Chicago (IL) – The iPhone may not be the only wireless music player device Apple will be releasing this year. The company is planning to launch a Wi-Fi iPod later this year as well, DigiTimes reports.There were no further details on the player available, besides the fact that Universal Scientific Industrial (USI) will provide the Wi-Fi modules and Foxconn will assemble the player. According to DigiTimes, USI will be shipping the Wi-Fi component this month, while Foxconn may be able to ship the Wi-Fi iPod in the third quarter of this year.
Following Microsoft with the integration of a Wi-Fi may not be so much of a technology challenge but will require a well thought out business strategy how to take advantage of wireless connectivity: Microsoft was first to offer this feature but enabled only limited sharing of music between different Zune devices. Copyright issues crippled the Zune’s Wi-Fi functionality and largely reduced this feature to a marketing phrase.
On a technology side, the integration of a Wi-Fi module will require Apple to either increase the battery capacity of the iPod – or reduce overall power consumption in order to maintain the battery life iPod users have become used to. Apple has been rumored for some time to transition its video iPods to flash memory and we wouldn’t be too surprised if the company dropped the 1.8” hard drive models in favor of 32 GB and 64 GB flash iPods when introducing the Wi-Fi feature.
The big question will be how Apple will be taking advantage of a Wi-Fi feature. At this time, a simple wireless data transfer appears to be much more likely than music sharing, especially if Apple is offering DRM-free music through its iTunes music store.
DigiTimes said that Microsoft and Apple will not be the only companies to offer Wi-Fi music players. Sandisk already showcased a Wi-Fi enabled device at the most recent CES, while sources indicated that Samsung and Sony are currently preparing the launch of wireless MP3 players.