Speculation is mounting over Apple's autumn event, where the firm is expected to unveil a revamped iPod line and other product news. The Apple tablet may not make an appearance at the event, which is likely to take place on September 9, but rumours include the debut of a new social feature for iTunes 9.0 and an appearance by Steve Jobs, according to All Things D.
iTunes gets social
Speculation that Apple iTunes could jump into social networking emerged last week, and was deemed pretty dubious at the time. Seven days and another rumour later, they don't seem so silly.
Earlier reports suggest that iTunes 9.0 would tie into a social networking application that could let you pull all your social networking identities into one place. You could also use this mysterious app to let your friends know what you're listening to (similar to iLike's iTunes sidebar), share music, and change your status updates. It's not clear from earlier reports what "share music" means, but if I had to guess I would say this means you would simply be able to share playlists with your friends - a decidedly lame feature.
But iTunes already has a feature that lets you stream the libraries of other iTunes users who are on the same local network. What if Apple expanded this to some sort of Pandora-like feature that let you stream the libraries of your friends within your social network? This is complete speculation on my part, and applications such as Mojo already let you share your iTunes library online, but it would be a great feature if Apple added it as a standard part of iTunes.
The Apple iPod touch is expected to get more storage and a lower price, with Apple launching three models of the device in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB flavours. The devices would cost $199, $299, and $399 respectively in the US. This is probably the safest bet among the current crop of Apple rumours, and more iPod touch storage is no surprise considering the iPhone just got a storage update. Apple also has a new competitor in the Zune HD, so a price drop would be important and could stop the Zune from taking even a small chunk out of Apple's business.
There's also a rumour that the iPod touch could be getting a 2Mp or 3Mp camera; a great feature the Zune HD doesn't have.
Seth Weintraub of PC Advisor sister site Computerworld is guessing Apple's upcoming event includes an announcement of another secret project from 1 Infinite Loop: Cocktail. It's supposed to be some sort of multimedia experience that will revolutionise the traditional music album. Features include music, videos, photos, album liner notes and other media all bundled into one package.
This project may be very real, but earlier reports had the project tied to the Apple tablet. If Apple is introducing new features with iTunes 9.0 already, then it's possible the company may want to tie Cocktail into the September event as well.
What is probably disappointing to most of you out there is the suggestion Apple's rumoured iPod touch-like tablet device may not make its appearance next month. While the tablet sounds like a great device, let's remember that we still only have rumour and innuendo suggesting the thing actually exists. What's more, the only person who claims to have seen the thing is an analyst who was so smitten by the device he thought it was the best movie experience he'd ever seen. Either that analyst doesn't get out much, or was so deeply affected by the Jobsian "reality distortion field" he simply lost his mind.
Breathe, everybody - let's hold onto a healthy dose of scepticism about the tablet until we actually see the thing, and more importantly, until we see what it can do.
22 days and counting
We may have little more than three weeks until Apple's September event announcing a new line of iPods and more features for iTunes. Apple isn't saying, but All Things D is betting on an event at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts - a previous locale for Apple events. Interestingly, September 9 was the exact date of last year's Apple iPod event when the company introduced revamped iPods and iTunes Genius.