Apple plans to unveil new iPods and a revamped, renamed Apple TV at a special event on Tuesday 7 September.
That's according to Bloomberg, who claim Apple will hold the event two weeks ahead of the start of the new prime-time TV season in the US, announcing a deal with News Corp. to offer commercial-free TV show rentals for as little as 99 cents.
"Viewers would be able to rent programs from News Corp.’s Fox for 48 hours, said the people, who declined to be identified because the discussions aren’t public," Bloomberg notes, adding that other media companies are in talks with Apple about similar 99 cents offers. Fox and ABC are closer to reaching an agreement than CBS and NBC the business focused service claims, while all four could still take part in the 7 September event if deals are struck in time.
"This is a smart move by everyone," David Bank, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in New York told Bloomberg. "Something like this a la carte rental service is an incremental opportunity."
"This takes Apple out of the position of making consumers decide to either buy or not view,” added Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with San Mateo, California-based technology research firm Altimeter Group. “It makes Apple much more competitive with services like Hulu."
Bloomberg adds a new Apple TV, rumoured to be renamed iTV, will come with a more tempting $99 price-tag, complete with smaller hard drive, used primarily to screen content from iTunes. How that lower price might translate into UK pounds is anyone's guess. Apple currently offers one 160GB configuration of the Apple TV, with room for up to 200 hours of video, for £223. UK viewers are likely to miss out on the 99 cents rentals, which based on Apple's iTunes App Store translate to 59p, due to existing deals between US and UK broadcasters for hit shows.
Bloomberg adds Apple are likely to unveil a new iPod touch with a higher-resolution screen - similar to the display featured on the iPhone 4 - at the same event. Apple traditionally updates the iPod range in September, in time for Christmas. Last September, Apple introduced a slightly tweaked, larger capacity iPod touch and video camera and FM radio enabled iPod nano.
Apple typically sends out invitations to the September press event about a week ahead of time, so by early next week we should discover if Bloomberg's report is correct or not. Representatives from Apple, Fox, CBS, NBC and Disney who own ABC, contacted by Bloomberg made no comment on the story.
The Wall Street Journal adds: "One person briefed on the Disney-Apple talks said a deal is not done yet, but that one is close. Disney has been seen as a likely Apple collaborator in part because Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs sits on its board and is the Burbank, Calif., company's largest individual shareholder."