Rumors Point To New Touchscreen iPod, Social Networking in iTunes

On September 1, Steve Jobs will take the stage at an Apple event to announce new iPods.  How do we know?  Because Apple is clearing out stock of existing models with its annual back-to-school sale, and the invite sent to bloggers has a guitar with an Apple-shaped hole in it.  Oh, and there’s also the pattern of new iPods always being announced around this time.  There are rumors of an iPod touch with FaceTime, which seems likely, but there are more speculative hardware rumors as well.

More recently, rumors are that there could be a new nano or shuffle with a small touchscreen.  The rumors stem from a photo showing what are supposed to be cases for the new iPod nano and iPod touch.  The cases show a back camera for the iPod touch similar to that of the iPhone, but with the same curved back of the current touches.  The “nano 6G” case, however, is completely different.  It’s a small square with a rectangle cut out of the back, and placements for a 30-pin dock connector, and volume control buttons.  If the case proves to be true, it could explain the 1.7-inch touchscreen that was supposedly heading for Apple a few months back {iLounge}.  It could possibly be a touchscreen that simply has access to music, as it wouldn’t make sense to further fragment iOS apps with a small screen.  Or, it could be completely bunk.  We saw cases for iPod touches last year that featured a camera that was obviously not included in the final product.  Apple is so fiercely protective of pre-launch products that they didn’t release the design of the iPhone 4 to case makers before  launch, and it could be doing the same now, with makers just going based on rumors.

Another, seemingly more safe rumor is that Apple will be making iTunes more social in the Wednesday announcement.  While previous rumors said Apple is working on an iTunes cloud solution, the new rumors say that the company could, instead, be working on making it easier to recommend media to friends {The Unofficial Apple Weblog}.  The idea is likely that people are often influenced by their friends when it comes to any sort of media, and iTunes would be able to show you what your friends are listening to, playing, using and watching without having to go to another social network or (gasp!) asking them in person.  Seems like a logical step, even if iTunes cloud-streaming would be a nicer feature to have.


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