Beatles On iTunes (No), And Other iPod Rumors.

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All this speculation and whatnot about the new iPods tomorrow. I’m on record about the 6G iPod here and here. As for the nano, the rumors I’ve seen (wider body, larger screen, video-capable, more capacity) don’t sound too crazy so they wouldn’t surprise me. I also think the Shuffle will gain an extra GB of memory for the same price.

As for the rest of the rumors, they’re all over the place and it’s anyone’s guess:

  1. High-end iPods to be flash-disk based.
  2. Wireless iPod for iTunes purchases over the air.
  3. Kiosks for iPod at selected locations, plug them in and buy music directly.
  4. Radio (Satellite?) reception and an instant “buy now” button for purchase of songs.
  5. Music subscription model for iTunes.
  6. Video subscription model for iTunes.
  7. HD movies available in iTunes.
  8. Beatles music available in iTunes.

They can’t all be true; most of them will probably not be. I have a few comments on each:

Regarding #1, I’ve been wondering about the price of the new iPods, especially the high end. Seems to me if Apple wants decent margins it would be hard-pressed to keep prices the same even with hard disks. Wouldn’t flash-based disks almost guarantee a sizable price hike? Further, even two of the 32GB units would make for just a 64GB high-end unit. Whither 80GB? I can see the 30GB iPod maybe replaced by a flash-disk (still wonder about price though), but am not sure about the 80GB.

Regarding 2, 3, and 4, I might like 2, 3 seems kind of silly, but I guess it depends on where the kiosks are and how it’s all implemented (I’d need more details), and 4 would mean little to me. I think radio is dead. In fact, adding the circuitry for radio would likely harm sound quality and drive up the expense with no gain for almost all of iPod’s customers.

Regarding #5, this is the fantasy every Apple announcement holds for record labels who think subscription is the way to go. It’s not happening.

Regarding #6, this would make sense.

Regarding #7, the timing would be great, but I still wonder if the pipe (and consumers’ patience) is ready for the kind of bandwidth these would require?

Regarding #8, a lot is made of Paul, John, and Ringo’s music on iTunes now. Hmmm, weren’t the Beatles called the Fab Four? You know, four, as in… four? Isn’t someone’s music missing? If George’s estate is not allowing the online distribution of his solo work, do you think they’ll allow the Beatles catalog online? I think the answer would be “no”. If they are not all on board, then none of them may as well be on board. Unless Harrison’s estate also has an announcement tomorrow, I don’t see the Beatles online happening

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