Sunday, September 09, 2012

Details on new iPods that will share the stage with the iPhone 5

Although it's believed that the announcement of the iPad mini has been moved away from the iPhone 5 launch event, scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 5, it is believed that the iPhone 5 will share the stage with a series of iPods. Details on those new iPods, including a new iPod touch, have emerged in a new report.

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9to5Mac says it's been told that the iPhone 5 will be introduced along with a new iPod touch (which is overdue for a refresh, having not been updated in 2011), a new iPod shuffle, and a new iPod nano.

Here are the rumored details of the new iPods:

iPod touch:

The iPod touch refresh is most interesting to us, because it runs iOS. That would mean this version of iPod touch would run iOS 6 when introduced. It's unclear if Apple will make the device available on the day of the launch event, since iOS 6 will most likely not hit older devices until the week following the iPhone 5 launch, based on past history.

While the current line consists of three identical iPod touches with different storage capacities, the report says that for 2012, the lowest-level storage tier will retain the fourth-generation 2010 design, while the two higher level models will get an upgrade.

The low-level model, priced at $199, will differ somewhat from the 2010 version, although what that means is not clear. It could refer to the expected smaller dock connector, or an increase in storage. The iPod touch comes in 8GB, 32GB, and 64GB flavors, so a rise to 16GB for the lowest-end model could make sense.

Meanwhile, the new higher-end iPod touches will be fifth-generation versions. These new iPod touches, priced at $299 and $399, in line with current pricing, might see a bump in storage, but are also supposed to come in "multiple variations." It is unclear what that means, but a color selection - and more than just black and white - could be a possibility (for the first time in the iPod touch line).

iPod nano:

The report doesn't have many details on the iPod nano. It's said that the device will come in eight colors, with the possibility that only the high-end, $169 nano surviving. That model currently ships with 16GB of storage; once again a storage bump isn't out of the question.

In addition, it's been rumored for some time that a wi-fi equipped iPod nano was on the way.

One other "leak" to add to the iPod nano pile: cases from Italian accessory maker Puro seem to point to a form factor somewhat reminiscent of the iPod mini. Along the left edge of the case are openings suggesting external controls such as volume buttons in about the same location as on Apple's iOS devices.

In addition, at the bottom center of each of the cases are a pair of small holes which might be for a speaker or some other feature - perhaps dual microphones for voice recording functionality.

iPod shuffle:

While the iPod shuffle will get an update, it won't be major. The new iPod shuffle will come in eight colors, however, which is up from the current number five colors.

We'd expect if these share the stage with the iPhone 5, they will all be introduced first, with the iPhone 5 saved for the crowning glory of Apple's event.

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