DigiTimes on Wednesday reported that a new iPod "may have wireless capabilities." But then at the end of the same article they contradict themselves by noting that Apple Taiwan has denied it.
Apple Computer is expected to launch soon a new iPod that supports wireless capabilities so as to compete with Microsoft's planned year-end launch of its Zune-branded MP3 players, according to market sources.
Apple's headquarters has begun dispatching its staff to its major markets in Asia, to teach local sales how to demonstrate the new products, the sources noted.
Apple Taiwan, however, denied the market reports.
Wireless capabilities could mean a number of things in the context of the iPod.
1. Bluetooth wireless headphones
. Wireless headphones make little or no sense to me with an iPod. Bluetooth headsets are barely tolerable when they're within four feet of a mobile phone, otherwise they break up and sound horrible - not a good combination for a music player. I'll take a pair of wired earbuds over anything wireless any day.
. Wi-Fi could allow you to connect an iPod wirelessly to your Mac to transfer songs but the killer application would be to purchase music directly from the iTunes Music Store directly to the device, Over-The-Air (OTA). Wireless OTA music downloads could surpass online music service users by 2010 according to IDC:
In order for wireless music services to reach critical mass, a variety of music-enabled devices need to first find their way into the hands of wireless subscribers. This has not happened so far due in part to limited offerings from the handset vendors. However, the shift towards a greater variety of music-enabled mobile phones at various price points is already in motion. IDC expects music-enabled mobile phone shipments to reach nearly 60% of all handsets shipped in the U.S. by 2010.
NPD Group anticipates a quick ramp up in OTA sales volumes as music-enabled handsets get into the market.
More than one million mobile phones capable of downloading full songs over the air (OTA) via the Sprint Music Store or Verizon's VCast Music have been sold, as of February 2006.
* Though not a jaw-dropping figure, the fact that more than two million downloads from the Sprint Music Store - and some volume approaching that from Verizon - shows consumers will download full songs on a trial basis. As prices fall for OTA-download-capable phones, we expect more consumers will buy them, and OTA download volumes will rise in the near term.
Adding a wireless radio to the iPod is going to have an adverse affect on battery life which is going to present a problem for Apple. The iPod's current 14-hour battery life (which drops to only 2 or 3 hours when playing video) pales in comparison to other devices like the 30-hour battery life of the Sony Net Walkman NW-HD1
If Apple is going to add wireless capabilities to the iPod they need to make a serious advance in battery technology (direct methanol fuel cells, anyone?) to balance good run time with the increased power demands of a wireless radio.
Do you want a wireless iPod? Are you willing to give up some battery life to get it?