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Monday, July 10, 2006, 08:00 am PT (11:00 am ET)

Analyst offers update on iPod nano delays

Apple Computer continues to face transition issues with its next-generation iPod nano digital music player due to architectural changes and may not be ready introduce the device until October, according to one Wall Street analyst.

In a research note released to clients on Monday morning, American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu maintained his stance that the new iPod nano — which he has dubbed the "mini video iPod" — will miss the Street's consensus view of a July or August introduction.

"We continue to believe that the new iPod nano (aka mini vPod) refreshes are facing transition issues due to an architecture move to an SoC vs. its present 3-chip solution," Wu wrote. "In terms of timing, we continue to believe calendar Q4 is most likely, specifically October and at the earliest, late Q3, meaning the second half of September."

The analyst has also picked up leads independent of AppleInsider, which suggest that Apple will revert back to metal enclosures with the next-generation nano.

"An interesting data point we have picked up on the new nanos is a new magnesium-based casing," he said. "We believe this new casing will improve scratch-resistance, durability, and help lower Apple's support and warranty costs."

Meanwhile, Wu speculates that Apple chief executive Steve Jobs is likely to focus his upcoming World Wide Developers Conference keynote exclusively on the Mac, refraining from any iPod related announcements.

Specifically, the analyst expects Jobs to announced that Apple's last two Mac product lines — Pro desktops and servers — will be making the move to Intel processors.

"In addition, we anticipate a preview on Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, its next-generation operating system that will one up Microsoft Vista," he wrote. "With respect to Steve Jobs' track record and element of surprise, we are prepared to see something that no one anticipated."

Wu maintains a "Buy" rating on Apple shares with a price target of $75.