Apple roadmap hints at white iPod touch but few changes in 2011

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
An update next month to Apple's flagship digital media player may outfit the device in an additional color but may otherwise represent a rather modest refresh when compared to years past, AppleInsider has been told.



The iPod, which struck a resurgence that helped place Apple back on the map in 2001, may for the first time take a back seat to the company's more lucrative and influential devices -- such as the iPhone and iPad -- when the electronics maker unveils its holiday lineup of iOS devices sometime between mid-August and mid-September.



For years the iPod lifted Apple as its bread-and-butter product but now accounts for a paltry 5% of the company's revenue, according data released as part of its fiscal third quarter earnings report this week. And the majority of that revenue comes from the higher-ASP iPod touch, which accounted for more than half of the 7.54 million iPods shipped during the quarter.



Adding a bit more color to the matter are a series of recent industry checks by Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who told AppleInsider that the iPod touch is the only one of Apple's four iPod product lines that continues to show any semblance of unit growth heading into the second half of the year.



Looking into the current third calendar quarter, Kuo said checks indicate Apple has placed orders for white iPod touch models that are expected to go into mass production sometime in late August, but he added that the build plans for those models reflect few, if any, distinguishable changes from the existing black models introduced last fall.



"It means no spec update of iPod touch this year," he said.



And while such claims may or may not pan out, it's worth noting that the same round of checks by the analyst revealed earlier this week that Apple's production roadmap for its legacy white MacBook appeared to drop off in August, and that no future updates were expected. Within days of those checks, Apple formally discontinued sales of the white MacBook to consumers, relegating the notebook to an education-only product.



(It's believed that Apple will continue to manufacture white MacBooks through the summer to fill orders for educational institutions before discontinuing the product altogether.)







Asked why he believes his checks into this year's iPod touch update will similarly prove accurate, Kuo said it's all about a priority shift towards the market-leading iPhone and the iPad, which now combine for a whopping 68% of Apple's sales. Unlike years past when Apple updated the iPhone in the summer, met initial demand, and only then began sharing components with the iPod touch in the fall, this year's iPhone refresh has been pushed inline with that of the iPod touch.



"[The] iPhone and iPad have higher priority to get shared components of iOS devices when the supply chain is tight (especially after the Japan quake)," Kuo said, suggesting that Apple has such high expectations for the fifth-generation iPhone that it may not be confident it could secure enough components to introduce a similarly-equipped iPod touch around the same time.



For perspective, Apple shipped at least 33 million iOS devices last quarter, struggling to build enough iPads the entire stretch. That quarter included 20 million iPhones, and it wasn't a new iPhone quarter. The iPhone 4 actually celebrated its first birthday near the end of the 3-month span.



Apple has proven that it can beat at a pace that is sometimes beyond the scalability of its suppliers, and is now pouring billions into those companies to make sure they catch up so it doesn't have to slow down. In addition to mass production of the iPhone 5 in September, Kuo says Apple has an ambitious but, for those reasons, tentative plan that could see a new iPad enter production only a few months later.



Although the "plan might change," the analyst's current checks have a new iPad hitting the manufacturing lines sometime in the fourth quarter. He says, however, that it's unclear when Apple plans to introduce it to market.



"Component suppliers will start to ship for next iPad in mid 3Q11 and MP date will be in 4Q," he wrote in a communication to AppleInsider. "The demand forecast is strong and Apple prefers to allocate shared components to iPhone and iPad." Kuo added that TPK currently acts as the sole source for touch-screens for white iPads but that Wintek will start sharing those duties in September.







The analyst's checks aside, there's been little to no evidence thus far to suggest a material update to the iPod touch is near production. No reports have surfaced with talk of parts or supplier contracts for a new model, and even Apple's own iOS betas are already dropping hints at two versions of an iPad 3 but haven't turned up mention of a fifth-gen iPod touch. Instead, the last few releases included references (above) to an unreleased "iPod4,2," which identifies it as a player based on the existing, fourth-gen iPod touch architecture.



Should Apple indeed forgo an architectural revamp of the iPod this year, the advent of a white model could serve to re-energize sales in a move similar to the one that played out a few months ago with the arrival of the white iPhone 4.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 55
    The only spec I expect to see 100% is an A5 chip. 80% chance that it will get a 3 MP camera (like it was wrongly predicted in 2009 and 2010 it might get), and a 50% chance of 128GB storage. The only things we really need are those features. Other commenters, what else do you think it needs?
  • Reply 2 of 55
    You are reading this information the wrong way. The iPod Touch will begin to be phased out this year. It will likely only ship in a single low cost $200 8GB model (in white perhaps). The high end models starting at $300 will be replaced with a new pay as you go iPhone. The iPhone would be able to do everything an iPod Touch can currently do plus have access to cellular voice and/or data. Apple may even throw in some kind of free data service for app and iTunes downloads like the Kindle does for books. If they make the right deals, it could even come with limited free web browsing and iCloud syncing. Perhaps a low cost subscription to play online games. The possibilities are endless. This new iPhone would be in addition to the premium upgrade to the iPhone 4. It would have a thinner design and look a lot like the existing iPod Touch. Expect its camera to be lower resolution than the iPhone. This information is all speculation but it fits well with Apple's strategy and the other leaks.
  • Reply 3 of 55
    jakevin.jakevin. Posts: 71member
    I think we'll see a white iPod touch (makes sense) with A5 and maybe a slightly better camera (3MP sounds about right). I can certainly see them discontinuing the Shuffles with Nano's so similarly sized and so the line between the two devices being blurred. I don't think we'll see an end to the touch anytime soon as Apple will use it as the 'training wheels for the iPhone' in the sort of 9 - 16 year old range. I don't think we'll see anything updated except for the Touch in the iPod line but Apple will need to do something with it all soon as sales are certainly not increasing.
  • Reply 4 of 55
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GrangerFX View Post


    You are reading this information the wrong way. The iPod Touch will begin to be phased out this year. It will likely only ship in a single low cost $200 8GB model (in white perhaps). The high end models starting at $300 will be replaced with a new pay as you go iPhone. The iPhone would be able to do everything an iPod Touch can currently do plus have access to cellular voice and/or data. Apple may even throw in some kind of free data service for app and iTunes downloads like the Kindle does for books. If they make the right deals, it could even come with limited free web browsing and iCloud syncing. Perhaps a low cost subscription to play online games. The possibilities are endless. This new iPhone would be in addition to the premium upgrade to the iPhone 4. It would have a thinner design and look a lot like the existing iPod Touch. Expect its camera to be lower resolution than the iPhone. This information is all speculation but it fits well with Apple's strategy and the other leaks.



    Your plan actually makes more sense. I forgot about the other rumors. Sorry to offend any iPod touch users out there! My only iOS device is a iPod Touch 4G 64 GB that is jailbroken on iOS 4.3.3 untethered.
  • Reply 5 of 55
    I just want the iPod Touch to get Garage Band. I know it can run on an A4 but the A5 would be better. All Garage Band would need is different screen layouts. Doubling of the memory of the iPod Touch would be a really good idea. Having a 4" screen would be a huge change for the positive. It could become my portable computer. With Airplay it already can work with TV sets.



    I don't care about colors because I'll be buying a heavy duty case for it. The smaller iPods lost my interest because the new Nano is just stupid. It had video and a video camera. Now it just has a tiny touch screen that allows people to reposition the image. What a waste of technology.



    There comes a time when things get too small. I hope Steve turns the Nano into the smallest iPod at a much lower price, even though I don't want that model.
  • Reply 6 of 55
    umairumair Posts: 16member
    512 MB Ram / A5 chip / more battery life for GodSake / no Aluminium Back please / atleast 3MP 720P REAR FACING camera(no cheap 1 please apple ) / 3.7 inch screen retina display offcourse but with IPS panel. !



  • Reply 7 of 55
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,195member
    Apple Pay as you go iPhone will never materialize.
  • Reply 8 of 55
    shaun, ukshaun, uk Posts: 1,050member
    I wonder if there will be a 128Gb version so they can retire the Classic.



    If it's going to be a modest iPod update this year together with a modest iPhone update it's going to be a really boring event unless Steve has something up his sleeve.
  • Reply 9 of 55
    jnjnjnjnjnjn Posts: 588member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GrangerFX View Post


    You are reading this information the wrong way. The iPod Touch will begin to be phased out this year. It will likely only ship in a single low cost $200 8GB model (in white perhaps). The high end models starting at $300 will be replaced with a new pay as you go iPhone. The iPhone would be able to do everything an iPod Touch can currently do plus have access to cellular voice and/or data. Apple may even throw in some kind of free data service for app and iTunes downloads like the Kindle does for books. If they make the right deals, it could even come with limited free web browsing and iCloud syncing. Perhaps a low cost subscription to play online games. The possibilities are endless. This new iPhone would be in addition to the premium upgrade to the iPhone 4. It would have a thinner design and look a lot like the existing iPod Touch. Expect its camera to be lower resolution than the iPhone. This information is all speculation but it fits well with Apple's strategy and the other leaks.



    Good thinking. Currently Apple can sell the iPod touch with a 30%+ marge. It sells the contract free iPhone with almost the same components as the iPod for two and a half times the price of the iPod. This is in itself unacceptable for consumers and unsustainable in the long run because of the very fierce competition of other phone vendors.



    J.
  • Reply 10 of 55
    jakevin.jakevin. Posts: 71member
    I think they can afford to drop Shuffles altogether now that the Nano is smaller and more Shuffle-like and while they're at it they should drop the Classics as well by adding a 128GB option to the iPod Touch... With iPods making up less and less of Apple's total sales, I don't see why they shouldn't contract their range to just 2-3 options - makes consumers less confused and everything a lot neater.



    Add an iPhone Lite, and iPad Pro and drop the Shuffle/Classic I say. Focus on the money makers!
  • Reply 11 of 55
    Eh, where to start? Firstly the iPod that brought Apple back from the dead is the iPod classic the direct descendant from the original iPod.



    The iPod Touch is really quite a different device and has very little in common with those early media players. The iPod touch is more closely related to the iPhone or even the iPad, and one could say it is the iPhone from a software perspective, but without 3g (yes the bit that really makes it a phone).



    The iPod Touch is in a funny place right now, yes the iPod line is in decline, Apple has already reposition the Nano to be just a music player, it has left the iPod classic there untouched for those who want it, and the iPod Shuffle doesn't really have anywhere else to go, I mean how small can it really get.



    My point is that the iPod touch isn't really an iPod, it is much more than that. In fact most people don't even call it an iPod, the name iTouch seems to be everywhere. But analyst love the doom an gloom around the falling revenue coming from the iPod line and the iPod Touch suffers because of this.Maybe we need a name change or something?



    Personally i think the iPod Touch will get updated internally - it needs to keep up with the other iOS devices especially it's older sibling the iPhone which both share much of the same software. I think 3g makes sense, this would position the device closer to the iPad (kind of like an iPad Nano) giving the device greater flexibility. As for a white version - that seem to be a no-brainer.
  • Reply 12 of 55
    What are the chances that the iPod Classic will be discontinued this year? Considering the fact that it is the 10th anniversary, what would Apple do to the device that single-handedly turned the company around? Dumping it would be hard, but Apple have demonstrated that they have no qualms of getting rid of anything they consider archaic. They didn't even have a problem dropping the iPod Mini, which was their best-selling product at the time to introduce the Nano.



    I got my first iPod in 2004, which was the 3G one. It was what made me start taking notice of Apple. Then, when the iPhone came out, it had the desired effect on me and I bought my first iMac in 2009! Since then my house is becoming full of devices with the Apple logo... the MBP, Time Capsule, Airport Express, iPhones, iPods, iPads and soon MBA and MM!!



    If they release something to commemorate the 10th anniversary, I will definitely buy it.
  • Reply 13 of 55
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GrangerFX View Post


    You are reading this information the wrong way. The iPod Touch will begin to be phased out this year. It will likely only ship in a single low cost $200 8GB model (in white perhaps). The high end models starting at $300 will be replaced with a new pay as you go iPhone. The iPhone would be able to do everything an iPod Touch can currently do plus have access to cellular voice and/or data. Apple may even throw in some kind of free data service for app and iTunes downloads like the Kindle does for books. If they make the right deals, it could even come with limited free web browsing and iCloud syncing. Perhaps a low cost subscription to play online games. The possibilities are endless. This new iPhone would be in addition to the premium upgrade to the iPhone 4. It would have a thinner design and look a lot like the existing iPod Touch. Expect its camera to be lower resolution than the iPhone. This information is all speculation but it fits well with Apple's strategy and the other leaks.



    Could Apple just put a SIM slot, cellular & 3G chip into iPod Touch 4G, up rear camera to 3mp. and be done with it? Sell this at a tad more than current iPT4 and it will be a very good pre-paid iPhone.

    A4 or A5, it doesn't matter for a targeting market.

    And while we're at it I really love to see a 5.5" iPod Touch with A5. This could be the ultimate mobile game & GPS machine.
  • Reply 14 of 55
    jfanningjfanning Posts: 3,384member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    Apple Pay as you go iPhone will never materialize.



    Really? What about the ones that are on sale now?
  • Reply 15 of 55
    2GB iPod shuffle. $49



    4GB iPod nano. $99

    16GB iPod nano. $149



    8GB iPod touch. $199

    32GB iPod touch. $299

    64GB iPod touch. $399

    128GB iPod touch $499



    8GB iPod phone $349 (GSM no contract)



    I hope apple will drop iPod prices slightly to stimulate demand particularly at the $99 price point.

    Replace the classic with a 128GB touch.

    Introduce a no contract iPod phone.
  • Reply 16 of 55
    On second thought iPod phone is a stupid name.

    They should call it iPaid
  • Reply 17 of 55
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post


    Could Apple just put a SIM slot, cellular & 3G chip into iPod Touch 4G, up rear camera to 3mp. and be done with it? Sell this at a tad more than current iPT4 and it will be a very good pre-paid iPhone.

    A4 or A5, it doesn't matter for a targeting market.

    And while we're at it I really love to see a 5.5" iPod Touch with A5. This could be the ultimate mobile game & GPS machine.



    i'ii buy a 5.5 ipod touch !!!





    9
  • Reply 18 of 55
    jakevin.jakevin. Posts: 71member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post


    2GB iPod shuffle. $49



    4GB iPod nano. $99

    16GB iPod nano. $149



    8GB iPod touch. $199

    32GB iPod touch. $299

    64GB iPod touch. $399

    128GB iPod touch $499



    8GB iPod phone $349 (GSM no contract)



    I hope apple will drop iPod prices slightly to stimulate demand particularly at the $99 price point.

    Replace the classic with a 128GB touch.

    Introduce a no contract iPod phone.



    I doubt they'll have a 16GB Nano for $149... but I can definitely see the 128GB iTouch replacing the Classic, though I don't think a Shuffle is necessary at all.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post


    On second thought iPod phone is a stupid name.

    They should call it iPaid



    Or maybe they should call it the iPhone and then attached Nano/Lite/Mini/etc...





    I also hope the new iPod Touch and iPhone get a 4" screen...
  • Reply 19 of 55
    galleygalley Posts: 971member
    I'd like to see an iPod touch with 3G and GPS. I rarely make calls on my iPhone.
  • Reply 20 of 55
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jakevin. View Post


    I doubt they'll have a 16GB Nano for $149... but I can definitely see the 128GB iTouch replacing the Classic, though I don't think a Shuffle is necessary at all.



    Apple currently sells a 16GB nano for $179.

    That would only be a $30 price drop.
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