More indications of Apple iPod refresh September 9

The buzz from analysts who have begun to speak out about what they expect to see during an Apple event that for now has only been rumored, lends new credence to the theory that iPods could be revamped as soon as 9/9.

JupiterResearch analyst Mark Mulligan says he would like to see Apple start to offer pre-loaded content, and like many analysts, continued to beat the drum for an iTunes subscription offering.

"Don't just play the Rhapsody/Napster game and offer portable rentals for ten dollars a month," Mulligan argued. Instead, the service should be inexpensive and allow for permanent downloads within the offering.

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He also suggested some unique possibilities, such as an option for a pay-as-you-go subscription that could last for short periods, and including music videos within the mix as well.

Over the weekend, Digg founder Kevin Rose claimed on the This Week in Tech podcast Monday that he had been informed that Apple is preparing to refresh its music players for the holidays.

On Saturday, Rose gave the same prediction for his blog, pointing to a revamp to the entire iPod line. Specifically, the nano would see the biggest change: Its shape would revert to something similar to the iPod Minis, but with a significantly larger screen.

Another aggressive move would be "significant" price drops in order to put the iPod line closer to the $199 iPhone 3G. Software updates would arrive for the iPod touch, and the company is said be ready to ship the 2.1 update for the iPhone soon afterward.

Rose's statements also bolster claims by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster early this month, who said in a research note that he expected a refresh to the iPod line along with a possible update to its MacBook line. As if to confirm Rose's predictions, more leaks have appeared on Alibaba and iDealsChina, where silicone cases that match the shape of Rose's image of the iPod are being sold, or are about to be sold.

The Digg founder's track record in predicting Apple's future moves has been mixed. While he has often broken information early, such as some early details surrounding the iPhone, he hasn't always been 100% accurate.

Along with the hardware, Apple would push the next major 8.0 update to iTunes. It would include several updates, one of which would apparently scan your music and recommend content, similar to the "Just for You" feature of the iTunes Music Store.

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