Apple plans in September to launch up to four new iPods, including a full-screen video model and one nicknamed the "Fatboy Nano," according to reports on Apple Web magazines and blogs. The new hardware will include upgrades to the video iPod. Most or all of the products will use NAND flash for storage, and be based on Mac OS X.
The new iPods will run a derivative of the Mac OS-based iPod software introduced as part of the iPhone in June, according to AppleInsider.
Wired's Gadget Lab blog is calling one model the "Fatboy Nano:"
The Fatboy Nano will play video and come in matte black, silver, cranberry, light blue, and light green. We guess that there will be 4GB and 8GB models, but with the bulk discounts Apple must be getting on all that flash memory it's buying, a cheapish 16 gigger isn't out of the question.
The new iPods will look much like the iPhone, with some differences: the outside rim is black, not silver, and more flush with the screen, no ear speaker or microphone for phoning, and slightly thicker than the iPhone, according to 9to5mac.
At least a couple of the new models will retain the click-wheel interface of the existing iPods, AppleInsider said. They'll integrate with iLife '08, including updated ways of displaying album art, a Leopard-style interface, world clock widget similar to the iPhone, and "a new photo feature that would allow iPod nano users to browse their iLife '08 photo 'Events' via a CoverFlow interface controlled by a physical click-wheel," AppleInsider said.
"Events" are the new way that iPhoto '08 groups photos together. It's pretty simple: iPhoto assumes that photos taken as part of the same 24-hour period are part of the same event, and groups them together, setting the first photo in the group as a thumbnail to represent the whole group. Users can merge or split events manually, and change the default thumbnail image.
"Coverflow" is a means of navigating through albums in the music and video section of the iPhone. Thumbnails of the album covers appear all in a row, and users can skim the row by a finger across the surface of the iPhone. The centermost album cover appears full-face; others are on their edges. On a clickwheel iPod, Coverflow would presumably be controlled by the clickwheel.
AppleInsider says the product rollout might include a new version of the iPhone -- the so-called "iPhone nano."
The Mac, iPhone, and Apple TV all rely on derivatives of OS X, leaving the iPod as the only major Apple product line not currently based on that operating system, AppleInsider notes.
Intriguingly, AppleInsider says: "Internally, Apple is much further along, according to sources, who say the company will again tap an embedded version of the Mac OS to form the foundation of yet another business segment and digital device family in 2008." What the heck does that mean? Sounds like a new product line for Apple next year. Something in addition to desktops, smartphones, music and video players, and Apple TV.
The new iPods have been the subject of the typical "cat-and-mouse game that Apple's (AAPL) legal department plays with the rumor sites in advance of a product launch," notes Apple 2.0.
Apple dropped a cease-and-desist order on MacRumors, demanding that MacRumors take down a video which seemed to show a click-wheel driven iPod navigating through photos using coverflow, Apple 2.0 said
Apple asked 9to5Mac and Gizmodo to remove a "fuzzy photo of five squat devices that the sites claimed were prototypes of next-generation iPod nanos. Both complied, although as of [Thursday] morning the original photo can still be seen here, here, and here. Gizmodo interpreted the cease-and-desist order as confirmation that the photos were genuine, but Apple has been known to leak and then demand removal of bogus product shots, just to throw reporters off the scent."
The Wired Gadget Lab reported: "Both sites have been forced to replace the images, with 9to5Mac reverting to an earlier mockup, and the Giz, typically, sticking it to the Man with an exact Photoshop recreation of the original."