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Industry panel expects iPod video revolution

Even Apple's constituents are expecting a new video-enabled iPod by the end of the year.

Representatives with Microsoft and Texas Instruments recently said Apple will more than likely be one of two companies announcing portable video players before the end of January 2006; creating yet another new trend in multi-function gadgets.

"From a chip standpoint there is no reason that they couldn't release a video iPod," Doug Rasor, TI's vice president and strategic marketing manager said during the company's recent "Toy Tour" press junket in San Francisco.

Apple has widely been expected by insiders and enthusiasts to release a video-enabled iPod in September.

As has always been the case, Apple representatives politely declined to comment on the company's future product plans, especially when it comes to the iPod.

But that hasn't stopped the endless wash of .

"I think you will see that Apple has a tendency to do the thing that they say they won't do and then do it better than anyone else," said Chris Crotty, an analyst with iSuppli. "Wasn't it just last year that Steve Jobs said that Apple was not interested in a flash memory-based iPod? Now with the launch of iPod shuffle, Apple is expected to convert iPod mini line into flash."

Despite its public dismissal of a video iPod, Apple has left the iPod evolution door wide open ever since last year's release of the iPod photo with a color screen.

More recently, Apple started tinkering with selling video clips on its iTunes Music Store and included the mention of the word video in some .

Even Microsoft is predicting a video iPod by year's end. Erik Huggers, a senior director with Microsoft's Windows client division said Microsoft fully expects a video-enabled iPod and that Apple should expect Microsoft to rally its own troops in the next few months.

"By CES [the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January], you will hear more buzz on portable media from us and our partners," said Erik Huggers, a senior director, for the Windows client division at Microsoft.