Apple Thinks Delay With New iPod

    April 13, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Problems with the next iteration of the video iPod from Apple involve its touch screen and display according to the latest set of Apple rumors making the rounds.

The Think Secret added another entry to its lengthy history of reporting Apple news ahead of Apple’s announcements.

Now they note that instead of a 30th birthday present from Apple to its devoted customers in the form of a new video iPod, the latest and greatest device has hit some snags. Think Secret reports that the new iPod will have a display screen that fills the entire front of the iPod.

That would mean the iPod’s vaunted navigation click wheel needs to be incorporated into the display with touch-screen technology. And whatever Apple had developed to date was not getting the job done:

Sources speaking on condition of anonymity say issues emerged with the technology that have sent Apple and the display’s manufacturer back to the drawing board to find a solution. As such, a more definitive release date is unknown at this time, but sources say Apple expects the new iPod to be ready by calendar Q4, in enough time for the holiday buying season.

Online video has proven a compelling media format for Internet users. Though broadband speeds and availability woefully lag behind more than a dozen industrialized nations, enough people have adopted faster connections to make video possible today in a way that was unthinkable at the turn of the century.

Apple has demonstrated it can profit handsomely on the hardware side by creating a seamless experience on the software side when it comes to acquiring media content. But the content providers, in this case the movie studios Apple needs for feature-length content, may not be willing to play Steve Jobs’ one price fits all game.

Think Secret claimed a video iPod launch and a movie store launch won’t happen until the new hardware has been completed. But negotiations may be encountering similar resistance from the studios that Apple has seen from the music labels.

Apple and iTunes quickly became the dominant digital music marketplace with a single price strategy. It’s likely Apple wants to do that with movies. However, the studios want a subscription model to guarantee them more revenue.

When Apple is concerned, rumors and speculation have been the norm. Think Secret is no different, and several detractors have criticized for doing what it does: noting these rumors as sources bring them forth.

The critics miss a basic truth to Apple’s business, in that the company makes far more money on its iPod hardware than it does on iTunes sales. Current music terms have Apple paying the music labels about 70 cents out of 99 cents per song. The company might earn a nickel in profit on each sale. With a billion songs sold, that only works out to $50 million over the life of iTunes.

Apple needs to maintain its revenue stream with new hardware releases just as Microsoft does with Office and Windows releases, though some may not believe that of Windows given the lengthy delays to the Vista operating system release.

It is in the company’s best interest to create an updated video iPod and hammer out a movie deal with Hollywood. Getting Disney on board should not be a problem, given Jobs’ status as Disney’s biggest individual shareholder.

Sony’s UMD-format movies for the PlayStation Portable seem destined for extinction, which would be cited by critics of small-screen movies as a failure of any initiative to put Hollywood in one’s pocket. Restrictive usage terms for iPod videos don’t bode well either.

If Apple can also bolster its Mac mini strategy and marketing, and get those units and Front Row software into households as the entertainment center of choice, then movie purchases stored to the Mac mini, viewed on an entertainment center, and made portable via the video iPod or a MacBook Pro laptop may not be such a far-fetched idea.


Add to | DiggThis | Yahoo! My Web |

Bookmark WebProNews:

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.