Apple Sends Invites to Secretive Music-Related Event
With the words "1,000 songs in your pocket changed everything," referring to the introduction of the original iPod four years ago, the message said simply, "Here we go again."
Apple Computer Inc. representatives were unavailable to comment on the invitation, but iPod-related rumors have been circulating on the Web, along with stories about internal and external pressures for changes to Apples popular iTMS (iTunes Music Store) service.
While mobile phone maker Nokia has stated that it had no agreement with Apple for including iTMS access on its upcoming N91 multimedia phone, Mac-centric rumor site AppleInsider has said that it expects Motorola to introduce an iTMS-enabled ROKR mobile phone on that same date.
A prototype of such a phone was demonstrated by Motorola executives at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.
However, AppleInsider said that the Apple/Motorola event would take place in New York City.
Rumors have also remained steady about the eventual introduction of a video iPod; the newest generation of the 20GB and 60GB iPod models feature color screens and can display photos.
In addition, users of the iTMS can view music videos within the application, fueling speculation that this ability will eventually be integrated into the iPod itself.
Late last week, reports surfaced about friction between Apple and record companies over the pricing structure of songs on the iTMS.
Currently, all songs, which are available for purchase (as opposed to subscription-based services such as Rhapsody) are priced at 99 cents each.
The New York Times, among other sources, reported that music executives were pressing Apple to introduce variable pricing, with new songs as high as $1.49, with less desirable items slipping under the 99 cents mark.
Apples iTMS currently sits at the top of the online digital music market, with more than 80 percent of digital music sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and over a half a billion songs sold.
However, services such as Rhapsody are trying to cut into Apples predominance, and other media giants such as America Online and retailers such as Wal-Mart are entering the market.
The iPod likewise dominates its market, with around 75 percent of sales of MP3 players, according to The NPD Group.
Last quarter saw a 616 percent rise in iPod sales, contributing to the companys record earnings last quarter.
Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on Apple in the enterprise.