The Web was abuzz with iPod gossip Tuesday, as sites feverishly pitched the speculation that Apple Computer might this week announce new iPods, including a mini with a color screen.
At least three Web sites, including Think Secret, said the iPod mini would be largely unchanged except for the screen.
Also on Tuesday, Bank of America Securities analyst Keith Bachman wrote in a note to clients that "a price cut we expect this week or next should help Apple's market share" in the market for digital-music players. He added that the company, based in Cupertino, Calif., would also "offer higher capacity points."
An Apple spokesman declined to comment.
Apple remains the No. 1 seller of MP3 portable digital-music players. According to a survey of 7,500 MP3 users done for Banc of America Securities, Apple's share of the MP3 player market increased to 40.2 percent in the December quarter, up from 37.5 percent in the September quarter, before the introduction of its flash memory-based iPod Shuffle.
"We think Apple's iPod will continue to gain market share for the next 2-3 quarters as its Flash-based product (iPod Shuffle) gains momentum," Bachman wrote.
Web sites have sometimes been accurate about future products from the famously secretive Apple. A number of sites correctly predicted that Apple would introduce the iPod Shuffle at January's Macworld conference.
But other times, they have been incorrect. Apple has said it is suing people, including the founder of Think Secret, charging they leaked details about new products on the Internet.
Think Secret said on its Web site that the price for the new mini is expected to be $249, and the current model could be reduced to $199.
Apple shares, which tripled in 2004, fell $1.52 to close at $85.29 on Nasdaq.