Rumored Apple Event: What I'd Like to See

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Every September, Apple showcases updates to its iPod line, and sometimes reveals new products as "one more thing." According to Bloomberg news agency, this year's event will come on September 7 and the speculations are that Apple will be refreshing the iPod Touch and releasing it's evolution of Apple TV, called iTV. Here's what's expected of Apple's September event and what I'd like to see.

iPod Touch Update

Since Apple's September events usually center on iPods, expect a refresh of its iPod Touch products. The latest iPod Touch will probably look a lot like its smartphone brethren and come with some iPhone 4 features:

  • Retina display: Apple's high-contrast retina display looks to be the new face of the iPod Touch. The retina display supposedly has resolution that meets or exceeds the maximum resolution the human retina is capable of resolving, assuming perfect vision. Nice, but not altogether true -- the iPhone display would need to have 1.3 megapixels instead of 0.6 megapixels to be a retina display.
  • Camera: A front- and back-facing camera will likely be added to the iPod Touch. These cameras -- reportedly 2-megapixels -- will allow the iPod Touch to use FaceTime over a Wi-Fi connection and would also bring video-shooting capabilities and Apple's video editing app iMovie to the Touch.

Other than those changes, it doesn't appear that Apple plans on doing anything groundbreaking with its iPods (though I'd really like to see Apple do something with the original iPod).

Apple iTV

What's most exciting is the expected announcement of iTV, Apple's overhaul of its fledgling Apple TV product. According to Bloomberg and Engadget, here are the details of iTV:

  • iOS 4 interface
  • A4 CPU, just like the iPad
  • 16GB of flash storage
  • $99 retail price
  • 720p resolution
  • App capabilities

On top of that, iTV will supposedly stream iTunes to iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches over Wi-Fi connections, pitting iTV against Netflix, Hulu Plus, Verizon's iPad app, and others. Previous rumors had Apple working with content providers to release a TV subscription service for $30 a month, but that plan seems to have changed.

Apple will also introduce 99-cent television show rentals that will feature content partners News Corp. along with CBS, NBC Universal, and Walt Disney. Bloomberg says these partners are in "advanced talks" to introduce a rental service over iTunes. According to the report, TV shows will be available to iTunes users for 99-cents for 48 hours. The episodes will reportedly be available within 24 hours of the time they are aired, and will be commercial-free.

Currently, Apple sells individual TV episodes outright for either $1.99 (standard definition) or $2.99 (high-definition). Apple also sells season passes for television shows.

Though 99 cents per show would be a money-maker for Apple, Apple will -- or should -- offer season passes for rental. TechCrunch suggests a $10 or $15 option to rent an entire season; this seems reasonable.

Digg founder Kevin Rose also predicts Apple will integrate MobileMe into iTV. "At $99 your parents, grandparents, and friends will have an iTV. Sharing pictures/videos from your iPhone will happen with the push of a button. Imagine getting a notification of new family videos the next time you turn on your TV." Rose also says that Apple's iAds (which aren't doing so hot) will be integrated so that content producers can monetize and distribute their content, something that would "eventually destroy the television side of the cable and satellite industry."

Apple will have to be very competitive with pricing and content if it plans on beating the forthcoming Google TV, a service that sounds almost identical to iTV.

What I'd Like to See

These advances sound great, but there are a few things I'd like to see:

iTunes on Android

Android phones are hugely popular (200,000 sold per day) but most suffer from a subpar music app UI. Though it's unlikely that Apple will partner with one of its biggest competitors, it'd be nice to see an iTunes app on Android phones. Of course, this app would be in direct conflict with Google's partnership with Amazon's MP3 store, but if Apple could get its foot in the door, it could totally dominate the digital music distribution world.

iTunes in the Cloud

Rumors of putting iTunes in the cloud -- thus able to stream entire music collections to a variety of 3G or Wi-Fi connected Apple devices -- have been floating around for a while. I'd like to see this come to fruition. Since the purported iTV model is essentially an iTunes streaming service, Apple should open this up to its MP3 devices.

The iTV subscription service is likely to anger cable companies -- and drive some people away from overpriced cable packages altogether -- but creating an iTunes subscription service in the cloud makes sense and shouldn't ruffle any feathers. And again, Google is planning to create its own subscription-based music streaming service -- Apple should beat Google to the punch.

This story, "Rumored Apple Event: What I'd Like to See" was originally published by PCWorld.

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