iPod Spawns Family

Okay, the iPod is overpriced. Steve Jobs has heard our complaints and plans to release four new iPod units after the holidays, according to our secret sources at Apple – not to mention the guy who pumps Jobs’ gas.

The Rumor Mill

The Big iPod

First up will be a larger iPod designed around a 10 GB 2.5″ notebook hard drive, the same mechanism found in the iceBook. These drives retail at $200 less than the tiny 1.8″ drive used in the original iPod, which may be renamed the Little iPod or the Mini iPod.

The Big iPod will be a bit larger, will include USB (it’s slow, but this addresses one more concern about the first iPod), and will be available with other 9.5mm 2.5″ (20 GB, 30 GB) mechanisms for those who want or need even more capacity. We’re guessing Apple could sell the 10 GB Big iPod for $200-250.

The iMan

Here’s a brilliant idea for those with more money than sense: a hybrid CD player and iPod. The iMan will use the expensive 1.8″ hard drive in the current iPod, but will also function as a traditional portable CD player. It will include FireWire, USB, the ability to directly rip CDs to the iMan’s hard drive, and the ability to play MP3 CDs.

The iPod Server

This one is brilliant. The iPod Server is an MP3 server for your network. It will include FireWire, USB, and 10/100/1000 ethernet. It will run a customized version of Mac OS X Server, include a remote control, and support powered speakers. It can also be added to the AUX input of a traditional stereo.

The iPod Server will use a 3.5″ drive and include a CD-RW mechanism for ripping MP3s and burning your own CDs. Remote burning can be managed via iTunes with any Mac on the network.

That’s not all: The iPod Server will work as a file server and can run server applications such as Web and email services. The whole iPod Server will be about 7″ wide, 7″ deep, and 3″ tall.* Like the Mac itself, the iPod Server can act as a hub for the digital lifestyle.

The iPod Radio

Not enough for you? Apple has once again teamed up with Bose, this time to produce a combination iPod/Wave Radio. The iPod Radio will include a slim 3.5″ hard drive, a CD-RW mechanism, and all the electronics of the Wave Radio. It will also be able to play MP3s from CD.

Prices and availability for these hypothetical products are not known, although we hope to see them all at Macworld Expo in January.

– Anne Onymus

The Mac Mini such as this 2009 model is far from obsolete, but can be obtained for a reasonable price on the used market, making it an excellent and diverse choice as a media server.

* Wow, that’s almost frighteningly prescient! The Mac mini, introduced in January 2005, measured 6.5″ x 6.5″ x 2.0″. Apple used a 2.5″ hard drive to keep the size down – with a 3.5″ hard drive, it probably would have been 3.0″ tall. Apple offered a server version in Late 2009 with OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard – but no optical drive, so it can’t rip CDs without an external optical drive.

Short link: http://goo.gl/iR2WQq