According to website THINKSECRET, a new version of the popular iPod Mini will be revealed at the Apple Expo in Paris on September 20. Apparently Apple has tried to add several new enhancements to the iPod Mini as well as reduce its overall physical size.
In addition to being smaller, the new iPod Mini will reportedly feature two major changes: a color screen and flash memory.
Why switch to flash memory?
Why would Apple move the iPod Mini from a regular hard drive storage medium to solid state flash media like the iPod Shuffle? There’s 3 major reasons for making this change: smaller sizes, lower power consumption and overall reliability.
Although flash based MP3 players may feature less storage capacity than their hard drive based counterparts, they are smaller, lighter and have no moving parts. This alone makes flash based MP3 players popular with joggers and people with active lifestyles. Dropping a flash based iPod Shuffle on the sidewalk while jogging, probably won’t result in a disaster. However, the same can’t be said for a normal iPod. Standard iPods like the U2 Special Edition and the iPod Photo are bigger and heavier because of their internal hard drives. Regular hard drives have moving parts and can be permanently damaged by even a stiff jolt, let alone a drop on solid concrete. Flash based players are generally just more reliable and less susceptible to damage because of their lack of moving parts. Also, because flash based MP3 players have no moving parts, they consume less power. There are no hard drives to spin with flash drives and you can expect a much higher battery life with these players.
Moving away from standard hard drive storage and over to smaller solid state flash media will shave 20 to 25 percent off the size of the unit. It’s rumored that the new Mini will be available in three models: 4GB, 6GB, and 8GB and will feature dual NAND flash memory chips in order to achieve these higher storage capacities. Adding more fuel to this rumor, Apple has made a supplier deal with Samsung to purchase their 4GB flash drives.
“To further the size savings, the new iPod Mini will sport a color screen that’s slightly smaller than the current version. Sources say the screen will measure 1.467 inches, down from 1.67 inches, but will feature a higher resolution: 176 x 132, up from 138 x 110, as Think Secret reported in February. It’s likely, but uncertain, that the iPod mini’s scroll wheel will also see a small reduction in size.
Pricing is not entirely clear at this point, but sources expect the new 4GB and 6GB models will remain priced at $199 and $249, respectively, while the 8GB iPod mini will cost as much as $299. At that price the 8GB iPod Mini would cost as much as a 20GB iPod, but Apple isn’t worried that equivalent pricing will affect sales of the iPod Mini as sales of the full-size iPods have lagged far behind iPod mini’s in recent quarters.”
If the rumors are true, it sounds like Apple will have another hit on their hands. How can they go wrong with an iPod Mini that’s smaller, more reliable, uses less power and has a color screen? Perhaps the price point will be too high, but only time will tell.