Apple has finally made their September event official, and it’s coming sooner than many expected—the “special event” will be held Wednesday, September 1 in San Francisco.
What can we hope to see Cupertino announce next Wednesday? Read on and find out.
Although new Apple products are typically shrouded in mystery prior to events such as the one on September 1, we have the advantage of tapping into nearly a decade of history and dug up clues as to what is most likely going to be announced next week. The original iPod was first introduced in the fall of 2001, and almost every year since, without fail, Apple has refreshed our favorite media player with cameras, more memory, bigger storage, and new models.
All signs seam to point to yes regarding new iPods — specifically new iPod touch models featuring shiny new Retina Displays. The iPod nano should also get a refresh, with bigger storage capacity and a higher-quality camera, although 720p HD video recording is probably out for this year.
A new iPod shuffle is probably also in the cards, mostly because it’s the iPod form factor that Apple still hasn’t gotten quite right yet — it’s too little for most users, especially when the price point between the shuffle and the nano has been getting narrower and will likely narrower yet again this year.
Sadly, this might possibly be the end of the line for the iPod classic, much as we hate to see it go. Let’s face it — hard drives for portable media players were a great idea back in the day (that is, until you dropped one), but flash storage is where it’s at now. However, the remaining iPod models should get increased storage capacity, which should help ease some of the suffering you might feel as the iPod classic slips away into the great beyond. (Sniff, sniff…)
iTunes 10 is another safe bet, mostly because almost every major revision to the software has corresponded with new iPod hardware. Mac|Life has already cooked up a little list of 10 things we might see as iTunes crosses the double-digit threshold, so we won’t go into all of that again here. But yeah, iTunes 10… count on it.
Right on the cusp of “maybe not happening,” we’re going out on a limb to also offer up iLife ’11 as a contender for next week, likely with some amazing new music creation features added to GarageBand (assuming that Apple’s guitar-themed invitation provides a not-so-subtle clue). Will we see a new version of iMove? Has iPhoto finally been souped up to work better with multiple libraries and thousands of images? Could iWeb finally become a truly useful tool for WYSIWYG web designers? Tune in next week to find out for sure.
Despite the fact that none other than Apple CEO Steve Jobs himself claimed that there would be “millions” of FaceTime-enabled devices by year’s end during the iPhone 4 announcement, we think Apple still has to perfect any kind of camera at all on the iPod touch, which has clearly been a stumbling block for the company. Images of a rear camera-enabled iPod touch appeared prior to last year’s September music event (and some of those have even popped up on eBay throughout the year), so it’s clear that Cupertino is working hard to make it happen. We’d put the safer money on a rear camera capable of both pictures and SD video, comparable to what the iPhone 3GS already has, and maybe FaceTime and 720p HD video recording for next year, but hey, we’ve been wrong before.
On the subject of recent rumors claiming that 99-cent TV show rentals are on the way to iTunes. This one has a long history of being all talk. However, the days of Apple and the networks collecting upwards of $2.99 for an HD episode of a TV show are clearly numbered, given the rising popularity of streaming services from Netflix and Hulu Plus — we’re just not so sure if the tide will turn this year or next.
While we’re at it, we’ll throw a wildcard into the mix for those of you still waiting for a white iPhone 4. After a couple of delays already, we figure Apple might cap off the event next week by announcing that you can finally pre-order your white iPhone 4, much to the glee of fans of that color. And hey, maybe there will even be some modification to the external antenna… we can dream, can’t we?
Sadly, we’d have to put a cloud-based iTunes in the same category as world peace or The Beatles on iTunes, at least for now. Apple executives have recently murmured to record labels that the company’s Lala.com acquisition may take longer than expected to bear fruit (pun intended), and we have no reason to believe otherwise. That huge server farm down in North Carolina hasn’t even fired up yet, but it’s planned for year’s end, so next year would likely be a good time to start placing those bets.
The outlook is also not so good for those “free MobileMe” rumors — that service will likely play into the same server farm that Apple is building, and the company probably figures that if people are willing to pay $99 a year for the service as is, why fix it if it ain’t broke? The least they could do is up the storage and give us some easier sharing features to rival Google’s YouTube.
We also wouldn’t put any good money on an iPad refresh just yet — after all, the tablet device hasn’t even been out for 6 months, Apple usually waits a year before refreshing products. And an iOS 4 update is yet to come for couple of months, if recent communication between Apple and iAd clients is to be believed. It’s a safe bet that the iPad will pick up a front-facing, FaceTime-equipped camera and probably some form of Retina Display for its sequel, but Apple is still having too much fun (and profit) selling the first one right now.
There’s no doubt that the living room will be the next battleground for Apple and its competitors as desktop computers and even laptops succumb to mobile phones and tablet devices. Some folks (myself included), feel that Apple may take the larger step toward an all-in-one HDTV set with built-in Internet connectivity and likely driven by iOS, but we wouldn’t be placing any bets on that coming anytime soon.
The most recent speculation about an Apple product seems to be swirling around what is being dubbed “iTV” — the company’s supposed replacement for the aging Apple TV box, which is aimed at taking over the living room and making everyone forget that Google is about to release a competing product. After Google TV and the Boxee Box hit the market, Apple can better analyze the strengths and weaknesses of those devices and better fine-tune their own box to meet better expectations. So, sadly, we will probably be waiting until next year for this one.
We realize that you might have different ideas and opinions than us , so why share with your fellow Geeks Rule readers in the comments? Less than one week and counting, so get your speculation on!