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Wolfson snub points to late-summer iPod launch

Apple has apparently decided to leave Wolfson's chips out of the next versions of the iPod Nano and iPod Touch, which are expected in the third quarter.

Expect to see new iPods arrive around the usual time later this year, say around September or so.

A new iPod Touch is expected to arrive in the third quarter. CNET Networks

Wolfson, a high-end audio chipmaker, notified shareholders Thursday that it "has not been selected by a major Tier 1 customer for inclusion in the next generation of its portable media players, expected to be launched during the third quarter of 2008." Sources told Reuters that "major Tier 1 customer" was Apple, and that the snub came from new versions of the iPod Nano and iPod Touch.

Apple has held a third-quarter iPod event for the last three years, introducing the iPod Nano in September 2005, a revamped iPod Nano in September 2006, and the iPod Touch in September 2007. I've learned not to take vacations in September. The timing allows the company to get the new models out and about just as the holiday season kicks into full gear; Apple tends to sell about twice as many iPods in the fourth quarter as it does in any other single quarter.

It's not clear what direction Apple might be taking with the iPod Nano and iPod Touch as a result of the decision to drop Wolfson. Wolfson said it's not losing Apple as a customer entirely, saying it maintains a relationship with "high growth" products.

If I were a betting man, I'd guess that a third-quarter iPod event will also bring us the 3G iPhone.