The iPod/iPhone rumour mill is something so clouded that as TR News Ed I made the executive decision to circumvent the vast majority of it a long time ago, but yesterday I had a conversation with an extremely well informed exec which I’m going to share.
Naturally the identity of this friendly and talkative fellow has to stay a closely guarded secret but he works in a multinational company that develops iPod products and which sport ‘Made For iPod’ accreditation and the info flowed after I questioned the value of one of his company’s new iPod accessories.
In a very matter of fact tone I was told that the product was not designed for the current generation of device, but the official 6G iPod (fanboy art above - the current generation is referred to as 5.5) which is to be released in December. His company’s device only comes onto the market shortly before then and would benefit hugely because the new iPod would sport a screen that filled the full side of the device and consequently offer higher resolution video.
He explained that Apple had told him 480p content was the target but could only promise whatever did appear would be of a much greater quality than is used today. When I enquired about the control method he confirmed it would be virtual (see official Apple patent application above) and that essentially Apple was finally delivering the type of device we’ve seen journos (including myself) talk about since the turn of the year.
“This is why Jobs isn’t afraid of the Zune,” he said, though he had no knowledge of whether wireless would make an appearance.
Furthermore he also said Apple has been informing partner companies that its long awaited ‘iPhone’ (fan art again above) will debut in January and Apple wants to feature a subscription iTunes service where tracks could be downloaded for free as long as the subscription was maintained. He said Apple is already in negotiations with networks about bundling a trial period of the service with user contracts. Apart from that he said Apple did confirm to him that a three megapixel camera will be onboard.
When I asked this exec why we should believe any of this info he explained that Apple works incredibly hard to keep its third party manufacturers in the loop because “it makes more money from the affiliates programme than from selling iPods” and that Steve Jobs believes it is brand’s vast array of add-ons which plays the biggest part in maintaining Apple’s market dominance. “He needs third parties to be ready with products when each new generation launches,” he explained, “and we will be…”
So there you go. The usual caveats apply, don’t shoot the messenger, etc, etc but – just maybe – get a little bit excited…
In related news Apple has confirmed less than one per cent of its 5.5G iPods have shipped with the RavMonE.exe Windows virus. It does nothing to the iPod but transfers itself to Windows on connection. An infected Windows computer on Apple’s assembly line has been blamed and the company has put up a fix page here.