Cheaper, cooler iPods on the way?

Sure, the various iPods may be nice now, but better ones could be on the way soon

Apple might have a reputation for being cool, but it's rarely described as cheap. But this could be about to change, according to an analyst at research firm Piper Jaffray.

Apple's December quarter iPod sales show the worst ever year-over-year growth rate for iPods, says analyst Gene Munster. While the figures match those of the general market, to reduce the slowdown of sales the analyst firm believes that Apple will need to change its strategy.

Time to change

In order to achieve a 15 per cent growth through 2009, Piper Jaffray is expecting Apple to introduce cheaper, innovative iPods with Wi-Fi and multi-touch technology, wrote analyst Gene Munster.

"We believe that, despite a slowdown in growth in the MP3 market, Apple's vision of the iPod line-up becoming a mainstream Wi-Fi mobile platform will have two results," Munster advised clients.

"First, it will spur growth in the portable media player market, particularly from the replacement cycle. Second, if Apple is able to lower prices on Wi-Fi connected and possibly touch-screen iPods, it will be able to maintain or grow its leading market share position."

So far, Apple has yet to respond to Piper Jaffray's predictions, but given the research firm's close ties with the company, the chances of Munster's predictions coming true may well be high.