will help both parties, but that U2 may stand to gain more than Apple.

Similarly, Technology Business Research analyst Tim Deal thinks U2 is a good match for Apple. He told MacCentral: "I would hazard to say that U2 has evolved into the Beatles of this generation. The band has enormous credibility – when they endorse a product, the masses take notice."

Perhaps U2 fans will take notice. But those readers who aren't U2 groupies aren't so impressed. It would seem an all black iPod might have been more popular than the one featuring the red click-wheel. One reader said: "The U2 iPod looks great except for that ghastly red click wheel, what about silver or an ice blue anything other than some dayglow red? Maybe it's just me..."

It isn't. Another writes: "It is great to see special edition iPods, but you would have thought they could have produced it in better colours, black with red, plus it comes with white ear phones, yuk!"

The U2 iPod is "hideous" according to another reader. "It's exceptionally tacky, as is the tie-in with rock dinosaurs. Bang goes the iPod's street cred," he predicts.

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Some Macworld readers on the forum also don't agree entirely with analysts who believe that the iPod Photo will be a hit.

Jupiter analyst Michael Gartenberg believes that there will be demand for the new iPod Photo. He writes: "Is there demand for this feature? According to our research, about 14 per cent of consumers consider playback of digital pictures on a media player as a desired feature so that's a good sign even without the appeal of the iPod."

"I do think that Apple is going to sell a lot of these for the holiday and they have found another way to keep the innovation going," he adds.

UBS analyst Ben Reitzes agrees. He told CBS Marketwatch: "The new iPods should help boost sales during the important holiday season even though they are priced higher than earlier models."

Readers highlight one startling omission from the iPod Photo. One writes: "Shame it doesn't come with a cable to connect a digital camera directly to it - bit pointless without it really."

"iPod Photo - a pointless gimmick without direct connectivity to digital cameras," says another.

For one forum writer the added cost of the Belkin Media Reader is unacceptable. "It's a real shame this device still needs an additional media reader to utilise its 'new' feature - bringing the total price to over £500," he writes.

But one reader thinks Apple's decision not to include a way of transferring images to the iPod may have been so as not to tread on Belkin's toes. Belkin manufacturer a device that allows iPod users to transfer photographs from a digital camera to the iPod.

One feature of the new iPod Photo that is a hit with a number of readers is its increased capacity. One reader says: "That was my sole reason for ordering one to replace my 3G iPod 40GB. I doubt I'll use it to store photos – especially if you have to buy a separate unit."

"The only obvious reason I can think of for not providing this currently very feasible functionality is so as not to annoy Belkin."