Apple hasn't confirmed it -- and not every analyst agrees -- but Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster seems pretty certain that Steve Jobs himself will introduce a new line of iPods next week.
In a note to clients Tuesday morning, Munster describes the substance of Apple's (aapl) special music event -- scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 9 -- as a "non-event" from Wall Street's point of view.
Investors, Munster says, are not likely to be impressed with new iPod nanos, iPod classic and iPod touches re-designed with cameras because "as iPod growth slows ... the segment becomes less of an investable theme." (That may be true of the classic and the nanos, but sales of iPod touches grew 130% last quarter year over year.)
Jobs' return, however, is likely to be greeted by the Street as "a slight positive" for Apple's shares -- "the first public confirmation of Jobs' health since his return to the company," according to Munster.
Jobs last appearance at an Apple event was on Oct. 14, 2008, when he introduced the unibody MacBooks. In January he took a medical leave to replace his failing liver.
Other possible announcements next Wednesday, according to Munster:
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- A new version of iTunes with integrated social networking features.
- Changes to the iTunes Store, including new music features with richer album artwork.
- Expanded TV and movie options on iTunes with more available content and/or better viewing rights for multiple devices.
Munster expects Apple will eventually launch a monthly subscription for TV shows and a tablet computer, but not next week.
UPDATE: Kaufman Bros.' Shaw Wu weighed in later Tuesday morning with a different take on who will be presenting next week:
"The keynote speaker(s) were not announced but we believe it will most likely be Phil Schiller, SVP of worldwide product marketing, who mostly recently handled both MacWorld and WWDC events. It is not clear that Steve Jobs will present but most would welcome his appearance as a positive surprise."