News.com.au reported Tuesday that an Apple exec has publicly reiterated that Apple has no plans to introduce a video-capable iPod any time soon. iPod product manager Stan Ng said in an interview with the Australian news outlet that there are legal, technical, and practical issues that stand as barriers to such a product for Apple.
From a legal standpoint, Mr. Ng told News.com.au that "there is no legal way today of taking a DVD and making it viewable on a portable device."
While there are portable video players based on a Microsoftis Portable Media Center operating system -- such as Creativeis Zen Portable Media Center (PCWorld review)-- those devices are intended to play content already in Windows Media format (as well as MP3 and JPEG files).
Many content providers already offer content in Windows Media format, including digital movie rental house CinemaNow, Major League Baseball, and a variety of other content providers allied with Microsoft.
Ripping a DVD, however, is a grey area of the law. Though Apple eventually launched the iTunes Music Store for online music downloads, most of the music carried around on the more than 10 million iPods on the market are from other sources, such as people people ripping their own CDs to their Macs and PCs.
Mr. Ngis comments about the legality of ripping a DVD addresses this later aspect of making a video iPod appeal to consumers. By comparison, Microsoftis designs for the Portable Media Center are intended to promote the use of Windows Media format content.
Mr. Ng also noted that there are technical issues with being able to download movies, which are many times the size of a song file, and that "[there is] no infrastructure for acquiring that content."
On the more practical side, Mr. Ng echoed public statements from Apple CEO Steve Jobs in the past about the iPod being "about the music, stupid."
"For a player with a 3 1/2-inch screen, you have to wonder if it would be worthwhile," said Mr. Ng. "You canit watch video while youire jogging or mountain biking."
There is more information on the subject in the News.com.au article, including comments about Appleis new iPod shuffle.