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Apple’s Announcement: Setting down the Odds

what’s nextTuesdays belong to Apple, like a Hallmark made holiday, they’ve staked their claim for iTunes Tuesday.  Every Tuesday, of every week, except this one.  In this holiday shortened week Apple’s taken liberties with their calendar.  While new music was revealed today, bigger things are planned for tomorrow.  This is poised to be an Apple iTunes Week.

Tomorrow, as announced and discussed a week ago, Apple will reveal its latest and greatest secret to the world.  It’s musical and beyond that, a mystery.  New iPods? The Beatles on iTunes? A ring tone store? a Nano sized iPhone?  What will it be?

Theories and speculation started the moment the news conference was announced.  With less than 24 hrs to go, the speculation has reached a frenzy.   

All will be revealed tomorrow (and then no doubt dissected from blogger to media outlet for the rest of the week) but for one more day, we speculate with some not too scientifically created odds making [Odds are based on circumstantial evidence and popularity of the prediction]

  1. New iPod Nano (odds 3:2)  
    Topping the list of most likely, as has been the case for the week, is a new line of iPod Nano’s.  Why? The monochrome Nano has been long do for an overhaul and upgrade.   It’s also the second year birthday of this model.  It’s time for a birthday present.
  2. iPod Video Upgrade (odds 4:1)
    An upgrade of the flagship iPod to incorporate features from the iPhone and Apple’s prolific patent filings is a logical step.  It’s also a part of widespread speculation.  Inventory has been low in the Apple Stores.  Blogs and papers are buzzing about a WiFi equipped iPod with a touch screen.   Digitimes, an Asian publication with connections throughout the manufacturing industry is reporting it will be Widescreen, WiFi equipped and use NAND flash storage.  They say longtime manufacturing partner Inventec Appliances will produce it.  Could it be?  Most definitely possible.  A Touch Screen Wifi iPod has been rumored for months. There were even patent filings back in May for a possible dual screen, two-sided device.   
  3. Ringtone Store (odds 8:1)
    The New York Post has recently reported Apple is set to start selling Ring Tones for the iPhone (and possibly other cell phones) through iTunes.  That’s highly plausible but doesn’t seem significant enough to schedule a two-continent, high profile press announcement.  Apple likes to surprise people, not disappoint them.  A Ringtone store at the end of this rainbow of hype – too insignificant to be likely.
  4. The Beatles on iTunes (odds 10:1)
    It’s no secret the Beatles are coming to iTunes.  It’s also no secret that the announcement for this press release was full of hints that subtly could imply the Beatles.  But Apple uses misdirection like a Las Vegas magician.  They’ve often thrown out a trail of breadcrumbs that leads Beatles conspiracy theorists into a dead end (Metue included).   This could be another of those smoke and mirror illusions.  It could also be the real thing.   Most accounts have put the Beatles on a late fall timeline – that may still be the most accurate answer.
  5. Digital Radio for the iPod (odds 20:1) is claiming a digital radio receiving product with music “buy it now” functionality is the next new thing.   That sounds a lot like the planned offering from Slacker, and a bit like in-home offerings from Sonos.   Is Apple trying to stake a claim to that territory too?  Could be but hard to believe. Too far out of left field. 

  6. iPhone Nano (odds 50:1)
    In July, Kevin Chang, a JP Morgan analyst in Taiwan created a stir by issuing a report that a smaller, lower priced iPhone would be released this year in the 4th quarter.  Apple issued no comment and JP Morgan promptly clarified that there was no evidence. That this was too speculative to be credible.    Odds are, that’s still the case.  Apple has lofty goals for iPhone sales (see below).  It’s highly unlikely that they’d risk segmenting the marketplace with yet another phone product while the iPhone is still on its initial run.  A lower priced, lesser featured iPhone will probably happen, just not this calendar year.

Elsewhere, in actual Apple news, iSuppli reported iPhones accounted for 1.8% of all cell phones sold in July (in the US).  The combined sell through for the two iPhone models made it the top selling smart phone for the month.  In demographics, 48% of buyers were women and 57% were under 35. The sales rate, according to iSuppli, puts Apple on track to meet their forecast of 4.5m phones sold for the year.  

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