iPod, iTunes Updates? What's Up Apple's Sleeve?

Another Apple press conference, another spin around the rumor mill.

In San Francisco today, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is expected to take the stage to unveil the electronics giant's latest high-tech wonders. No one knows for sure what the company will announce, but since invitations went out last week, Apple fans and tech blogs have returned to one of their favorite pastimes: pre-Apple event gadget gabbing.

The invitation included only logistical information, but the one illustration – a guitar – hinted that the event would focus on music, as previous Apple events in September have done.

Most bloggers and analysts agree that Jobs' announcements will focus on the iPod touch and the smaller nano. But some industry insiders have thrown out the possibility that the company could announce an updated version of Apple TV or a new kind of iTunes.

"Probably the most likely change to the iPod touch line will be the addition of at least one camera which would enable that product to use Apple's FaceTime software and greatly expand the addressable market for FaceTime," said Ross Rubin, a technology analyst for research firm NPD group and an ABCNews.com columnist.

Apple Could Announce Updated iPod Nano, Touch

Apple announced the FaceTime video chat feature when it unveiled the iPhone 4 earlier this year. The video calling option currently only works between iPhone 4 users and can only be used when they're both connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Updating the iPod touch to make it compatible with the system would make it the first mass-market video conferencing product that we've seen, Rubin said.

It's also possible that Apple might change up the iPod nano.

"The iPod nano may lose its traditional clickwheel and become smaller, closer to the size of the iPod shuffle," Rubin said. "There's an opportunity for Apple to shift control to a voice scheme like the iPod shuffle or touch control, like the iPod touch."

Could Apple Unveil New Version of iTunes, Apple TV?

According to the popular tech blog Apple Insider, new cases and screen protectors from international manufacturers point to a revamped, smaller iPod nano.

An image on its site shows a tiny, square-shaped touchscreen device that features iPhone-like icons and graphics.

Rubin also said that Apple might have some iTunes changes up its sleeve.

"There's certainly an opportunity there in general. We've started to see consumers shift… from the old paradigm of having a [music and video] library on a PC and transferring all or part to an iPod to Internet radio models such as Pandora or Slacker," he said.

Like those Internet radio services that let users stream music on their smartphones, he said, it's possible that Apple could announce a service that lets users store music selections in the so-called "cloud" instead of on their computer or mobile device. The company's recent acquisition of the online music service Lala bolsters that possibility, he said.

CNET reported Tuesday that it's possible Apple could also double the amount of time iTunes users get to listen to a song before they purchase it. According to sources familiar with the service, iTunes could extend the sample time from 30 seconds to up to 90 seconds, CNET said.

Apple might also introduce a new version of its Apple TV set top box that delivers iTunes movies, TV shows and videos to a home TV set, Rubin said.

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