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>> The guessing game is almost over. On Tuesday, we'll finally get a look at what Apple has in store for us. We think they're new iPods, but we don't know. Apple just says, "Let's rock." Welcome to the CNET News Daily Debrief. I'm Charlie Cooper, here with my colleague, Tom Krazit, who -- word has it he's a classic rocker, not a contemporary rocker. We don't know, but unless 99.9 percent of the blogging and tech journalistic business is wrong, we are talking about an iPod refresh. What's your guesstimate of what's likely coming down the pike?
>> Well, the most likely hint is probably within Apple's invitation itself, which had an iPod screen, of course, saying let's rock, as you implied. So, I mean, you know, that's pretty clear in and of itself. And, I mean this will be the fourth year in a row where Apple has held a September iPod event, if things do come true on Tuesday. The reason they do this in September is because they want to get out ahead of the holiday season, where they sell --you know, they're selling something like 22, 23 million iPods in the fourth calendar quarter of the year. So they want to make sure that the new models are out, that the bugs are ironed out. They can build up the distribution and supply chain kind of things. And really get these things ready for the holiday shopping season.
>> And make sure they're in the hands of retailers.
>> Badly kept secret, you reported that in March a company that -- audio chip maker, Wolfson, I think -- told its shareholders they had been locked out of a contract -- lost a contract to a major tier one supplier, Next Generation Media Player, which supposedly was planning a third quarter loss. Surprise, surprise. Guess who?
>> Yeah. I mean, you know, there aren't many tier one music player companies anyway, you know? I mean Apple's got something like 70 percent, I believe, of the music player -- you know, depending on how you define it -- about 70 percent of that market. So yeah. I mean we're pretty confident on this one.
>> What about a redesign, possibly, of the Nano? Is that something that's in the cards?
>> It sounds like that's going to be the centerpiece, really, of the announcement. I mean when they redesigned the iPod Nano last year, the thinking was that they wanted a video-enabled screen. I mean if you remember the old iPod Nano, it was a really tiny screen. And there's no way you'd want to watch anything longer than a, you know, 10, 15 clip of video on that. So what they did is they redesigned the iPod Nano to accommodate video. But in order to do that, they sort of had to squeeze it down into this short, squat, fat Nano, people call it. And you know, it was not a real critically acclaimed design at the time. But it did give Apple the ability to make the iPod Nano into a video player.
>> And knowing Steve Jobs, aesthetically pleasing is top on the list.
>> Well, you know -- I mean especially with the Nano. You know, people are buying the Nano because it's a stylish device. You know, it's not the highest capacity one. It doesn't have the best screen. It doesn't have, you know, the super small nature of the shuffle. You're buying it because it looks cool, so you want it to look cool.
>> Should we expect a refresh of iTunes?
>> Yeah. That's been one persistent rumor. I mean, you know, it's going to be interesting to see how they address certain things like iTunes and certain things like the iPhone two dot oh software. I mean a lot of the problems that people have been experiencing with their iPhones appear to be in some way related to the latest version of iTunes because iTunes now is sort of the gateway for iPhone and iPod Touch applications. It's got the App Store. It's got -- you know, that's how you get these things onto your iPhone. And it seems like a lot of the problems that people have been experiencing can be tied in some way to iTunes.
>> When it comes to Apple, the bar has been raised substantially, in part because of Steve Jobs, in part because, well, it's an iconic company. Silicon Valley. For them to at least meet, or beat, expectations, what does Apple need to do?
>> Well you know, this is one of those things where they've created this monster, you know? This notion that they are gonna knock the ball out of the park every time. They can't do that. There's no way they can hope to hit a homerun every time with these product launches, you know? And -- but the trouble is is that their investors and people like us in the media, and their customers to a certain degree, expect something dazzling every time out. I don't think we're gonna see anything dazzling on Tuesday. I mean we are gonna see, I think -- you know, a pretty substantial overhaul of what is really their most widely used product. There's more people -- the iPod means Apple to more people around the world than any other product, than the Mac, than the iPhone, than Mobile Me, whatever. I mean the iPod is -- you know, they're selling 30 million of these a year.
>> Definitely not Mobile Me.
>> I think the point is is that Apple has to, you know, make sure that it continues to deliver products that work. You know, we've seen this summer that -- with the buggy iPhone release and the Mobile Me launch -- you know, when things don't work correctly, you know, Apple's just like any other company.
>> Any chance that Steve Jobs will not make an appearance next week?
>> I would be shocked if Steve Jobs does not make an appearance. And if he does not make an appearance, then you can expect that the health rumors that were also a bit -- you know, circulating this summer will go into overdrive. But I mean, you know, I think the chances of him not appearing are infinitesimally small.
>> Good stuff. And Tom, on Monday morning we'll have an in-depth preview of what Apple is likely to come out with. Check that on out. It'll be up on our site bright and early Monday. On behalf of Tom Krazit, I'm Charlie Cooper.
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