Both Microsoft and Apple have press events scheduled for 9/9/08. Apple’s event, titled “Let’s Rock”, should usher in a new refresh of the iPod/iTunes franchise. For a few quarters now, the iPods sales numbers have been down as I think the market has reached maturity for portable music players. Fortunately, Apple released the iPhone at the exact right time to offset the lack of growth. So, what can we expect to see from Apple?
- iPod Nano - Leaks seem to point to a new size for the Nano – back towards the original candy-bar style and away from the short, squatty version we know today. Of course, that is based on accessory vendor leaks which show the dimensions of the 4th-generation accessories.
- iPod Touch - While the iPhone has gotten a nice 3G refresh, the iPod Touches have sat largely the same as when first introduced. I think we’ll see a slightly more beveled, maybe slimmer Touch with this next refresh. I think it’d be surprising to find any new hardware inside, though I think adding the GPS would be a great idea. Unfortunately, the GPS in the iPhone is only an assisted GPS, which I believe requires an internet connection, so, probably won’t happen.
- iTunes 8 - Everyone is suggesting a new version of iTunes. Kevin Rose is reporting a grouping technology which will build playlists automatically by matching songs that go together. It be surprising if HD video didn’t make it into iTunes also, since its currently restricted only to the Apple TV
- Apple TV - And speaking of Apple TV, let me go out on a limb and say that the lovely little TV box will see some sort of refresh too. I, personally, love the Apple TV. I really think its the litchpin to Apple’s video market from iTunes. No one else in the market seems to be focusing much energy or garnering much success from it, but Apple’s ecosystem works well for me. Still, a better compression algorithm could go big lengths to improving download times for TV shows and especially movies. Maybe we’ll even see a true Apple “TV” – with the technology integrated into a widescreen television. I think it would be a mis-step for Apple to enter the crowded TV set market, so lets hope they don’t go the way of Gateway, HP and Dell’s failed TV’s.
- New MacBooks? - With an event called “Let’s Rock”, I think its unlikely we’ll see new Mac hardware from this event. I think we’ll be waiting to January’s MacWorld to see new hardware, but the last few year’s MacWorld hasn’t ushered in much new hardware either… so we’ll see….