Apple will host a media event on Sept. 9 in San Francisco, most likely to roll out its new line of iPods. A brightly colored invitation to media featured a dancing silhouette from Apple's iPod advertising campaigns along with the tagline, "It's only rock and roll, but we like it."
The event will start at 10 a.m. PDT at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater.
Should Apple choose to debut a new line of iPods at the event, the devices could feature a long-rumored camera. In July, TechCrunch cited Asian sources as saying Apple had placed a massive order for $10 camera modules. Nearly simultaneously, MacRumors.com published images of an iPod Touch case design with a central camera hole.
At the time, a source suggested to TechCrunch that "everything but the Shuffle may have a camera in it soon." A camera-equipped iPod would directly challenge portable digital-video recorders such as the Flip, and the proximity to the holidays would give Apple's competitors little time to devise a counter-product.
While Apple reported profits during its most recent quarter of $1.23 billion, a year-over-year rise of 12 percent, the company's quarterly iPod sales declined around 7 percent, to 10.2 million units sold. Apple executives claimed during a July 21 earnings call that this decline was due to an expected cannibalization of the traditional iPod market by the iPod Touch.
Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer suggested that the iPod Touch and iPhone were developed precisely because Apple had anticipated a natural decline in the sales of traditional iPods.
A general refresh of the iPod line with added functionality has the potential to reduce sales of iPods with the traditional form factor. In addition to a new line of iPods, Apple is supposedly working on one or more tablet PCs that could make their debut in 2010.
An Aug. 7 research note by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster suggested that such a multitouch tablet would occupy the gap in Apple's product line between the iPod Touch and the MacBook. "We estimate that Apple could sell about 2 [million] tablets" in 2010, wrote Munster, which would translate into roughly $1.2 billion per year in revenue if sold at an average of $600 per unit.
In addition to providing a new form factor for a portable computing device, an Apple tablet with a 7- to 10-inch screen, running either the iPhone OS or Snow Leopard, would potentially present a paradigm-shifting challenge to e-readers such as Amazon.com's Kindle.
Despite the rumor mill, Apple has given no official word on when or whether such a product will make its debut. There has also been no indication whether Apple CEO Steve Jobs will make an appearance at the event on Sept. 9, although he was traditionally present for product rollouts before his liver transplant in April.