Not a lot had circulated about the iPod in 2006 until just recently. Here's what's happened so far this year:
- No new iPods at Macworld, but new firmware that enables FM radio with an accessory is launched.
- iTunes is updated to 6.0.2 and adds the MiniStore, which offers suggestions based on your music collection. Apple later discloses that the feature does not collect any information from the users.
- Apple's iTunes Music Store starts to bulk up in the video department. Showtime is the latest network to offer shows for download for use on the computer or the 5G iPod.
- Apple quietly announces the $149 1GB iPod Nano yesterday.
- The company also cuts prices for the iPod Shuffle (the 512MB is now $69, and the 1GB is now $99). Today, iPods are accessible by more people than ever.
- The Billion Song Countdown graphic is at 958,234,896 as I type. Apple is giving away a 4GB iPod Nano, plus free songs to the user who downloads every 100,000th song up to 1 billion (that's about 417 Nanos).
- According to Think Secret, the planned mid-Manhattan Apple Store will be the first 24/7 store, and it will feature an iPod "bar."
- Now, hardcore rumors about a 6G iPod that is much more videocentric than the 5G version have begun. According to online buzz, the vPod will feature a larger 3.5-inch screen that's touch sensitive. A virtual Click Wheel will appear onscreen when the user touches it. While Think Secret has miscalculated before, some of us here at CNET believe Apple will launch an iPod with a bigger screen and better battery life (we guess late March/early April). With portable video gaining major momentum (thanks to a growing iTunes catalog, Google Video, Starz, BitTorrent, and others), it doesn't take a wizard to figure out that a screen-heavy iPod that can actually play through a feature-length movie is around the corner--along with the feature-length movies themselves.