While we wait until Apple's special event later today, here's the current rumor round-up. I'm hoping to bring you some first impressions of Apple's new products at some point after the event, (read this here). If you are interested in what’s happening during the show, then do take a look at the company’s live video stream. Hosted at www.apple.com, this begins at 10am PDT. You’ll need Safari or an iOS device to watch this stream, which many believe is itself a test of Apple’s server set-up in a live situation. To the round-up:
Apple TV (not iTV)
It looks like Apple might have made a decision to abandon the iTV name it had been expected to chuck at its soon-to-be improved television set-top box, which seemingly will remain the Apple TV, according to Macworld Australia.
The new device will be announced today but won’t ship immediately, the report explains.
Apple and TV shows
As reported previously, Apple has been in talks with broadcast content providers in an attempt to arrange 99-cent show rentals. Most networks dug in their heels and refused to join what will be a short-term (6 month) pricing experiment. However, ABC, Fox and Disney will be signing-up, giving us an interesting split between those and the likes of CBS or NBC Universal.
The Wall Street Journal tells us:
"According to the people familiar with the matter, News Corp. wants Apple's help with other digital projects, including the iPad version of The Wall Street Journal and a digital news offering known inside News Corp. as the "Daily Planet," the name of the fictional paper in Superman comics."
This is broadly in line with earlier reports.
Apple and Netflix, sitting in the tree....
OK, it isn’t likely there’s a whole lot of K.I.S.S.I.N.G. going on between the two, but it looks like Apple may have broken the habit of a lifetime and sought out some level of partnership for its rental schemes, with Netflix streaming to be announced for the Apple TV/iTV later today, reports claim.
That’s great, but it underlines (as if any more underlining is really required) just how great Apple’s focus is on the US in its latest series of announcements.
What isn’t yet clear is if the Netflix feature will work on existing Apple TV devices. (I can imagine it is possible with a software upgrade, otherwise I predict Boxee is about to get a heap more popular.)
iPod touch upgrade
Retina display, front and back-facing camera, A4 processors, iMovie, FaceTime and retains the more curved design of the existing models, rather than shifting to ape the iPhone 4. I’ve written this before.
Interestingly it looks like the iPod nano may get a whole heap smaller, becoming a one-inch device with a touchscreen showing what you are playing and so on.
I can imagine it might run some apps, in which case I had this vague fantasy involving GPS, location-sensing, user preferences and dating sites, in order that if these things are worn as a badge and a pair of compatible adults meet each other the devices would pipe up with a cheery 'date me, we're compatible' message. Weird as it sounds, that kind of technology is feasible now. Though I find the concept somewhat 'creepy'.
Here’s a video which also claims to offer insight into what’s on its way to the iPod world. And shoot over to here to look at some claimed cases for these things.
Expect more rental options, deeper social networking integration and a move away from an application toward some form of Web-based retail service. Expect one-minute song previews (allegedly), but don’t hold your breath for a music subscription service or cloud-based music storage. This likely reflects the iTunes team’s focus on video services roll-out, (see above).
iPhone software update, an iPad software update and updates to QuickTime and iTunes. I’d be deeply unsurprised to see some attention paid to iLife, iWork and the MacBook Air.
UPDATE: I'm in position at the European event and lo and behold, the Apple Store has gone AWOL, so we can expect new products people. Not long to wait now.