What could possibly knock the super-popular Flip Mino off its pedestal? Why, an Apple-made video camera, of course. According to rumors trickling in over the blogosphere, Apple may embed cameras similar to those found in the iPhone 3GS -- therefore capable of capturing video -- into its line-up of iPods.
Most likely the iPod Touch and iPod Nano will receive the cameras, as earlier rumors have suggested. Cameras in the iPod Touch are a no-brainer -- the device is already so similar to the iPhone, it only makes sense that Apple mirrors the two. And though I have my doubts that something as small as the iPod Nano could handle the energy- and memory-sucking power of capturing and storing video, a digital camera is certainly feasible. It's unlikely the iPod Classic would get one, and the iPod Shuffle is out of the race for obvious reasons.
So where did these rumors come from? One comes from TechCrunch. According to its Asian sources, Apple has purchased a massive number of camera modules just like the ones in the iPhone 3GS. Due to the substantial size of the order, it is assumed that these cameras are meant for the iPod line.
Another rumor comes from MacRumors in the form of protective iPod cases. Leaked cases are actually a pretty reliable indicator of what's happening with iPods; it is exactly how the latest version of the iPod Nano was revealed ahead of its time. These supposed cases for the iPod Touch and iPod Nano sport a little hole where a camera eye could peek out.
If these rumors are true, the Flip video camera is in for some heavy competition. Everybody wants an iPod, and if they come packed with cameras, consumers seeking an all-in-one media device need look no further. The Flip Mino stands a chance if it lowers its price-point (currently hovering around US$180) or incorporates additional features. Flip Mino aside, if Apple puts its weight behind the video recording market, you'd better believe it's going to dominate, and competitor innovations are going to come fast.