Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Web abuzz over iPod ‘refresh’

Apple is expected to unveil revamped iPods at a special event on Wednesday in San Francisco.

The internet is buzzing with speculation sparked by enigmatic Apple event invitations bearing an image of a silhouetted iPod-wearing figure dancing above the words ”The beat goes on”.

”It’s an iPod refresh,” principle analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group in Silicon Valley said. ”That is what the buzz is.”

Apple’s iPod has become the most popular MP3 audio player in the world since its debut in 2001. Its most recent addition to the iPod line is the matchbook-size Shuffle introduced a year ago.

The full-size iPod has not been updated since a video-playing ”fifth-generation” was introduced in October 2005.

A recent Apple earnings report shows an unprecedented year-over-year ebbing of iPod revenue growth as customers opt for cheaper models in the line.

”The iPod line is in desperate need of an update,” Enderle said.

Apple watchers theorise the California company is poised to reveal iPhone-inspired improvements such as enhanced wireless capabilities and a large-screen iPod for better video viewing.

A challenge facing Apple is that consumers are likely to expect iPods that mirror the innovations in the new iPhone, which the firm began selling in the United States in June, Enderle said.

”People will be expecting iPhone-level quality,” Enderle said. ”There is a real good possibility that people will be disappointed.”

Making an iPod model that amounts to an iPhone without cellphone capability would result in a daunting price tag, according to Enderle.

The $599 price of an iPhone is at a discount due to a $200 subsidy from telecom giant AT&T, which is the sole cellphone service provider for the devices. ”If you take out the subsidy, an iPhone is an $800 device,” Enderle said.

The timing of Apple’s event could be to buff its image in the wake of fall-outs with Hollywood and music studios that want more money for content sold on the iTunes online music store paired exclusively with iPods, said analyst Mike McGuire, of Gartner Research.

Apple announced in August that it will stop selling NBC television shows on iTunes because the studio wanted increased charges that would have more than doubled the price of each episode to $5.

A month earlier, Universal Music refused to continue making its catalogue of songs available on iTunes because it wanted a price hike for them — something Apple has firmly resisted.

Analysts agree that whatever Apple’s chief executive Steve Jobs has in store for Wednesday, all eyes will be on Cupertino, where the company has its headquarters.

”Apple generates more news just saying it’s going to make an announcement than other companies do with their announcements,” said Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg, who declined to speculate on the event. — Sapa-AFP

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Glenn Chapman
Glenn Chapman
AFP technology correspondent

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

DA’s egregious sexual harassment case finally begins

The party is accused of protecting a councillor, who’s also implicated in R1.2m graft

The ANC, DA and EFF ‘oblivious’ to climate crisis —...

The Climate Justice Charter Movement has critiqued the manifestos of the main parties contesting the local government elections and found them ‘shallow’

More top stories

Former spy boss Fraser objects to Zondo’s nomination as chief...

The former director general of intelligence’s character assassination of the deputy chief justice is straight out of the Zuma playbook

Special Investigating Unit to oppose efforts to reject Mkhize report

Former health minister Zweli Mkhize seeks relief to declare the SIU’s conduct against him ‘unlawful and unconstitutional

Bird flu outbreak on Dyer Island causing mass deaths

The island hosts the vulnerable African penguins, endangered bank cormorant and roseate tern

Countries bear cross-border responsibility for harmful effects of climate change,...

The UN committee has been accused of ‘turning its back’ on the children who filed a groundbreaking legal complaint with it against five countries
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×