Analysts Speculate on Next Week's Apple Announcement

American Technology Researchis Shaw Wu and Piper Jaffrayis Gene Munster have weighed in with their thoughts on what Apple will likely introduce at its media event next Wednesday.

Mr. Wu, who currently has a "Hold" rating on Appleis stock, expects Apple to introduce not only the long-awaited video iPod but also new Power Mac G5s with dual-core PowerPC processors and PCI Express "iMac, Mac mini, eMac, PowerBook and iBook are also likely to see speed increases," he wrote.

As for the new iPod, Mr. Wu noted: "Competitors Samsung, Creative Technology, iRiver and Archos have shipped portable video devices for some time, albeit without much success. We think a key area to watch is the price points AAPL will set for these new devices. If AAPL can charge under $400 and preferably $299, we believe it will sell well. At higher price points, we believe it may be difficult to drive high volume.

"From our understanding," he added, "the first set of video content available from the iTunes store will be music videos and video podcasts. At this point, we do not anticipate full-length feature movies but would not be surprised to see some test movies in the future as the studios are still figuring out their future business model vs. todayis movie theater and then DVD approach."

Finally, Mr. Wu wrote: "We are also picking up indications that AAPL could announce an optional external ivideo outi module that attaches to an iPod video, meaning one can output the video to a TV or external screen."

Piper Jaffray Weighs In

In contrast, Mr. Munster expects Apple to introduce either the video iPod or an iPod with a smaller form factor but a capacity larger than 10GB. "If a video iPod is introduced," he wrote, "we would expect new iTunes video content would also be incorporated in the announcement."

He agreed with Mr. Wu that the price for a video iPod would need to be less than $400. "That said," he wrote, "a first step into portable video would open the door for future product innovations as the company continues to branch out into more of a central player in digital and mobile convergence."

Mr. Munster also addressed what he doesnit expect to see next week, which includes a new Mac, "other than incremental changes to speed and memory," and an Apple-branded cell phone. He doesnit expect Apple to introduce new Macs before the company starts shipping computers with Intel processors in the middle of next year. As for the fabled iPhone, "we would not expect such a product to be launched for 12 or more months," he wrote.

Mr. Munster continues to maintain an "Outperform" rating on Appleis stock, with a $60 target price.

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