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Apple Inc. (AAPL): While You Were Sleeping…

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) had made it pretty clear in recent interviews and public comments that the company was in a different production cycle now and that it was unrealistic to expect that we would see any new devices to come from Cupertino in the near future.

A Leading Company Cheaper Than 90% Of Blue Chips... And It Recently Bounced 12%We guess that in Apple-speak, “near future” means not in the next 24 to 48 hours. There are reports coming out of the U.K. Thursday that revealed Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has apparently – very quietly with no fanfare – launched a “budget” iPod Touch with a list price of about $200. Now to be fair, we don’t know that Apple considers a “budget” iPod Touch as a new device or just a less-expensive updated version of an existing device, so we can’t say whether Apple has been lying or just holding out. Regardless, though, the news itself was quietly coming out overnight from across the pond.

Maybe it was out fault that we didn’t pay attention. After all, we here in the States have been so focused on a new iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini, a rumored iPad Grande (which we reported on yesterday), an iWatch, the anticipated-for-two-years-by-people-named-Gene-Munster iTV, that we didnt’ have time to pay attention to something like an iPod Touch. Sheesh, give us a break, we can only watch six rumors at a time!

Anyway, for what it’s worth, in order for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to release a low-cost iPod Touch to the market – might this be a trial balloon to judge market demand for a low-cost iPhone? – it seemed to have to get rid of the rear-facing camera and touch loop, limit the memory to 16 gigabyte and limits the colors to whatever you want so long as it’s silver. However, on the plus side, low-budget iPodders still have the 4-inch Retina display  as on other iPod Touch devices, the same A5 processor and an HD front-facing FaceTime camera.

So we’ve got that going for us, which is nice. The device reportedly also boasts Bluetooth and Nike+ capability built-in. So what could be the motivation for such a silent launch?

No, we are not sure why Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) released a low-cost iPod Touch, whether this was a call by customers for a demand, or whether this was testing for a market or whether this is truly a test run to judge the market demand for a low-cost Apple-labeled device, but the fact it is out now seems to show that Apple must understand the economics of the marketplace and must have a sense that remaining in the premium-price level limits the amount of market share that Apple could ultimately enjoy.

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