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TUAWxperts: September event predictions


With the September 2010 Apple media event just days away, here's a quick team round-up of our takes on the likely product introductions.

Victor Agreda: I'm betting on an iPod nano with touchscreen (because flicking is the new scrolling), and an iPod touch with a camera and retina screen. As for the "One More Thing?" How about a digital shelf in iTunes for your music for MobileMe subscribers? I'm expecting a new iTunes supporting this feature (and more) later this year.

Megan Lavey: I'm with the crowd on the iPod nano and iPod touch rumors, but I think if the smaller-form nano is true then the shuffle will be quietly retired. I will go out on a limb and say that if there is no iTV/Apple TV mention this time, it'll be there in January. I think "One More Thing" will be a cloud-based subscription to iTunes, of which the seeds are already there.

Erica Sadun: My money rests on a 4th generation iPod touch and a new nano. I'm expecting the touch to introduce a camera (with FaceTime), retina display, and A4 chip. I'd also like to see iTunes get updated, possibly centered around features arising from the Lala streaming music acquisition. My outlier is an iPad refresh, shipping around November with device options that leverage a newly seeded 4.2 iOS beta.

Steve Sande: We've seen images of a new iPod nano case and heard rumors of a touchscreen model, so I'm going with that. The iPod touch needs a Retina Display and two cameras for Facetime chats, so that'll be the second announcement. Third announcement will be a new version of iLife (iLife '11) for both Mac and iOS. iOS apps will be $4.99 each and include iMovie, iPhoto (more for retouching photos than anything else), a "lite" version of GarageBand, and a version of iWeb for blogging on the run from iPhone or iPad.

Michael Jones: I believe a new iPod touch with camera is a given, though I'm not convinced that they will have a front-facing camera and FaceTime. I'm sure Apple wants to expand the number of devices that offer FaceTime, but I'm not sure they will give that to the iPod touch. I could also see them using the music-themed event to promote iTunes cloud services, and maybe, possibly an iTV for the home-entertainment front.

Mike Schramm: I think we'll see FaceTime and the Retina Display love get spread around, either to the iPod touch or any new iPods that happen to arrive. I believe most of the iTV rumors, and while I think it's a long shot, I would love to see an iOS-equipped iTV, just so I could play my favorite App Store games on the big screen. And I think "One More Thing" will be a more social iTunes (including Game Center!), preparing for an eventual transition to the cloud.

Kelly Guimont: Remembering I am the "Supreme Overlord of Kelly's House of Crackpot Theories," take this with a salt lick: We'll get an announcement of iTunes in the cloud. It might not be active yet, but we'll get some details. I also say we'll get an updated iPod touch (more capacity and a rear camera), but it will keep the 1g/2g form factor to further differentiate it from the current iPhone (bevel style versus brick style). Colors for the shuffle, which will finally disappear entirely (perhaps some behind the head earbuds with the shuffle in the band) and just become a fancy set of headphones you put MP3s on. We'll get a nano update (nicer camera, capacity, possibly new form factor), and we'll get an update on the Classic: Either its time has come and it's going now, or its days are numbered and it will be going soon.

Chris Rawson: The iPod touch is almost definitely getting an A4 chip, Retina Display, and front-facing camera for FaceTime, and may also get a rear-facing camera. If the iPod touch does get a rear-facing camera similar to the iPhone 4, expect a case redesign (the current iPod touch isn't thick enough for such a camera). If it is redesigned, I doubt the iPod touch will use glass for its rear casing like the iPhone 4 -- probably anodized aluminum similar to the iPad. The capacity will probably still top out at 64 GB, which I'm sure will make many people unhappy. As for the tiny touchscreen iPod we've been seeing mockups of, I hope this is the shuffle and not the nano; the 3G shuffle's buttonless design badly needs a refresh to something more usable, and a nine square centimetre display seems far too small for the iPod nano given that you're supposed to be able to watch movies and shoot video on the thing. I don't expect to hear any announcements about either iTV or a cloud-based iTunes, but one thing I really would like to see is iTunes X, a slimmed-down, faster-running retooling of iTunes similar to what Apple did with QuickTime X. The iPod classic may or may not be retired, but in either case, I don't expect Apple to talk about the device at all at this event.

Dave Caolo: New iPod touch with front-facing camera and FaceTime support, iPod nano refresh, iPod classic stays the same, and $0.99 TV show rentals. I'm not sure on the retina display on the touch, as I don't know how much they cost Apple. Perhaps it'll be restricted to a high end model of the touch.

Aron Trimble: Probably: new iPods across the line, including an iPod touch with a Retina Display and FaceTime abilities. Maybe: new Apple TV that is actually worth purchasing. Hopefully: release date for the white iPhone 4.

Michael Grothaus: My money is on (of course) iPod touch with camera and FaceTime and new touchscreen iPod Nano. But perhaps most significantly of all, we will see the elimination of the iPod classic. The current iPod nano will remain on sale - at a reduced price - until all units are sold out. In other words, Wednesday will bring about the end of any iPod that doesn't have a touch screen. Also, I expect to see iLife '11, which eliminates iDVD and replaces it with "iLP" - an app for consumers to make iTunes LPs (basically discless DVDs) that they can share with their friends and family via MobileMe, on the new iTV, or as iTunes package files on any desktop or laptop.

Chris White: I also think the highlight will be cameras and FaceTime support on the next generation of the iPod Touch, although it seemed certain we'd see a camera added last year and that didn't end up happening. I believe Apple will continue to push the iPod Touch as a gaming device; hopefully with a new gyroscope and perhaps showing off live chat or even full FaceTime built right into Game Center. I don't think we're going to see a smaller iPad yet, it seems like it's too soon to release an update and I think they'll wait until the early next year for that announcement. Throwing yet another resolution at developers to support also sounds tricky unless they went with the resolution of the Retina Display or the current iPad. Perhaps contrary to that last thought, I do hope we'll see a new iOS driven Apple TV, I wouldn't put any bets on it but I think it's a product that makes sense in the long run.

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