Keep it secret! Keep it safe. Given Apple’s once impeccable track record of keeping their future products under wraps up until the very moment that Steve Jobs held them aloft on stage, the product-leaking Smeagol lurking around the underdark of their supply chain is really doing Cupertino a bad turn.
The latest supply-chain leak, spotted by Apple.pro, shows a tiny 1.18″ square, 3cm x 3cm touchscreen, complete with an Apple copyright branded upon the connector cable. The obvious assumption? A touchscreen iPod Shuffle, possibly as early as September.
I don’t doubt for a second that this is Apple’s next move when it comes to the Shuffle line.
The latest Shuffle has made Apple’s cheapest audio player as small as it can possibly go, but at the expense of on-board controls. As far as consumers are concerned, it’s been something of a dud compared to the second generation Shuffle, which was already about as small as most people ever wanted it to be. A touchscreen Shuffle will allow Apple to finally give the Shuffle a display without sacrificing a robust control scheme (or offload controls to the earbud cord, as in the current Shuffle).
So yes, a touchscreen Shuffle is only a matter of time. The only question is when it will be released, whether it’ll run iOS, and what form apps on such a small display would take (simple widgets is my guess).