Prepare Yourself For iPod Video

Like most people who’ve had an iPhone 3GS in their hands, we’ve been extremely impressed with the video capabilities of this little device. Not only Does it take near-HD video, it has excellent basic editing software and video can be uploaded to YouTube over Wifi or the cell networks. Among other things, it is the most useful video camera in the world today. No wonder the video camera market is shaking in its collective boots.

Thank God those iPhones are so expensive, and Apple will only sell 20 million or so of them in 2009. If Apple added cameras to its line of iPods, there would be another 3+million of them hitting the market per month, and the low end of the digital video camera market could be crushed.

Uh oh.

That’s exactly what we’re hearing is going to happen. One of our sources in Asia say that Apple has placed an order for a massive number of camera modules of the type that they include in the iPhone. These are inexpensive cameras, in the $10 range. And the size of the order, our source says, means they can only be used for one thing – the iPods.

Update: Macrumors features two images of cases that are supposed to be designed for the upcoming iPod Touch and iPod Nano, and suggest that the next generation of said devices will indeed include a camera.

Putting a camera in the iPod touch, which uses the same operating system as the iPhone, is a logical next step for Apple. But the order size is supposedly so large that some people in Taiwan are speculating that Apple may be planning to put cameras in the lower end of the iPod line, too. “Everything but the Shuffle may have a camera in it soon,” says our source.

We don’t have even close to enough information to speculate that the Nano and Classic iPods could be video-ready anytime soon. But I could easily see these lower end iPods include the camera just for taking pictures. Apple never turned video on in the iPhone 3G, but lots of people were using it via unlaunched apps from Qik, Ustream and others anyway. They could be planning the same thing for the Nano.

But back to video: The iPod touch starts at $229, and if they add the camera module, turning on video is a no-brainer, particularly since the software, already working on the iPhone, is ready to go.

That’s exactly the same price as the high end Flip Mino HD that we gush about so often. The Flip will take marginally better video, but it doesn’t have on-device editing and uploading to YouTube. Nor does it support Internet browsing, email and the thousands of games and other apps available for the iPod Touch. And we haven’t even mentioned the iPod’s primary purpose – music.

Guess which one wins?