The iPod classic noticeably absent from Apple's 2010 iPod lineup
In a rare turn of events Apple’s iPod classic seems to be running low in Apple’s first and third party retail channels. Apple Bitch has reported that shipping times for Apple’s ageing iPod have slipped to as much as 2-4 weeks on Amazon.com.
Apple’s own website continues to list 24 hour shipping times for the iPod classic but several of Apple’s third party retailers such as J & R, Best Buy and Target show long waits for the classic.
Slipping shipping estimates for a product are a key sign that Apple is set to refresh a model but Apple has stuck to a strict timetable with iPod models and only updates them in September. In September 2010 when Apple refreshed the iPod lineup the classic was notably absent, sparking speculation about the demise of the model.
Mac Rumors speculates that Apple could upgrade the classic with a new 220GB hard drive which is available on the market now.
It has been pointed out by French site igeneration Apple appears to have amended its policy when dealing with water damaged iPods.
Apple will now allow some leeway when it comes to iPods which have their water indicator triggered. iPods will still be eligible for replacement if the customer claims that no water damage has been inflicted upon the iPod, Apple will use external signs of corrosion to establish whether the device is still within warranty.
Tomorrow Apple will host its annual iPod event, I say annual because this event has been held on a predictable schedule with a predictable series of releases for the past four years. In the four years Apple has never once released or revised a product outside of its iPod series of products (within this I include the Apple TV and iTunes).
Apple can often lend clues towards what products will be announced via the invitation it sends out to members of the media, the invitations in the past have included messages like “It’s only rock and roll but we like it.” This year we have no message, just a picture of a guitar with an Apple shaped sound-hole. The invite says music but we already knew that; suffice to say the invite offers little in the way of clues this year.
So in brief here’s what World of Apple predicts:
New iPod touch – revised design, front and rear cameras (no LED-flash), retina display, Apple A4 CPU, 16/32GB capacities.
All new iPod nano – 3cm square display, 30-pin Dock connector, 8/16GB capacities.
Brand new Apple TV – runs version of iOS, has App Store, packs Apple A4 CPU, 16GB capacity, $99 (£59) price point. Renamed to iTV but remains Apple TV in UK.
Preview of iOS 4.0 for iPad with rough release date.
1-minute song previews on iTunes store.
$0.99 TV show rentals from maybe 1 or 2 studios.
Let’s look at it product by product in more detail:
The Apple TV is to Apple an extension of iTunes for your TV, in this sense it is similar in functionality to an iPod. Leading up to this years event rumours suggest that the Apple TV will be overhauled in both terms of hardware and software. Hardware wise rumours point towards a small device with the innards of an iPhone 4 such as the Apple A4 CPU and 16GB of flash based storage. The price of the Apple TV will also reportedly drop to just $99 (£59).
In terms of software the future Apple TV is said to run a version of iOS with an App Store of apps built specifically for the Apple TV, last minute rumours point out a Netflix app. Kevin Rose the main proprietor of this rumour suggested that TV channels would come as Apps with on-demand functionality. Rose also suggested a September release, which presumably referred to Apple’s special event.
The only other part of the rumour left to discuss is the name, the rumours say that Apple will change the products name to iTV, this of course is inline with every other product that runs iOS. It looks likely that Apple will change the name, but possibly not in the UK market where the trademark is already covered.
The iPod touch is Apple’s flagship iPod, first launched in 2007 the iPod touch has helped grow the iOS platform. The iPod touch since 2007 has gone through little change, it has over time got very thin and is always chasing the iPhone in terms of hardware inside the case.
This year is expected to be no different, the iPod touch will almost certainly see the inclusion of Apple’s A4 CPU and high-resolution Retina display. Notably missing from last years revision was the backside camera that made its way into the iPod nano, this year the camera is likely to be included (although no LED-flash) as well as a front-facing camera so new iPod touch owners can enjoy FaceTime. Along with this new hardware expect the iPod touch to get a new look, squaring off the previous convex back.
Of the more obscure rumours regarding the iPod touch is the possibility of 3G capable devices.
Chatter of capacity changes to the iPod touch have been non-existent suggesting Apple will stick with 32GB and 64GB capacities, but an increase to 64GB and 128GB could aid in the demise of the iPod classic.
The iPod nano has been through all sorts of shapes and sizes and this year appears to be no different to the past. Last year it felt like Apple was stretching with the iPod nano, the top selling iPod got a new sleek design, nine different colours, video camera and an FM radio tuner.
This year rumours of major feature changes are slim, but it looks like Apple will revamp the nano entirely once again. The new iPod nano looks to be a small square design featuring a 3cm x 3xm (1.18 inch) touch display. The nano in fact appears just wide enough to include Apple’s 30-pin Dock connector and maybe a belt clip on the back.
No rumours have suggested what the interface of the new touch-display nano will look like, nor what capacities or pricing the iPod nano will arrive at.
Video: Skip to 1:23 to see purported display from iPod nano and faceplate for iPod touch.
The current third-generation iPod shuffle was released in March 2009; at last years event Apple merely added a range of new colours to the shuffle. The iPod shuffle is currently incredibly small, so small it has no buttons and only just enough room for a headphone port and hold switch.
Rumours related to the iPod shuffle leading up to this years event are non-existent, suggesting Apple will stick with what it’s got.
The iPod classic is Apple’s last remaining click-wheel iPod and the current version is effectively the sixth revision of the very first iPod. The iPod classic was largely untouched at last years iPod event only seeing a hard drive capacity bump to 160GB and the removal of the 120GB model.
Much like the iPod shuffle rumours of changes to the iPod classic are few and far between leading up to this years Apple event. This, like with the shuffle suggests no product changes. But could Apple quietly fade out the iPod classic leaving behind a click-wheel-less iPod lineup? The only way Apple could do this would be to get the iPod touch into the 100GB range and 2010 doesn’t look like the year to do that.
iTunes software and iTunes store
iTunes is often the stage for a revamp at Apple’s annual music events but this year rumours of a major new version of iTunes have been absent. It appears Apple is happy with the current state of iTunes and instead moving its focus to the online side of things. In particular the iTunes store, recent rumours of $0.99 TV rentals and double the length song previews are both possibilities but rumours to the contrary suggest the studios aren’t behind TV rentals.
Also continuing rumours of the so called “iTunes cloud” seem far off the mark with many sources pointing towards Apple being a long way off any kind of agreement with music studios.
iPod iOS 4.0
When Apple announced iOS 4.0 in early April this year it stated that it would be a staggered release with the iPhone and iPod touch receiving the software update in the summer and iPad in the fall. Fall is now upon us and developers have yet to receive any update of an iOS version for iPad. It is possible that Apple will use this event to preview a roadmap for this software release with a short demo.
Apple this year will be streaming the event live and will publish the video link shortly before the event starts at www.apple.com. Please join World of Apple for post event coverage and analysis.
Apple’s special event will kick off at the following times:
10:00AM – Pacific
11:00AM – Mountain
12:00PM – Central
01:00PM – Eastern
06:00PM – London
07:00PM – Paris
09:00PM – Moscow
02:00AM – Tokyo (Thursday 28th)
03:00AM – Sydney (Thursday 28th)