It's been several days since people started talking (again) about the idea that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) might bring video to the iPod, but the Internet buzz continues. I'm usually inclined to ignore such rumors until they become actual fact, but since Apple's a particularly tempting company to speculate about, I feel compelled to add my two cents.

According to the buzzing newswires, Apple has been in talks with major labels such as Sony (NYSE:SNE) and Bertelsmann's Sony BMG, Warner Music (NYSE:WMG), and EMI Group about bringing music videos to iPods. There are also rumors that the company is negotiating with Disney (NYSE:DIS) to provide short cartoons and video clips from its TV networks. We already knew that a recent version of Apple's iTunes music player added the capability to play short videos through the company's QuickTime technology, which could be a nice value-add for avid music downloaders.

However, as much as the iPod is the killer portable music device du jour, I just can't see customers getting excited about watching video on its tiny screen. Music players like the iPod are most often used by people who are doing other things -- jogging, working, driving, and so forth. (It's the same argument I had when Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Portable Media Center launched last year.) Steve Jobs himself has been previously quoted as saying that the iPod isn't really the appropriate venue for video. Of course, that doesn't mean he wouldn't take the plunge given the right set of circumstances -- like clear demand for such a device.

That demand has yet to materialize, though downloadable video content for mobile devices has been getting lots of press attention. Mobile phone providers seem eager to integrate both MP3 players and video capabilities into their phones. However, market research indicates that consumers are tepid toward the idea of downloading video content to their cell phones. In-Stat recently said that only one in eight respondents to a survey it performed expressed interest in video on their phones. Is it too much of a stretch to apply those numbers to a video iPod?

We could all theorize about Apple's next iPod move until we're blue in the face. That's one of the most entertaining things about Apple -- it's the epitome of a story stock, the kind of company people like to closely follow through every new endeavor, rumored or otherwise. In my opinion, video iPods might be "nice to have," but not necessarily "need to have." Even if Apple unveils such a device, I have to question whether it will positively affect the iPod's runaway popularity -- or translate into more sales.

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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.