Apple may this year begin to field an all-flash memory range of iPods, dropping hard drives from the higher-capacity models.

A report on AppleInsider cites Prudential Equity Group analyst Jesse Tortora, who believes Apple will start the transition to an all-flash iPod range toward the end of the year.

He also believe such a move will enable Apple to offer a wider range of models and to deliver vastly improved battery life in its range of media players.

"Our checks indicate that Apple is considering cancelling its next generation HDD-based iPod design, with the form factor refresh involving a move to NAND flash memory," he wrote.

The analyst also predicted that future iPod models would offer a touch-enabled screen, similar to that used in the iPhone. He also anticipates WiFi and GPS will be added to the devices.

The addition of GPS would transform iPods into essential car accessories, he wrote.