iPod Pricing: Will 2009 Be The $199 Year For iPod touch?

A simple question for readers who follow iPod pricing details like we do: will this be the year when the iPod touch becomes a $199 device? Or will Apple maintain 2008 pricing while boosting storage capacities?

iLounge’s editors have been discussing two likely pricing scenarios for the iPod touch family in light of recent economic and competitive trends; they go something like this:

(A) Due in part to the September 15 release of Microsoft’s touchscreen Zune HD at $219 (16GB) and $289 (32GB) prices, and in part to global economic conditions, Apple decides to completely wreck its competitor’s latest launch by using pricing that will guarantee its strongest holiday quarter ever. The third-generation iPod touch is announced in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities starting at $199, then graduating to $249 and $299. For the first time, a 128GB model is introduced at $349, putting the last nail in the coffin of the 120GB iPod classic, which is unceremoniously discontinued. The iPod nano drops to $99 and $149 prices, and the iPod shuffle drops to $49 or $59.

(B) Apple opts to preserve $229 to $399 pricing for the iPod touch, and releases three models: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. The company operates under the presumption that Microsoft’s Zune will remain essentially non-competitive regardless of any price advantage it maintains. iPod shuffle, nano, and classic models remain in their past configurations with feature tweaks at or near current pricing levels.

Which do you think is likely to happen? Or something else? We’d like to hear your thoughts in the lead-up to tomorrow’s Rock and Roll event in San Francisco.

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