Apple seems set to launch a "true" video iPod, possibly with Bluetooth or wireless connectivity, by June 2006, an analyst announced last night.
American Technology analyst Shaw Wu continues to see Apple as the most well-positioned company, likely to exceed market growth rates.
Wu also predicts that a new high-end iPod will be revealed soon, warning that it could ship "as early as the June quarter".
He said: "Our checks indicate that Apple has been working on a widescreen vPod (we believe now likely with Bluetooth headphone capability). Timing is not certain to us but we believe this product could be ready as early as the June quarter."
iPod nano due product refresh
iPod nano sales seem to have declined, according to the analyst. He observed the product, "appears to be experiencing the greatest seasonal decline within the iPod family, with the exception being decent sales of the new low-end 1GB model".
"We believe Apple may need to increase storage capacities and/or cut prices to re-generate interest. Declining prices in flash memory and additional capacity coming onboard should help Apple facilitate these moves," he predicted.
Macs in the positive too
Wu recommends investors buy Apple stock, citing strong iMac sales, improved supply of MacBook Pros and Apple's recent move to put its 60GB iPod on its "At Risk" list.
"Demand for MacBook Pro continues to greatly outstrip supply, but we view the dramatically improved lead times as a positive," he said.
"We believe Apple is benefiting from improved Intel mobile chip set availability caused by a broader notebook PC surplus," he added.
Apple is also likely to be unaffected by the late shipping of Windows Vista, which will offer the company a chance to reap sales over Christmas, while PC makers depending on Microsoft must expect softer-than-anticipated sales for the rest of 2006.
Mac mini sales remain "lukewarm", he observed. "We are picking up that its higher price points despite more features, including faster processors and remote control, are causing some hesitation among potential buyers," he said.
The analyst expects Apple will reach $4.43 billion in revenue in its current quarter.
"We remain firm believers that the move to digital entertainment is a multi-year trend and that Apple is the best-positioned company to capitalise with its unique and defendable iPod and iTunes and Mac franchises," he concluded.