(First of all, I would like to state that this article, written as it is at approaching midnight after a hard day’s toil down the salt mines [so to speak] is pure conjecture and opinion. And the opinion is mine, all mine! I am thinking out loud, and writing it down in case I forget any of it.)
Next week on the first of September, there is an Apple event. By which I mean that fanbois across the world (myself probably included) will be sitting by their computers reading about what Steve Jobs is presenting as Apple’s latest goodness.
This time round, all we know is that it will be related to music, since the invitation cards that were sent to those Lucky Few had a picture of a guitar on them.
On top of that, September is the month that has traditionally seen the iPod Touch brought up to date, to be in line with its bigger brother, the iPhone. So it is reasonable to expect that the iPod Touch will be one of the most important announcements of this event.
Other rumours have centred around the Apple TV and its potential update to be an iOS device, although I still fail to see how that would work on a non-touch device.
So back to the iPod Touch.
When the iPod Touch was first announced, it was younger brother to the iPhone, which was not yet an established brand, and Apple did the logical thing: instead of referring to it as an iPhone with bits taken out, they referred to is at an iPod (then one of the single most powerful brands on Earth) with bits added. So it wasn’t an iPhone minus, it was an iPod plus.
As a marketing strategy, this was of course extremely well thought out. But nowadays, the iPod brand is waning in favour of the iPhone and the other iOS device, the iPad. And this is where things might get interesting.
We have this iPod Touch which is not an iPod. It looks like an iPhone, but has only WiFi to connect it to the outside world. The only thing that could make people think it is an iPod is that it has an application installed on it called ‘iPod’ (as does the iPhone). I am not convinced.
Conversely, when the iPad was released many people said it was basically an iPhone with a larger screen. A few people, who thought about it some more, said actually … this iPad is an iPod Touch with a larger screen and a 3G chipset for data access over a GSM network.
And so this is what I think is about to happen – I would not be at all surprised if next week, the iPod Touch were rebranded as a smaller iPad.
There have been rumours of a smaller iPad being in the works for a while now. It kind of makes sense too, since the iPad is selling faster than Apple can ship them, and STILL isn’t available in most countries of the world because of shortages in the countries where you CAN buy them – and it is a little large to carry round with you – so this would also fit nicely with those rumours too.
And would I be surprised if the iPod Touch (or ‘iPad Mini’?) had a 3G chipset? Not very much, no. But I am not yet sure whether they would make it larger to give it the 7″ screen that some people reckon is coming.
However, in the countries where you can buy an iPhone 4, the iPhone is available in three models: iPhone 4 (32GB), iPhone 4 (16GB) and iPhone 3GS. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that there could be two new sizes added to the iPad range – medium and small, to go with the large one currently available.
So … fast forward to next week, and what do I think we will see?
- I think an update to the iPod range is expected – but more out of habit than anything else. Apple is selling so many iOS devices now, that the ‘base’ iPod range can’t have much life left in it by comparison.
- The more I think about it, the more I do think the iPod Touch will be rebranded to sit in its rightful place as an iOS device, as a member of the iPad family.
Next week’s presentation may be touted as a ‘music’ event, but in it I think we will see the first nail in the coffin of Apple’s long-running iPod brand.
One last thing : please treat me kindly if all this is horribly wrong after 2010-09-01!