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Apple to announce HDD-less iPods tomorrow?

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Apple will tomorrow unveil revamped iPods - the first without a hard drive - and iPod Nanos at an event to be held tomorrow, if the leaks and rumours of the last few weeks prove accurate.

Observers are expecting Apple to take the wraps off a new iPod with a design derived not from past versions of the player but from the iPhone. It appears to be the long-awaited widescreen video-centric iPod, with a big display, touchscreen control, Wi-Fi connectivity and Flash storage in place of a hard drive - as predicted in February this year.

Quite what that will do the player's storage capacity remains unclear at this stage. Certainly, even 32GB of Flash will cost rather more than a 30GB hard drive, for all Apple's billion-dollar deals with Flash suppliers.

It has also been claimed the new models will be powered by Mac OS X rather than the iPod's original, standalone operating system, and if the new iPod does indeed boast an iPhone-like user interface - as well as the handset's physical looks - that seems a certainty.

Indeed, we suspect many of the rumours surrounding the so-called 'iPhone Nano' actually point to this revampled iPod.

Alongside the new iPod, Apple will show off the third generation of its iPod Nano family, it has been claimed. This is expected to look like the current Nano, but stretched horizontally to accommodate a widescreen display for the video playback functionality also being added to the player. It shouldn't be so wide, however, that it doesn't fit in Apple's 'universal' dock, we trust.

Asian industry moles have also claimed Apple will update the iPod Shuffle, primarily by upping the screenless clip-on player's storage capacity while keeping the price where it is.

Apple's rivals certainly appear to be expecting such a move, having already announced products to go head-to-head with the widescreen, video-playing Nano that, it's claimed, will be unveiled tomorrow in California.

Creative last week took the wraps off its Flash-based compact media player, named simply the Zen, while fellow Apple rival Archos began selling its Archos 105, a device in the same category.

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