In contrast to the horned one, Mr. Gruber has come down in favor of the rumors of OS X-ey (pronounced "OS sexy") iPod coming this fall and poo-poos concerns over cannibalizing iPhone sales.
The reason some people are skeptical about Apple introducing OS X-based iPods this year is that the question about cannibalizing sales works both ways: an iPhone-ish OS X-based iPod would surely have some detrimental effect on iPhone sales. AT&T might care about that, but why would Apple?
Because they report the sales figures separately.
As a new product line, the iPhone's sales matter (see below). When Apple reports iPod sales, it reports them all together, so in Gruber's example of the nano replacing the mini, the effect from the perspective of reporting sales was simply to cause the aggregate number to go up.
If Apple shows gigantic iPhone sales that drop off dramatically, expect howls of "I told you so!" from the usual collection of clowns, but also some serious questions from serious analysts wondering if that toe Apple's dipping in the cell phone market is finding the water a little cold.
Still, Gruber may be right. Last year's iPod announcements were solid but not earth-shattering and any iPod announcements this fall that don't include the OS X/Multitouch interface are going to be met with disappointment.
The biggest question, as I see it, is whether Apple plans to introduce iPods that are more or less just the iPod app from the iPhone (i.e. just music and video players), or iPods that are everything but phones, with Wi-Fi networking for email, web, and more.
If any iPhone-inspired iPods hit the streets this fall, the Macalope's money is on the "just the iPod" option.