Apple Expected to Unveil Video iPod

REDMOND, Wash. — Apple Computer has reportedly started production of a new version of its iPod digital music player that will be capable of playing videos. The company is expected to announce the upcoming launch at a press conference next week.

Apple on Tuesday emailed invitations for the press conference with the cryptic message, "One more thing …," printed over a silhouetted image of theater curtains.

The phrase is a favorite of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who often closes meetings and keynote speeches by saying, “Oh, and one more thing,” then dropping major bombshells such as product announcements or technology breakthroughs.

Analysts such as Charles Wolf of securities firm Needham & Co. say that rumors of the video-enabled iPod have been floating around Apple’s offices, as well as those of technology publications, for months, and the timing seems perfect for an announcement.

"By process of deduction, that's what it has to be," Wolf said.

Jefferies & Co. analyst Adam Benjamin also claimed to have insider information that Apple began production last month on the device, using chips made by PortalPlayer, which makes the brains of iPods.

AppleInsider, a blog dedicated to news about the company, added that "reliable sources” who claim to have seen the new iPod describe it as being similar to Apple's 60 GB iPod photo player, but several millimeters thinner and with a larger, higher-resolution color display that extends further down the face of the device.

Apple, which previously updated the "Music Video" section of its iTunes download service on a regular basis, stopped doing so last month, leading to speculation regarding the reason for the sudden drop in content.

Many analysts now believe the company may be planning a major content upload to help launch the video iPod.

Not all are convinced, however. Tim Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies, cautioned, "All the signs point to a video iPod. But you've got to remember, the thing with Apple is, our guesses are almost always wrong."

Apple's music iPod is the best-selling digital music device, owning 74 percent of the market with 27 million units sold.

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