Touch-screen iPod to take center stage

Apple will at last unveil a touch-screen iPod with a 3.5-inch display at its media event Wednesday, sources have confirmed, some 20 months after Think Secret first broke word of the device's development.

The new iPod will feature similar dimensions to Apple's iPhone with which it will share the same display, but sources except the iPod to continue to sport a hard drive in place of Flash memory. Solid state media commands a roughly 15-fold price premium per gigabyte over a 1.8-inch hard drive, which is now available in substantial quantities at capacities up to 120GB.

The rumormill has been ripe with other feature speculation surrounding the new iPod, some more far-fetched than others. While it is possible the new iPod will be the first to pack some sort of wireless capability, suggestions of digital radio playback should be taken with a grain of salt.

Apple's new iPod nano, meanwhile, will gain much of the same functionality as Apple's current 5.5G iPod, including video playback and a higher resolution 320x240 pixel display. The nano will remain Flash-based, with capacities expected to top out at 12GB or 16GB, in keeping with rival product offerings.

The iPod nano is also expected to feature the first substantial improvement to the iPod's traditional interface. Rumored to have been in development for nearly two years, the click-wheel based interface will pack plenty of animation and other visual flair, including CoverFlow browsing if leaked videos of the interface--screenshots of which are offered below--are true to the final form.

Apple may take advantage of tomorrow's media event to make other announcements, including new iPod accessories. Think Secret sources recently said they believe the iPod Hi-Fi speaker system will be eliminated from Apple's product line-up in the near future.

In addition, rumors that Apple will make an announcement regarding the Beatles catalog have circulated for some time and may come to a head tomorrow. The rumors have been partially fueled by content selections in the leaked iPod interface videos and also by the recent addition of John Lennon's solo work to iTunes.


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