Apple will release an iPod Touch with a camera and video-chatting application, according to rumors originating in Britain. Whether or not the rumor pans out, Apple has a history of releasing refreshed iPods in September.
Now that the iPhone 4 has been released, the blogosphere seems to have
shifted its conjecture-making abilities to a new target: the iPod Touch.
A representative for U.K. retailer John Lewis sparked off a flurry of
speculation by predicting, during a Christmas sales presentation, that the next
version of the iPod Touch will include a 5-megapixel camera, Apple's FaceTime
video-chatting application and a three-axis gyroscope. The executive drew his
information from suppliers, according to
the U.K. blog Pocket Lint.
The addition of FaceTime-which would require a front-facing camera-and a
gyroscope would bring the next-generation iPod Touch more closely in line with
the iPhone 4, which recently debuted with those features. A gyroscope can
potentially be leveraged by developers for games or applications that rely on
Of course, every successive Apple product invites rampant speculation; in
the months leading up to the unveiling of the iPad, for example, seemingly
dozens of pundits and analysts made a cottage industry out of guessing the
tablet's features. Many of those guesses turned out to be incorrect, despite
the talking heads' supposed connections with Apple suppliers and manufacturers.
Since the summer of 2009, rumors have circulated about Apple's plans to
integrate a camera into the iPod Touch. In July 2009, the blog MacRumors.com
published spy photos of what was claimed to be an iPod Touch case with a camera
hole; TechCrunch solidified that speculation by reporting, via Asian sources,
that Apple had ordered a massive quantity of $10 camera modules.
September 2009 event in San Francisco saw the unveiling of only an iPod
Nano with a camera aperture. At the same time, Apple executives seemed more
determined to position the iPod Touch as a gaming device than a potential
killer of portable digital camcorder devices like the Flip HD. Rumors also
abounded that Apple was having technical difficulties with the cameras being
integrated into the iPods.
Whether or not this September sees the debut of a camera-equipped iPod
Touch, Apple certainly has other issues to occupy its attention at the moment: Although
its iPhone 4 sold more than 1.7 million units in its initial three days of
release, and has been praised by various tech pundits for its new features,
reported problems with the antenna are threatening to tarnish the company's
image, at least in the short term.
Apple is also focused on selling other products in its mobile stable,
including the iPad, which has proven a considerable marketplace hit. A July 7
research note from Barclays Capital predicts
that some 20 million iPads will be sold in 2011, giving Apple the prime
position in the burgeoning consumer-tablet space.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.