The iPod + iPhone Year in Review 2007 | iLounge Article

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The iPod + iPhone Year in Review 2007

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In sum, 2007 will be remembered as a strong year for Apple: the company’s ability to popularize the iPhone, radically improve the iPod nano with video and game functionality, and release the first Wi-Fi iPod in the iPod touch are all major milestones. Sales of the iPod family have been stronger than ever before, and the iPhone looks set to continue that trend as its own product family. Apple’s misses, largely in the video department, are comparatively small, but in the coming months, it may be forced to remedy its inability to get the right features and pricing for Apple TV, its loss of a major video content provider in NBC, and its failure to substantially grow its iTunes Store movie offerings either in the United States or internationally.

What is Apple planning for 2008? No one outside the company knows for sure, but here’s what our crystal ball is showing at the moment:

3G iPhone: Apple’s partner AT&T unceremoniously announced that the “3G” (read: higher-speed network) version of the iPhone was coming in 2008, confirming earlier implications from Apple CEO Steve Jobs that the only stumbling block in development was a more power-efficient wireless chipset. It won’t look just like today’s iPhones, and it will have more than just 3G going for it, but it’ll be similar in functionality and offered in more countries than the current model. GPS could be a killer addition.

iPhone nano: We’re still expecting a cheaper, flashier-bodied iPhone with fewer features to appear before the 3G iPhone in 2008.

Apple TV 2: Fueled by high-definition content, direct wireless video downloads, and time- or play-limited rentals, we think Apple will release a sequel of sorts to the current Apple TV in early 2008; it could take the form of a price-dropped model like the current one, or a new design with superior functionality. Obviously, we—like everyone else—wish that Apple would get into the DVR business with Apple TV 2, or find a way to integrate the current feature set with either an old or new optical disk player, but it’s unclear whether Apple will so radically rethink the prior product, or just keep on trying the 2007 formula with small tweaks.

New iPods: Need the iPod shuffle exist in a world where nanos are cheap, powerful, and popular? We ask that question every year and Apple keeps making shuffles, so we’ll have to see whether the screenless iPod lives on in 2008 or finally succumbs. Our feeling is that Apple is working on better, higher-capacity iPod touches and smaller touch-screen nanos with an eye towards sharing those smaller screens with the lower-end iPhones, but the company will continue to keep the old designs around as long as they don’t feel threatened by competitors.

Something Else: Rumors have suggested for some time that Apple plans other major product releases for the near future—cameras, tablet-style iPod/MacBook hybrid devices, and more sophisticated in-car or in-plane integration systems could be forthcoming. We’d rate the latter two possibilities as unlikely for 2008, but OS X-based mini-computers strike us as inevitable—the only question is whether they’ll tie into the iPod-iPhone-iTunes ecosystem, or something new?

What do you think? How did the iPod, iPhone, Apple TV, and iTunes do in 2007? Is there something you’re looking forward to in 2008? Add your comments, thoughts, and opinions below!

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