It’s been pretty quiet for some time now regarding iPod and iTunes rumours. All Apple buzz has been around the iPhone. So add that dynamic to us being smack in the middle of the silly season and it makes sense that rumours are finally beginning to bubble up, principally around a full iPod range refresh and an iTunes subscription offering.

Needless to say it doesn’t pay to try to second guess Apple, more often than not they surprise us. So I’ll use this opportunity instead to scope out my short wish list from a music service perspective:

1 – Pre-loaded content: start retailing iPods with either a significant amount of songs already pre-installed or with on-device credit for songs from iTunes.

2 – A music subscription offering: premium subscriptions are dying a not-so-slow death. Apple could change that over night. But please Apple, don’t just play the Rhapsody / Napster game and offer portable rentals for ten dollars a month. Be really brave, do one or more of the following:

– Charge just a few dollars a month
– Have permanent downloads at the core of the offering (e.g. a fair use number of tracks rather than just a dozen or so)
– Subsidize the cost of the subscription in the price of a device (i.e. follow Nokia’s Comes With Music lead)
– Do DRM free subscription and include the cost in the device sale price
– Offer Pay as You Go, with ability to dip in for a day at a time (“dip in for a dollar a day”) to help drive discovery and impulse purchases (the labels would love you for this, trust me!)
– Include music videos in the subscription mix