Apple's Sept. 9 event in San Francisco was the subject of many rumors, including that the Beatles would finally debut on iTunes, the Apple Tablet would finally be confirmed, and the Classic iPod would be given a coup de grace. None of these came to pass, although the event was notable for introducing an iPod with a video camera, as well as the reappearance of CEO Steve Jobs.
At least one rumor panned out during Apple
Sept. 9 event at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts: Steve
Jobs, looking thin after months on medical leave, took to the stage to
introduce a range of new products.
"I now have the liver of a kid in his 20s who died in a car crash, and
was generous enough to donate his organs," Jobs told the audience. "I
hope all of us can be that generous, and also become organ donors."
For images from the Apple event, click here.
After that somber note, Jobs proceeded to introduce a revamped iTunes 9, which
includes a music-sharing feature and a cleaner layout, and a new iPod Nano with
a built-in video camera and FM radio. The device includes a 2.2-inch color
screen and retails for $149 for an 8GB model and $179 for a 16GB model.
The price of the 8GB iPod Touch had been reduced to $199; the 32GB iPod
Touch, to $299; and the 64GB Touch, to $399.
Before the kickoff for the high-profile event, rumors swirled about other
products and services being introduced. Among the biggest ones:
Sept. 9 was aiming to be a huge Beatles day, between the release of
"The Beatles: Rock Band" and the digitally remastered versions of the
Beatles studio albums, which led some bloggers and pundits to opine that the
Fab Four's catalog would end up on iTunes, as well. Precisely why they thought
such a thing is a question for the ages, but like many a rumor propagated on
the Internet, it gained speed and momentum to the point where you half-expected
to see Paul and Ringo step onto the stage to play "Come Together"
with Steve Jobs.
Except, well, none of that happened.
"The Beatles and EMI have some differences to work out," Jobs told
USA Today on Sept. 10, adding, "We'd welcome them with open arms."
Nobody seemed to reasonably expect that the Sept. 9 event would see the
debut of Apple's
long-rumored tablet PC
, which scuttlebutt says will roll out sometime in
2010. However, the rumor refused to die that Apple would at least give a hint
or two about the device, which reportedly occupied much of Steve Jobs'
attention even while the CEO was on medical
Rumors over the past few months have suggested that the Apple tablet PC will
feature a multitouch screen, running either the iPhone OS or Snow Leopard.
There could also be multiple versions of the device, at multiple price points,
running different operating systems. In an Aug. 7 research note, Piper Jaffray
analyst Gene Munster postulated that a tablet would fill in Apple's product
line between the iPod Touch and the MacBook and produce nearly $1.2 billion per
year in revenue for Apple if sold at $600 per unit.
An iPod Touch with a Camera
Since summer, rumors have floated that Apple plans on integrating a camera
into the iPod Touch. In July, the blog MacRumors.com
published spy photos of
what was claimed to be an iPod Touch case with a camera hole. At the same time,
reported, via Asian sources, that Apple had ordered a massive quantity of $10
However, the only device rolled out at the event with a camera hole was the
iPod Nano, and Apple seems determined to position the iPod Touch as more of a
gaming device-something that can compete against similar mobile offerings by
Nintendo and other companies-than as a potential killer for portable digital camcorder
devices such as the Flip.
Death of the Traditional iPod
A decline in sales of iPods was the one dark spot marring Apple's
otherwise-robust earnings report last quarter, with sales of the devices
declining 7 percent from the same quarter in 2008, to 10.2 million units sold.
At the time, Apple
Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer claimed to analysts during the July
21 earnings call that the dip in sales was due to "cannibalization"
of traditional iPod sales
due to the increased prevalence of the iPod Touch
and the iPhone.
That may have been what started rumors that Apple planned on easing its
traditional iPod line out of existence, starting with an announcement during
the Sept. 9 event. However, the only announcement regarding the traditional
iPods was that the $249 price point would be maintained despite the Classic's
capacity increasing from 120GB to 160GB.
If you define "traditional" iPod as "a device that simply
plays music," however, it seems that Apple has long since doomed that
particular model to the scrap heap of history, in favor of multifunctional
multimedia devices. The Sept. 9 event, if anything, just nailed that particular