Merrill Lynch said today that Apple is likely to introduce two new iPods by the first half of 2005. “We believe Apple could introduce a flash memory-based iPod in the first quarter of 2005,” the firm said in a research note. “The new iPod would signal a departure from the thinking that an iPod should hold all a person’s songs. We estimate that Apple might be able to charge $149 for a 256 MB (60 song) unit. We think Apple could quickly become a significant player in the fragmented $2.6 billion flash MP3 market.” Merrill Lynch also expects a photo iPod to be released soon. “Since iPods are already being used as portable hard drives (HDDs) for files, we believe a photo iPod is likely to be announced, perhaps in the first half of next year.” The firm is looking for Apple to sell 2.7 million iPods during the Christmas quarter, compared to 2 million units last quarter.