* New line-up of iPods amid rumblings of TV news
* Analysts say Apple TV down the road
(Adds details on speculation, analyst's comment, share price)
SEATTLE/LOS ANGELES Aug 25 Apple Inc (AAPL.O)
is expected to show off a snazzier line of iPods on Sept. 1, as
speculation mounts the consumer electronics giant may also
unveil plans to reinvigorate its long-neglected TV project.
Analysts expect the makers of the iPhone and the iPad,
which has always labeled Apple TV a hobby, to showcase a new
iPod Touch with dual cameras in time for the holidays.
Its shares climbed 1.2 percent. The company has in recent
years used splashy September events to showcase new iPod models
for the year-end spending spree. It typically also describes
tweaks and new features for its iTunes online media store.
Last year's event marked the return of Steve Jobs to the
public eye after a long hiatus, during which he underwent a
liver transplant. This year, blogs are afire with talk about a
souped-up Apple TV, though analysts deem unlikely a major
announcement on that front next week.
Sources have told Reuters Apple is in the throes of
negotiations with the major U.S. TV networks from Walt Disney
Co's (DIS.N) ABC to General Electric Co's (GE.N) NBC, hoping to
offer TV shows for rent via iTunes for 99 cents per episode.
But those sources also said it was not a done deal. Apple
and the media companies have declined to comment.
"From our checks with supply chain and industry sources, we
believe potential changes could turn Apple TV into a bigger
hobby and a multimillion unit seller," Shaw Wu of Kaufman Bros
Apple will hold the event at the Yerba Buena Center for the
Arts, where it introduced the iPad in April. This year's
invitation carried a prominent picture of a guitar's front,
with an Apple logo standing in for the sound hole.
The company's iPods dominate the music- and media-player
market, but growth there has moderated in past years and it has
turned its attention toward the iPhone and iPad. In the June
quarter, Apple said it sold 9.41 million iPods in the June
quarter, down from 10.2 million a year earlier.
In contrast, analysts estimate the company sells about 1
million Apple TV units annually.
Still, some analysts expect Apple to eventually revamp --
and enhance -- its long-neglected TV device as the electronics
maker continues to merge content with gadgets and ensconce
itself in the home.
Wu expects to revamped Apple TVs in stores as early as this
holiday, or the first half of 2011.
"In the grander scheme of things, it takes them a step
closer" in that effort," Wu said. The device is "perhaps a
precursor into a bigger effort to address the home
entertainment space down the road."
(Reporting by Bill Rigby and Edwin Chan; Editing by Richard