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'Everything but the Shuffle'

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Apple may soon add video-capture capability to its ubiquitous iPods, if rumors that surfaced Monday are to be believed.

According to a report from TechCrunch, "sources in Asia" say that Apple has placed a "massive" order for camera modules, an order so large that "Everything but the Shuffle may have a camera in it soon."

Of course, "camera" may mean either a still or video camera, but the addition of video could incite an upgrade-buying cycle that would reinvigorate sales of the iPod line, which many observers have opined is reaching a saturation point.

And if Apple makes it as easy for Wi-Fi equipped iPod owners as it is for iPhone 3GS users to trim, compress, and email videos or upload them to YouTube or MobileMe, a boatload of bulky personal videos are destined to wend their way over the internet.

But there appears to be no turning back on video crowding the intertubes. During a recent conference call explaining his company's new consumer-level strategy, Cisco SVP Ned Hooper said that "In three years time our carriers estimate that about 90 per cent of the traffic flowing through their infrastructure will be video."

Hooper also cited a company study that predicts that two-thirds of a zettabyte of data will cross the global network in 2013 - a zettabyte, by the way, is a trillion gigabytes.

If 90 percent of that data is video, most of it will be content being downloaded to settop boxes. However, Cisco's recent acquisition of Pure Digital, makers of the no-brainer Flip Mino HD digicam, plus the profusion of other pocket video shooters, indicates that the industry is betting that internet-enabled personal video sharing is The Next Big Thing.

Add millions of video-capturing and video-sharing iPods to that mix, and bandwidth pressures are sure to escalate - and quickly.

But that's not Apple's problem. Their goal is to sell product, and video-enabled iPod touches, nanos, and classics would put "good-enough" video-capture and upload capability into millions of pockets worldwide.

Less than four years ago, a "video iPod" meant a pocket music player that could also view video. Soon it might mean a pocket device that can not only support tunes, games, videos, photos, and apps, but that can also capture and share video clips.

And contribute to that aforementioned zettabyte of tube-clogging data. ®

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