It's down to wire when it comes to guessing what shiny new gizmo Steve Jobs might pull out of his pocket Wednesday at Apple's fall product launch. Consensus is the music-themed event will center on refreshed Apple TV hardware and 99-cent television episode rentals. But there will be surprises -- so the blogosphere insists.
PCWorld will offer a liveblog of the event here.
As you get ready to follow your favorite liveblog--or Apple's newly announced live stream for Mac OS X 10.6 and iOS devices--starting at 10 a.m. Pacific, here's a rundown of the latest Apple rumors.
Apple TV Becomes iTV
The persistent rumor is that Apple will refresh its set-top box, Apple TV. The new device would be renamed iTV, and is believed to have a similar design to the iPhone 4. The rumored iTV is said to be based on iOS (the operating system for the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad) and capable of running third-party smartphone apps. What's not known, however, is whether iTV could use apps currently available in the iTunes Store or whether developers would need to create apps specifically for the rumored iTV.
Netflix on Board
One service that may be available for iTV at launch is Netflix video streaming, three anonymous sources reportedly told Bloomberg Businessweek.
The report doesn't say if Netflix functionality would come pre-installed on the new iTV or whether you would have to download the app from the iTunes Store. As with most set-top boxes that include Netflix streaming, you would be required to purchase iTV as well as a Netflix subscription.
Fox and ABC Rentals
Fox and ABC will be among the first networks to offer 99-cent TV episode rentals through the iTunes Store, The Wall Street Journal says. That means possible television rentals available at launch could include episodes of hit shows such as House, Glee, The Simpsons, Modern Family, Desperate Housewives, and Grey's Anatomy.
But it's not clear how long Apple's rumored TV rental service will survive, or whether other networks would also offer rentals. Some network executives are fearful Apple's plans could threaten the traditional broadcast television business, according to the WSJ. News Corp.'s Fox is reportedly the most hesitant to commit to the plan, and has only agreed to offer rentals via iTunes on a trial basis. The Walt Disney Company's ABC, meanwhile, is likely willing to play along over the long term since Apple CEO Steve Jobs is Disney's largest individual shareholder. ABC was also one of the first networks to sell television downloads via iTunes in 2005.
Static Nano Pricing, Shuffle Fights On
In late August, rumors started circulating of a refreshed iPod Nano. The new device would be drastically smaller than the current Nano, measuring just 1.7-inches diagonally. The rumored new iPod may also have a touchscreen and would be square-shaped similar to the second-generation Shuffle introduced in 2006.
Despite the redesign, however, Apple Insider says don't expect much else to change. Sources "familiar with Apple's plans" have told AI the Nano's price tag will remain at $149 and $179, depending on capacity. It's not clear if storage sizes would also stay the same, or whether the rumored Nano would have the same video camera that current versions do. AI also believes Apple won't be dumping the iPod Shuffle, despite the rumored Nano's similarity to older versions of Apple's cheapest iPod.
There you have it -- the latest rumors surrounding Apple's fall event. Other hot rumors include talk of a new iPod Touch featuring FaceTime and a front-facing camera, as well as an expected refresh to iTunes. The fate of the current crop of rumors will be decided in just a few hours starting at 10 a.m. Pacific Time Wednesday. If you can't get enough Apple rumors until then, check out Macworld Editor Dan Moren's top predictions for Apple's fall event.
Connect with Ian on Twitter (@ianpaul).
This story, "Apple's Music Event Rumor Roundup: iTV, New iPods and ?" was originally published by PCWorld.