August 30, 2007 4:00 AM PDT
Will 'the beat go on' with a new iPod?
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The key to these new iPods, besides the expanded screen real estate, will the addition of the stripped-down version of Mac OS X found on the iPhone, said Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray.
"Currently, Macs, the phone and Apple TV run on (Mac OS), and with these OS-based (iPods), Apple would have an entire line of consumer electronics products based on (Mac OS)," Munster wrote.
Using Mac OS on these new iPods would allow Apple to use the touch-screen interface on the iPhone on the new iPods as well, according to a report from AppleInsider. The idea here would be to mimic the iPhone and maximize the area of the device dedicated to the screen by using a virtual click-wheel, instead of the physical one currently found on the iPod and the iPod Nano.
The fifth-generation iPod and the iPod Nano are getting long in the tooth, with no major updates since 2005. Last year's announcements were mostly cosmetic, with new colors and more capacity. And while iPods still dominate the landscape, new designs that could feature more storage, better screens or even wireless capabilities a la Microsoft's Zune could prompt upgrades and increased sales of television shows and movies through the iTunes Store.
But, of course, there's usually one more thing at an Apple event. The buzz is building that this time, Apple's finally ready to announce the availability of the entire catalog of The Beatles on the iTunes Store.
Hints have been building for months, since Apple and Apple Corps, The Beatles' record label, settled their trademark dispute. Jobs has used Beatles songs and albums in his keynotes, Paul McCartney and the estate of John Lennon have signed deals for their solo works, and conspiracy theorists were busy at work noting the message on Apple's invitation, "the beat goes on," was the last phrase in the 1970 press release that signaled the end of The Beatles as a group.
Of course, that was also a huge hit by Sonny and Cher. And one report is already debunking Beatles-to-iTunes rumors. In any event, there's a decent chance that Apple could use Wednesday's event to announce enhancements to iTunes that could include ringtones for iPhones, more movies available for purchase, or the ability to purchase songs or shows directly from an iPhone or wireless iPod.
It's been a busy year for Apple, with the launch of the iPhone and the push to get Leopard, the next version of Mac OS X, out on time. With all the new hardware launches this year, Apple must be careful to remember that much of its success comes from Mac OS X, Munster said.
"Instead of diversifying its business too dramatically, as some have argued, we believe Apple is focusing its business," if it follows through on putting Mac OS X inside the new iPods, Munster wrote.
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