After the iPhone...
The iPhone obviously is not only Apple's biggest hit since the iPod (well, it _contains_ an iPod of course), but also one of the biggest consumer electronics releases this entire year. The frenzy dwarfs even the PS3 or Microsoft's Vista.But the _other_ iPod products are a bit long in the tooth right now.
The shuffle might see an update sooner or later, but I guess this entry-level product doesn't really _have_ to evolve. However: The iPod 5(.5)G has to – and so does the iPod nano.
While rumours of an iPod video (before the release of the iPod 5G) were often dismissed because of one statement of Steve Jobs saying video is for big screens only, this quite obviously has changed in recent years. The current iPod does video quite well, Apple is selling videos (at least in the USA) on iTunes, there's Apple TV and now the iPhone tops the iPod in playing videos, albeit with a meager 8 GB of memory.The "big", i.e. "normal" iPod has to go video now.
It basically needs to be an iPhone without the phone part. Maybe they'll also strip WiFi, Bluetooth, Safari and everything else besides the iPod part. But it needs the multitouch-screen, the screen's size and the improvements in user-interaction that go with that. Plus a 120 GB harddrive would suit it well – and will be availbable for the holiday season.The iPod nano as well?
While the iPod nano's current form factor is great for music, they theoretically could make a similarly small device with a 320*240 pixel screen that fills the face of the device, giving it the same multitouch-abilities as the iPod video and the iPhone. Price of such components could be an issue, though. My guess: The iPod nano will stay the one iPod retaining the iconic scroll-wheel. With 16 GB of space, of course. But I'll be glad to be wrong on that.What about the iPhone?
The iPhone itself is kind of in a strange spot. It does video well, but its meager memory confinements hold it back. However: A revision of the iPhone might just give it 32 and 48 GB of flash memory, putting it in the middle of nano and video iPod. (I don't see the full video iPod going flash memory just yet. The harddrives work and are far cheaper per GB.
Of course the iPhone revision might also bring a 3G data connection and a secondary frontside camera for iChat AV.
My fear, however, is that Apple will take its time for such a second generation iPhone. They don't want to kill the buzz for the first generation iPhone too quickly. If my worst nightmares come true, the 1st gen iPhone will also make it unaltered, basically, to Europe and Asia, where it quite possibly would be less of a success because of a lack of UMTS.
Apple, in my opinion, _has_ to take into account that Europe and Asia are quite different cellphone markets. We _do_ have 3G up and running successfully. Coverage is good, even in a very "mountainy" country like Switzerland – and even better in cities and flatter countries. Let's hope the 2nd generation iPhone will be the first to make it to market over here. They could, at the same time, bring a US version to the States as a holiday gift.