September is just days away and that means Apple will launch new products ahead of the holiday shopping season.
High on the list of expected products is a complete new line of iPods, including an iPod touch with Retina display and FaceTime camera. Insiders speculate that Apple will release a surprise hybrid product—a portable device that fits between the MacBook line and the iPad, part Mac and part iOS device.
Expected: The New iPods
All expectations point to a complete redesign of Apple’s aging iPod line to be announced at a Special Event. The flagship iPod touch will, according to sources, sport a Retina display to match the iPhone 4, and will include a front and back facing camera and FaceTime software.
Apple will launch new iTunes TV show rentals for 99-cents, say more than a few of the same sources.
Media technologists who follow Apple, and may or may not have inside sources, say the Mac maker will introduce a new iOS-based Apple TV, and iOS 4.1. The Apple TV is expected to sell for as low as $99.
iOS 4.1 will also mark the debut of the Game Center app store to feature high powered games for Apple’s new devices, according to prognostications.
Because the special event and announcement is in September, the time when Apple usually updates the iPod line, few media outlets are reporting what some believe to be the bigger story.
Unexpected: The Mac Hybrid Touch Pad
Mac360 has confirmed reports, from knowledgeable sources with a track record for predictions, that Steve Jobs will also demonstrate a new Mac Hybrid device which may run Mac OS X and iOS 4.1.
The hybrid device, which sources in a position to speculate have not viewed, will be called the Mac Hybrid Touch Pad. The portable device is deemed to be smaller than a MacBook Air, larger than an iPad, with a clamshell design featuring keyboard, trackpad, and touch screen.
Sources associated with Apple products, and who claim insider speculation experience, say Apple plans to sell the hybrid device for a base price of $699. The Mac Hybrid Touch Pad, according to those who have purchased many Apple products in recent years, will be positioned between Macs and iPads, and provide the best of both platforms.
Other sources with knowledge of engineering describe the hybrid device as one of Steve Jobs’ pet projects, and say it coulde feature a new molded enclosure made of Liquidmetal. Checks with suppliers have yielded no additional information about the device, due to Apple’s long standing requirement of secrecy among parts vendors.
The device is reported by a few speculators to have Bluetooth, WiFi, a built-in microphone, front and back facing cameras, and SD card slot, USB and FireWire ports, as well as a slide out kickstand so allow the screen to be viewed in landscape and portrait mode. The keyboard could be detachable.
Apple watchers and Mac users have shown a strong desire for the hybrid device to be available before the holiday shopping season begins, though how many Apple could produce and how many would be sold remains unknown.
Hybrid Device Features Chain Yanking Feature
By now your eyebrows should be raised due to all the red flags hoisted in the previous paragraphs. An Apple hybrid OS device that fits between the iPad and MacBook line?
Indeed. Unlikely? No. Impossible.
Excuse my attempt to point out how the internet can sometimes become a firestorm of speculation and gullibility, with many threads of hysteria woven tightly in a blended fabric of truth, rumor, and hit whoring.
In the past two days I’ve read a few dozen articles which indicate what Apple will do or not do with future announcements and products. New iPods are a given, considering the time of year. An iPod touch that mimics the iPhone 4? Sure. Why not?
Our friends at MacDailyNews have done a good job highlighting all the analysts and prognosticators and what they believe will happen in the Apple universe.
Phillip Elmer-DeWitt studied the past 17 Apple invitations over the past nine years.
All the speculation for Apple’s seemingly pending release of an Apple TV makeover seems to fade away in Dan Frommer’s question, “Is Apple really going to announce a TV gadget at an event with a guitar on the invitation?” MacNN’s headline said an analyst expects new iPod touch and a new MacBook Air. The analyst, Piper Jafray’s Gene Munster, actually called the MacBook Air a “wildcard possibility.”
Another wild card came from John Paczkowski who proclaimed FaceTime for an iPod touch refresh, a MacBook Air, and a cloud-based iTunes. Of course, his headline ended with a question mark, too. Analyst Shaw Wu says the new Apple TV will run iOS and feature a new Apple A4 chip.
From our checks with supply chain and industry sources, we believe potential changes could turn Apple TV into a bigger hobby and a multi-million unit seller. And perhaps be a precursor to a bigger effort to address the home entertainment space down the road.
We frankly are not sure if this model will see the light of day. But this would be a big departure from the design it has had since 2005 when it replaced the iPod mini. From our take, a radical refresh may make sense to jumpstart what was once its top-selling iPod.
I’m not sure that really says anything substantive, but it says enough to garner a headline which gets repeated ad nauseam throughout the Apple blogosphere. Ever the fool, Motley Fool’s Gabriel Perna regurgitates a Bloomberg report which says Apple is in talks with, among others, News Corp, NBC Universal, CBS, and Walt Disney (ABC) for 99-cent TV show rentals.
And the beat goes on as dozens of Apple and technology blogs regurgitate the same rumors, speculations, innuendo, and perspectives into a Frankenstein monster-like blend of truth, fact, fiction, and fantasy.
So, what will Apple announce? My sources, in a position to speculate, are certain we’ll see new iPod models and changes to iTunes. And, if we’re lucky, one more thing.