This week has already seen the spectacular rise and flameout of one Apple rumor -- JP Morgan Taiwan analyst Kevin Chang's idea that Apple would soon release a smaller, cheaper iPhone based on the iPod Nano. Though Chang's sources were anonymous and vague, Wall Street sent Apple's shares soaring on the analyst's news -- and all seemed merry until Chang's own colleagues at Morgan issued a note calling his idea pretty much bogus.
At the same time, another more plausible rumor has also been shimmering in the tech-Web hall of mirrors. This one says that Apple will soon release an iPod that looks substantially like the iPhone -- i.e., it'll feature a touch screen and run a version of Mac OS. The supporting data points, as compiled by Apple Insider, are these:
- The Taiwan publication DigiTimes, citing "sources at the upstream suppliers," claims that Apple has selected a company called Wintek to provide touch-screen displays for the new iPods, which DigiTimes says will be released in August.
- At an employee town hall meeting a couple weeks ago, Steve Jobs reportedly thanked the Mac OS developer team for its work on the iPhone and "some iPods we're working on."
- There's a stock-analyst seconding the idea: Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, offering no sources or evidence of his own, told investors in a note that "the iPhone reveals much of what the iPod will soon be.... Specifically, we expect Apple to release high capacity iPods based on OS X sometime during or before Macworld '08 in January."
- It's long overdue, too. The last significant change to the iPod lineup occurred almost two years ago, when Apple put out the video pod. Isn't it time they rejiggered it?
I'll say it's a better case than Chang's Nano Phone supposition. Plus, the device sounds nifty. A touch-screen iPod that runs Mac OS -- if they throw in Wi-Fi and price it under $400, could be killer. Come August, we'll see.