Tuesday, August 30, 2005

More Analysts on Apple's Upcoming Launch: Part I

Obviously a lot of analysts are sharing their thoughts on the upcoming Apple launch on September 7. Before one of their brethren at Ovum helped The New York Times to the scoop that Apple and Motorola would launch their music phone for the Cingular network, several analysts were guessing what would be announced in a San Francisco Chronicle article.

Ross Rubin at NPD Group remarked that component prices to build a video iPod have dropped so stated, "Right now, a lot of the challenges are around content acquisition. If Apple does launch a video iPod, it shows that they have been able to move forward with (Hollywood)."

Other analysts weren't so sure it would be a video product. Michael Gartenberg at Jupiter Research said, "I don't think we're going to see a video iPod from Apple. They're still adamant about the notion of portable video: lack of content, poor viewing experience and long download times."

Gartenberg thought a music phone was more likely and Wall Street analyst Gene Munster at Piper Jaffray concurred, who went on to predict that Apple would also "unveil, at Macworld in Paris on Sept. 20, new versions of the iPod Shuffle and perhaps a new iPod Mini that uses flash memory rather than a hard drive."

Munster wasn't sure Apple would go the video iPod route, but thought" selling movies online could make lots of business sense." Munster commented, "The amount of money they can make on it is potentially high."

After the music phone stories broke in the Times and Wall Street Journal, Investor's Business Daily reported on the possibility of an Apple/Moto music phone on Cingular. According to Roger Kay at Endpoint Technologies Associates, the move will be "a defensive play. The phone manufacturers are trying to do an end run on Apple, and this is a way for Apple to shore up its position," said.

Gene Munster at Piper Jaffray believed the phone and new iPods are "a lock," and mentioned an iPod redesign could be in the works. "It's a bit of a wild card, but they'll probably have a new look for the end-of-the-year shopping season," Munster said.