Monday, September 8, 2008

What to Look For at Apple's "Let's Rock" Event

We are twenty-two hours away from Steve Jobs giving us some new iPod goodness.  That much we know.  How does this impact mobile warriors?  Honestly, analysts point to lower entry prices across the board as well as some new services like iTunes 8.

So, if you're in the market for an iPod, you may want to pay attention.  Also, we'll want to pay attention to how Jobs look tomorrow.  I've been hesitant to bring this up but you'll read a lot about it tomorrow.  Recall that back during the iPhone 3G intro at the WWDC, Jobs looked ill and thin.  So, yes, the man's health impacts mobile and wireless markets greatly whether we like or dislike the man.

What to expect tomorrow?

  • iPod refresh - the banners for the event are already up.  Notice the iPod in the guy's hand.  It's the elongated iPod Nano.  Evidence?  Yes.  Lower price point?  Maybe.  
  • iPod Touch - definitely.  I'm hoping for longer battery life but no where on the Internet is that evident.  It would definitely be something to make the iPod Touch a bit different from the iPhone.
  • iPod Classic.  With Zune now at $250 for 120GB, Apple will have to respond.
  • Lower price points?  we may see that as well.  During the last financial conference, Apple's CFO told analysts to expect lower margins going forward.  Lots of folks are expect lower Mac prices.  Maybe.  Maybe iPods as well.
  • The infamous new product transition Apple's CFO mentioned at the same financial call.  Folks.  I'm not buying this.  Macworld 2009 is when we'll see something if there is something new to show.  iTunes 8, new refreshed Macs, new iPods, and iLife are also considered new products.  
  • Expect to be wowed by Jobs with sales figures.  I'm especially interested in app store data.  To me, it's more important to mobile warriors and tells us how iPhone users are taking up the apps.
  • It's September.  Look for new iPhone update to 2.1.  
Those are things we'll like to see tomorrow.  Here are some iffy stuff that speculations are strong but not enough for us to say with any certainty.
  • iTunes-iPod subscription.  Wired believes, as we do that something is afoot with iTunes.  They think it's  subscription.  Wired believes this new music service is the "product transition" Apple said.  
  • Apple TV product and services.  This is very likely.  It's been a year since the last Apple TV update.  I think it's about time Apple TV's hobby status is elevated to a real product with more features.  This event is certainly the venue to do an Apple TV update.  We're not going to see an special event later this year for a "hobby" product.  So an Apple TV announcement has just as much chance of seeing the light of day as a music subscription service.
Not going to see the following:
  • New Macs.  No new iPhones.  
  • Mac tablets or iTablets.
  • ebook reader
  • Mystery product causing Apple to lower operating margins.
So, there you have it.  Of course, Onxo would love to be wrong and see something special from Apple.  So come back tomorrow for our analysis on whether Apple's iPod refresh affects mobility.

Note:  Looks like Zune is done for the year unless Microsoft will be schedule a special event of their own with their Zune offerings.  Previously, we believed Microsoft should be watched this fall when all eyes are on Apple, Blackberry, and Google.  We already know some of what new Zunes we're getting but we're just waiting for final words from Microsoft about whether they're done for the year or not.

Still, we're glad Zune is making Apple honest with the iPod and its mobile platform.  Competition is something we encourage.  And everyone wins from it.

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