Compared to the rumored iPhone 5, Apple's done a far better job keeping a lid on plans for its iPod lineup ahead of next week's media event. We've got an idea of what the company's latest handset may look (and feel) like thanks to purported component leaks in recent months, but know very little about what to expect from the next-generation iPod touch, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle — all of which are due for their annual fall refresh. As the big reveal draws near, however, new details are coming to light. Rene Ritchie at iMore reports that the upcoming iPod touch will feature a 4-inch, 16:9 display similar to the one Apple is expected to use in the iPhone 5.
What's not clear is whether the company plans to use the exact same panel between both devices. In recent years, each has included a high-resolution Retina display, but Apple has afforded the iPhone a slight advantage with an IPS screen that offers superior color contrast and viewing angles. Delivering the same premium display across both products could be a boon for the iPod brand, sales of which have continued to dip in recent quarters. Still, we imagine part of the reason Apple has opted for a lesser panel has been one of cost, so it wouldn't surprise us if there's still a difference between the two come next week. 9to5Mac has also weighed in, suggesting that the entry-level iPod touch's form factor will remain largely unchanged while pricier models will sport a new design.
As for the other members of the iPod family, rumors have hinted that the iPod nano will be moving away from its watch-friendly form with a taller design featuring an iOS-like home button. 9to5Mac suggests Apple's budget $49 iPod shuffle will see a minor refresh with expanded color options. But what new features will users see? Will 2012 finally spell the end for the iPod classic? These are questions we expect to have answered in a matter of days.