Apple Computer Inc. unveiled Wednesday an iPod capable of playing videos, evolving the portable music player of choice into a multimedia platform for everything from TV shows to music videos.

Videos will now be sold alongside songs on Apple’s iTunes Music Store.

Citing a groundbreaking deal with ABC Television Group, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said the online iTunes store will sell episodes of hit shows “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost” for $1.99 each, making them available the day after they air on television.

“It’s never been done before, where you could buy hit TV shows and buy them online the day after they’re shown,” said Jobs whose other company, Pixar Animation Studios Inc., has a long relationship with ABC’s parent, The Walt Disney Co.

“This is the first giant step to making more content available to more people online,” said Robert Iger, Disney’s chief executive. “It is the future as far as I’m concerned. It’s a great marriage between content and technology and I’m thrilled about it.”

The new video iPod, available in black or white, will be able to play video and podcasts. A 30-gigabyte version will sell for $299 and a 60-gigabyte, $399. Extra features on both versions include a clock, a calendar that Jobs said never looked better, a stop watch and a screen lock.

“It’s really very beautiful and very thin,” Jobs said at the much anticipated news conference.

Apple has been riding high on the success of its iPods, which helped quadruple the company’s profits last quarter.

In the last fiscal quarter, the iPod accounted for nearly a third of Apple’s revenue; Macintosh computers, Apple’s historical core product, accounted for about 44 percent with 1.2 million units sold.

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