Apple Event Preview Round-up

Last week we speculated what Apple would reveal at its event today but things have evolved, as they will do in the swirling primordial rumor-soup of the tech world, so we've summarized the latest thinking for you:

iPods With CamerasiPods With Cameras

This is pretty much a dead-cert, with successive rumors giving away the details and numerous third-party iPod case makers leaking their designs—one more today, even.

The iPod Touch is likely to get the same 3-megapixel auto-focus camera as the iPhone 3GS (and CPU, creating cost savings), while the iPod nano is likely to get a 2-megapixel fixed-focus unit mainly due to the reduced space in its casing. There were briefly rumors the iPod Classic would get a cam too, but they've died down and there haven't been any leaked case designs to support the idea.

iPods With Bigger Capacity, RedesigniPods With Bigger Capacity, Redesign

Apple surprised many people this morning by slashing the price of the existing Nano, Classic, and Touch iPods. It's obviously a move to clear the decks to make way for the renewed devices, which are fully expected to come in larger storage capacity—the Touch to get 64GB, the Nano to get 32GB and the Classic to leap to a 240GB hard drive (or perhaps more). The Nano's also getting a wider-aspect screen.

Apple's iPod sales are falling, and while including cams will certainly re-invigorate the market (as well as largely sweeping up the cheap digicam scene for Apple) will we see Apple retaining the older small-capacity iPods on sale at significantly reduced prices in order to court spending-shy consumers? I think so.

Daring Fireball's John Gruber (traditionally pretty accurate with his speculation) thinks there's some sort of top-secret new-material shell for the Nano, and there could also be a long-missing FM tuner. He also speculates that the Shuffle will get its second over-haul inside a year, due to poor sales of the no-button March redesign.

Digital Album "Cocktail"

This is Apple's attempt to re-energize the concept of collecting 12-or-so songs into an album (a concept that's beginning to suffer thanks to single-track MP3 sales.) It'll be a digital wrapper for the tracks that'll deliver added-value text, imagery and video...and will most likely work via a new version of iTunes. Pretty much everyone expects this to happen today.

Beatles on iTunesBeatles on iTunes

It would've been sweet, given the huge anticipation and today's simultaneous launch of Beatles Rock Band and digitally remastered discography. Yoko Ono even hinted it was on the cards, but then EMI stepped in and, while lending support to the Apple-Apple tie-up, implied we won't be seeing this today.

Apple TV Revamp?

It looked promising for a while, but many sources are saying "no" to this one.

Steve JobsSteve Jobs to Show up?

Nobody knows, though there's plenty of speculation. Gruber thinks not.

Apple Tablet to show?

Everyone's saying no to this. Don't rule it out 100% though—we haven't seen a "one more thing..." special from Apple for a while.

Wild Speculation: Zune HD killer?

And here's our 100% wild-card rumor for the day, based on a lovely post over at Marco.org about how truly unpredictable Apple's product launch events are. Microsoft's upcoming Zune HD looks to be a damn decent iPod Touch competitor...but now Apple's slashed the price of the existing 32GB iPod Touch by a disproportionate (compared to the other price drops) $120 to $279, it's opened up that $399 product slot for a top-of-the-range device. Will we see a Zune HD killer iPod Touch? One with a sweet OLED screen, or perhaps with a traditional but larger LCD, true HD video-out powers and Wi-fi 802.11N capabilities?

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