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by Mike Zazaian September 11, 2006 - 11:03am, 4 Comments

Full Screen iPod

Amidst the slew of rumors surrounding Steve Job’s release party tomorrow in San Francisco, notions of a full-screen video iPod have been lost in the mire of iTunes movie download rumors.

The idea of a full-screen video iPod began circulating several months ago, right around the time that Creative launched its iPod rival “Zen Vision” mp3 and personal video player. Not to be outdone, Apple, or perhaps some fanboys, put into circulation a number of photos of a new iPod pvp prototype, one whose face is entirely covered by an LCD screen. As months passed and no news came, hopes for the full-screen iPod were put out to pasture. That is, until recently.

It's ShowtimeWith iPod sales falling to a record low of 8.1 million last month, the fewest iPod sales since the product’s launch, Apple may be trying to re-invigorate its personal media dominance with the very same full-screen iPod Video. With an undisclosed docket for Apple’s “Showtime” event tomorrow, it seems a very likely and opportune time for Steve Jobs and cohorts to make such a move. Michael Arrington at TechCrunch speculates that the following three factors likely infer that a new iPod launch may be in the works for tomorrow’s event in San Francisco.

First, Apple announced new 24″ iMacs and upgrades to the Mac Mini line last week, clearing the deck for bigger and better news at the event this week.

Second, people have noticed that Apple did not advertise iPods in this weekend’s newspaper circulars, something they regularly do.

Third, a highly suspect picture of what might or might not be the new iPod is circulating on blogs. The picture was supposedly taken at the venue for the press event. It may or may not be real. And even if it is real it may be something other than a new iPod.

Suspicious iPod Photo

Above is the suspicious picture, in which you can make out what looks like perhaps a full-screen Video iPod beside the recently released 24-inch iMac. Granted, it’s a bit blurry and nothing guarantees that it’s even real, but if it is there’s a great chance that it could be the culprit everyone’s been looking for. The Stars seems to refer to the Showtime moniker that tomorrow’s event has been given, and a widescreen iPod would be a perfect release companion to tomorrow’s probable iTunes movie launch. Also, the touch-screen device patents that Apple filed in 2005 and were released to the public only last week might very well apply to a touch-screen enabled video iPod such as this. These might be lofty hopes, but then again, they might not be.

Regardless of what comes out of the event at the Yerba Buena Center tomorrow, it’s certainly going to make some ripples in the industry. The movie download service for iTunes seems the most likely candidate, but with the above goings-on it’s difficult to imagine that there’s nothing else in the works. Stay tuned until tomorrow at 10am Pacific, when the gala is set to launch. We’ll have live updates for you along the way.

[via TechCrunch]