Since the introduction of the iPhone, I’ve been imagining what the new generation iPod will look like. The iPhone will probably be a great cellphone, but I don’t want to spend that much money on a cellphone with a contract and a data plan. Besides being a phone, however, the iPhone features the best iPod Apple’s ever made (said by Jobs himself, during the keynote). That made me think about the real, ‘big’ iPod, which is currently in it’s 5th generation (technically, what you buy now is a revised version with brighter screen, so 5,5th generation is more appropriate). It needs an update, and I’m sure we’ll see one. And when we do, it will probably look like this:
- Wide, Multi-Touch Screen (taking up the entire front face of the device, like the iPhone): you don’t really think Jobs is selling those movies on iTunes just so that people can play them on their small screen iPod, or on their large screen cellphone, do you? He will try to make Apple keep the #1 position of Portable Media Player (PMP) manufacturers, and Media is not just Music anymore.
- Large capacity: at least one version will have 80GB storage or more, it probably has the new 100GB perpendicular HDD that has been around for quite some time. When we’re talking Movies (and we are, everything points to it), large capacity is a must. With 80+ gigs, you can store your entire music collection, plus a lot of movies (and Apple sells movies, so they want you to have plenty of room to store them).
- Contact-less induction charging: they recently filed a patent which seems to point to an iPhone docking/charging station, but the new widescreen video iPod we’re talking about features the same landscape and portrait orientations, so it needs a similar dock. Induction is the way to go because it omits dual docking connectors on the device.
- WiFi synching: Apple wants to be in your living room, and they want to use the AppleTV to get there. However, it would be a shame if you would need to walk to your Mac/PC to synch media from you iPod to your AppleTV. It would be more convenient if you could just use the AppleTV and the remote to do it. When using induction charging, they will have to go for wireless synching anyway, so why not WiFi instead of shorter range systems? This would also be a nice way to diss Microsofts Zune, since that device features WiFi but does not have any good use for it. Apple would show them once and for all how things should be.
So, we have ourselves a large capacity widescreen video iPod with wireless functionality… that’s an iPhone without the phone, right? Exactly, that’s the big difference: iPod will be the media device, and media only. Communication, apart from synching, won’t be in it, beacuse that would hurt iPhone sales. We won’t see the phone funtions and the ‘breakthrough internet communicator’ in it, it’s just the best iPod they’ve ever made.
When will we see this? Well, that’s a nice one. Apple won’t introduce it at the same time as the iPhone, because that would hurt sales of both devices. They need to do it before that, because the iPod is dying for an upgrade. However, with Leopard, iLife and iWorks around the corner and probably some exciting other products (Multi-Touch Mac portables? Updated cinema displays with built-in iSight? Dual quad-core Mac Pro’s?), there’s not much room for the launch of such a fantastic product. They will probaby wait until a few months after the iPhone, possibly even until November, just in time for the holiday season. That way, it gets the podium space it deserves and doesn’t steal media attention from any of those other products Apple has up their sleeve.
I’ll be waiting for it though, and it’ll be great. I just hope they won’t be too late, since competition won’t sit still in the mean time…