Apple's special announcement takes place on Wednesday night - and the rumour mill is predicting significant improvements across the company's iPod product range.

Some reports predict new iPod nanos will be slightly larger than the previous generation, will exploit flash memory and will be able to play video through a larger colour screen.

Additional reports claim the next-generation iPod will offer a 3.5-inch touchscreen, similar to the iPhone. The new devices will be equipped with WiFi, and will emulate the media experience of an iPhone, including touch-based navigation through content.

Predictably, a number of images have surfaced on the internet, claiming to be mock-ups of the new device. GearLive has the best of the bunch with an image of a shortened iPod nano utilising Apple's CoverFlow technology.

DigiTimes claims the new iPod with video will also use flash memory and a higher storage capacity. The devices will be manufactured for Apple by Inventec, the report claims.

The iPod shuffle will also be re-vamped, the report claims, gaining higher storage capacity but reaching market at the same price.

A Washington Post report claims that Apple's retail channels have not received new stocks of iPods for the past few weeks - a strong sign that the company is trying to shift stock in hand to make way for new models.

However, iPods remain available through Apple's UK online store and also through the UK website for giant online retailer, Amazon.

Another current rumour claims Apple will make ringtones available for sale through iTunes, while some speculation has begun claiming the company may even launch a subscription service. Speculation that the company will release music from The Beatles through iTunes also prevails, with some claims of a special edition Yellow Submarine iPod.

PDA Live reports that Apple will also introduce iTunes kiosks across the US. These will be situated at retail outlets across the country. Customers will be able to plug their iPod or iPhone into the kiosk and purchase content from iTunes, when they next sync with their home computer, that content will be synced into their library.

These touchscreen machines will reportedly accept credit cards and iTunes gift cards "and will support all iPod models," the report says.

Macworld will be reporting directly from the event on Wed 5 September and will be the first to bring you the specific details as they are announced.