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Thursday, May 13, 2004, 11:00 am PT (02:00 pm ET)

Source describes rumored video capabilities of future iPod

Although Apple's 4th generation iPod exists as nothing more than rumor, sources say the new media player is due sometime this year with added video capabilities.

While vouching for the majority of the details published in a previous report, one source cites a potential misunderstanding of the new iPod's video feature.

According to the source, who has reportedly toyed with a 4th generation prototype, the player may not sport a video output jack per se, but rather a greatly advanced dock connector. The feature is said to greatly utilize a much improved "Home on iPod" Mac OS X software technology, which is still under development by the iPod maker.

"It works a bit like the ... voice recording feature," the source said. "When a user connects one end of the video-cable into the iPod's new dock connector and the other end into the TV, it will switch the iPod into video mode."

Once the iPod has been connected to a TV, the player will somehow function in firewire hard disk mode, sources said. Users will then have be able to display video clips located in the iPod's 'movies' directory — such as movie trailers and personal iMovie creations — on the television screen. Likewise, sources said that the new player, along with its rumored color screen, will also allow users manage or preview photos on the iPod display or TV screen.

The prototype 4th-generation iPod described by sources will reportedly obtain its media content via the unreleased Home on iPod technology. Originally planned for inclusion in Mac OS X 10.3 Panther, but axed at the last minute, the Home on iPod feature allows users to store their home directory — files, folders and apps — on an iPod (or any FireWire hard drive) and take it with them wherever they go. Users could then connect the iPod to any Macintosh supporting the Home on iPod feature, and login to their home directory.

A report published several months ago indicated that Apple continues to develop and fine-tune the Home on iPod technology for a release in an upcoming version of Mac OS X. Sources said that the company is currently working on a hefty update to Mac OS X 10.3 Panther, labeled Mac OS X 10.3.5, but could not confirm that the feature would be included.

MacPlus, in an article published yesterday, also alluded to the supposed video capabilities of an upcoming iPod revision.

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