I forgot to mention this the other day, but right before I went into AT&T Wireless the other night, I stopped by the Apple Store that was right next to it. It was my first Apple Store and it's definitely as up-scale and techno-lusty as they seemed to be in the pictures.
There I fondled the 20GB iPod for the first time - I had't played with an iPod since they stopped putting a moveable wheel on them. I was using iTunes for Windows this morning and it reminded me of the thought I had when I was playing with the iPod the other day: "Fantastic, wonderful, incredibly small, light, great UI... but too bad about that screen." You see at the top of the iTunes player is a "simulation" of the iPod UI's LCD screen, and it's as ugly as the real thing.
Now, beggars can't be choosers of course... if someone gave me an iPod tomorrow I'd be more than happy with it, but the fact is that I've been using a color screen on my mobile for almost a year now and I'm very used to having bright color UI in my hand. The black on grey that the LCD just doesn't cut it anymore. Apple will no doubt realize this, I'm sure, and launch the all-new color iPod soon, etc. Color screens are the only way to go for mobile devices - even the lust-worthy iPod. But you probably knew that already.
The question is what else will Steve want on his iPod besides the color screen? Probably images and video viewing I'm sure... it'd be a shame to waste all that power in the iPod and a color screen for just music. But, here's the thing, if you follow along with that logic, it'd be a shame to hamper a consumer device with 20GB of disk space, color screen, stereo audio, etc. with a system that doesn't have an OS.
So here's my thoughts: 1) The current iPod needs a successor and soon because consumers will start to balk at the B&W interface. 2) With the color screen and all that storage, it'd be dumb not to show multimedia like Photos and Video. 3) If Apple's going to show multimedia, they'll probably want to use Quicktime to do it... 4) If they're going that route, they'd need a Mobile OS to run it on. (Not to mention for other needs like supporting Wireless access to the iPod via WiFi or Bluetooth).
So the question is, what OS will Apple use on their next generation mobile device? Can *you* see Apple licensing Palm or Symbian or using Linux? Nooooo. My prediction: MacMobile coming soon.
P.S. More thoughts on iTunes: It's a bit process heavy and can bog down if I'm doing a lot with my computer at the same time. It also doesn't minimize to the task tray and the Windows maximize button actually makes the UI into a small player forcing you to drag the screen to get it bigger. I do like the integrated Radio and the iTunes Music Store, and the quality of the Audio seems great.