Apple has set the stage for new iPod music player launches—and potential price cuts—with a media invitation to a "Let's Rock" event next Tuesday that has been widely anticipated by Apple fans.
Apple , which also makes iPhone mobile devices and MacBook laptops, sent reporters an e-mail invitation with an image similar to those in its iPod advertising: a man jumping in the air while listening to an iPod, with the words "playing soon." Analysts said they expect Apple to announce a refresh of its line of iPods and cuts to prices of some models.
No further details were available from the company, which often sends provocative invitations to events that end up being product launches.
Creating an allure around its brand has only helped drive Apple's market capitalization above Google Inc , despite fears about the weak U.S. economy, which is slowing consumer purchases.
"It's got to be new iPods. That's 100 percent certain," Needham & Co analyst Charles Wolf said. "The only question I cannot answer is whether they will also do new MacBooks."
In July, Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said in a statement the company was working on several new products to launch in the coming months, but executives declined to give details.
If the Cupertino, California-based company does not announce new MacBooks next week, Wolf said he expects new laptop models to be unveiled later in September.
Apple's iPod line needs to be refreshed and the price of its iPod Touch models need to be cut because they have a higher starting price than its iPhone, which includes a mobile phone and other features not included in the device, said American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu.
The Internet-ready iPod touch starts at $299 in the United States, compared with $199 for the iPhone.
"Pricing needs to be adjusted downward toward market conditions. We are in a tougher economy. That's what makes most sense," Wu said.