New iPod Could be Near Afterall

A week ago, we would joke around the CrunchGear lunch mess, “What’s 16:9, touchscreen, and probably not going to be announced September 12th by Apple?” The answer was, of course, the “true” Video iPod. The one with the touch-screen goodness and virtual click-wheelization. Now it’s looking like we might have egg on our collective face.

Though people have been rumoring this stakes-raising iPod since the 5G was intoduced last year, those rumors have always been wrong. But with Apple rolling out the new iMac and Mac Mini upgrades last week ahead of the September 12th event, and the “Showtime” theme of Tuesday’s special annoucement, there’s room for more than just a movie store. Apple has traditionally coulped a bigger annoucement with “One more thing…”, a surprise posing as an afterthought from Steve’s brain that sends us to work. The next “One more thing…” could actually, really, truly, for reals, be this new Video iPod, and there are a few reasons why.

Among the now progressive DAP market, the 5th gen iPod has become elderly. Generally, we get a new iPod every year, with an update at about the six-to-eight-month mark. The current fifth-gen iPod has remained untouched. The specs and price haven’t changed since day one. At the very least, look for an update to this fine white (or black) Apple on Tuesday.

According to tipsters, national retailers of gadgets like Best Buy and Circuit City ran this weekend’s full-color ad inserts for newspapers sans iPods. Usually, you can find Apple’s MP3 players prominently featured, on sale or not. The lack of these devices could be evidence of greater things soon-to-come.

But the real meat and potatoes comes from a photo making the rounds of the Apple rumor circuit, posted above. It shows a supposed banner being hoisted this weekend for Tuesday’s Apple event. It shows an iMac, the word “the stars”, and what appears to be a wide-screen iPod-like device. Could this be the “true” Video iPod? Or clever Photoshoppery? Or perhaps an interface for the set-top streaming-video box we’ve been hearing about? We’ll find out Tuesday, but we’re still excited. My money is on this being a fake, but I’m the Scully to the other iPod rumor sites’s Mulder.

Keep it tuned here on Tuesday to get the real skinny, as we’ve got a man on the inside, and you know we have to keep you guys ready. Given the evidence above, what do you think is going on? We’d like to know!

Banner for September 12th Event? []

iPods iNvisible iN Ads? [Gizmodo]