If there’s anything the tech community likes more than a special media event from Apple, it’s the chance to speculate about one.
The blogosphere will have to stop hyperventilating about the possibility of new iPods and an Apple tablet computer when Apple is host of a rock ‘n’ roll, iPod-themed event in San Francisco, California, on Wednesday at 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET). Many questions will be answered then. But for the fortune-tellers and futurists in all of us, here’s a roundup of the most likely, most fun and most outlandish predictions for Apple’s big announcement: Steve Jobs will be there: When Apple announced its update to the iPhone in June, it was widely rumored that CEO Steve Jobs would make an appearance. He didn’t. But that doesn’t mean he won’t show up Wednesday. The tech guru is reported to be back at work after a six-month medical leave. If Jobs shows, expect lots of scrutiny over how healthy he looks. Apple tablet announcement: Rumor has it Apple is working on a tablet computer that would look sort of like an enormous iPhone with a 9-inch-ish touch-screen. Such a device would be a rival to PC netbooks, which are small, stripped-down laptop computers that have become popular this year.
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iPods with cameras: Bloggers say this is the most likely of all the rumors, although counter-rumors say Apple is having technical difficulties in fitting its media player devices with cameras. If cameras are added to the iPod Touch, the device will basically become an iPhone 3GS without the phone. And the two-year AT&T contract. End of the old iPods: If the iPod Touch and iPod Nano get upgraded on Wednesday, some bloggers wonder if Apple will give up on its old-school line of iPods. You know, the ones with scroll wheels and huge hard drives. Gizmodo says it’s time to put these aging devices into retirement. Musical Cocktail: In an effort to promote full album sales through iTunes, Apple is rumored to be working on a new way to bundle and sell music. Some refer to this project as “Cocktail,” because it may combine videos and PDF-extras with all the traditional stuff you find in music albums. iTunes 9: Apple’s music-and-movie-management software seems due for an upgrade, some tech pundits say. They expect a new version of the popular software to be released. iTunes in the cloud: MG Siegler of the blog TechCrunch takes the iTunes speculation a step further, saying Apple could decide to move everything from a person’s iTunes Library “into the cloud.” That means your music and movie files would be accessible via the Internet instead of from your hard drive. Siegler calls the move inevitable, but says it’s unlikely such an announcement will be the focus of Apple’s Wednesday event. Apple TV: The Loop says an upgrade to Apple TV is a “possible wildcard” for Wednesday’s announcement. Look for a possible repricing of available models or the announcement of an entirely new system. A Piper Jaffray analyst tells The Loop he expects Apple TV to have DVR capabilities in the not-too-distant future. Beatlemania: Apple’s event takes place the same day remasters of the entire Beatles musical catalog are set to be released. The 9/9/09 date also recalls the Beatles’ song “Revolution 9,” whose cryptic lyrics repeat “number 9, number 9” over and over. This prompted a fresh round of speculation that perhaps the music of the biggest rock band in history will be added to the iTunes store. No Beatles songs are available there now because of legal and financial disputes. The Beatles rumor deflated a bit, however, when Apple sent out an announcement about Wednesday’s event with a spin on lyrics from a Rolling Stones song. “It’s only rock and roll, but we like it,” the invitation says.