Thursday, January 25, 2007

Widescreen Beatles Super Bowl iPod? I don't think so

According to AppleGazette, people predict that a widescreen iPod would debut, loaded with Beatles songs (similarly to the U2 iPod), either at the Super Bowl in less than two weeks, or at Apple's rumored February 20 event.

I don't think so.

Beatles? Maybe. Steve Jobs did play a lot of Beatles during his last keynote, so many suspect an announcement regarding the addition of Beatles tracks to the iTunes Store is imminent. Either that, or Jobs was just being, well, Jobs again, asking for forgiveness rather than permission, just like with that Eminem commercial earlier (or with the iPhone name later). It's hard to tell, but one would think the former version to be more likely, what with the decades-long Apple vs. Apple saga.

My problem is with the widescreen part. Apple has just announced a widescreen iPod: it's called the iPhone. One of the main selling points of Apple's upcoming cellphone will be being "the best iPod" ever made. Apple wants to firmly establish it as its new platform. Apple wants to sell a lot of it. And Apple sure as hell doesn't want to cannibalize its sales with a competing product.

The iPhone won't ship for another five months. What would happen if a product went on sale next month, offering an attractive subset of the iPhone's functionality, including its mulititouch user interface, presumably a hard disk, and no shackles tying it to an evil cellphone company?

How silly would Apple appear for announcing a product months ahead, only to upstage it with a competing product that ships immediately?

That's right. The iPhone could be close to DOA. It could pull a Zune.

Unless Apple has been working on a completely different widescreen iPod, with a seriously dumbed-down multitouch user interface, I don't expect a widescreen version until the iPhone has shipped, and its first-quarter sales numbers have come out strong. I'd rather expect either price drops with but cosmetic changes to the current form factor, or not even that much.

I'm not expecting a widescreen, phoneless iPod running OS X and featuring a lot of the iPhone technologies until the next Christmas buying season.

Oh, and there's another reason why it's difficult to imagine a widescreen iPod going on sale in Q1, 2007: apparently, parts of the iPhone software, notably the Notes app, aren't ready yet. And iPods also have notes. No demo of the Calendar application (another iPod staple) has been seen anywhere yet, either.

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