As Apple's September 9 event nears, the rumor mill kicks into overdrive as reports of tablet computers and a Beatles music deal with iTunes storm the Internet.
If there are two things Apple is likely to always provide, one is a line of pricey, attractively designed consumer electronics and computers and the other, of course, is a tidal wave of rumors and speculation whenever a highly anticipated, closely guarded product is (presumably) soon to launch. With Apple keeping mum about most aspects of its event planned for Sept. 9, the rumor mill is again ratcheting up, with unconfirmed reports on the Internet predicting everything from the release of a tablet computer to the release of (finally) The Beatles' entire catalog on iTunes.
Apple's tablet project, the worst-kept secret on the Internet at the moment, has been drawing close attention for months now. Earlier this month, Barron's reported an unnamed analyst has reportedly gotten a look at the 10-inch tablet the company has in the works, which features a 10-inch screen and integrated 3G, according to the financial publication.
The tablet is expected to be priced between $699 and $799 and, as a media- and game-focused device, be capable of playing high-definition movies. During a conference call in July, Apple COO Tim Cook refused to confirm rumors that Apple is developing a tablet PC that would bridge the product gap between the iPod Touch and Macs.
Adding to frenzy of tablet rumors was a research note released earlier this month by Piper Jaffray. The Apple tablet PC would be cheaper than a MacBook but still more expensive than the mininotebooks, or netbooks, that are currently dominating sales on the lower end of the PC market. Despite that higher price point, Piper Jaffray sees an Apple tablet PC as a challenger in the netbook market, as well as competing against mobile devices from companies such as Amazon.com.
The Aug. 7 report, written by analyst Gene Munster along with analysts Michael Olson and Andrew Murphy, predicts that Apple will roll out "a touch-screen device similar to an iPod Touch but larger."
Another rumor concerns the release of legendary rock band The Beatles' catalog of songs on iTunes. The date of the event would coincide with the release of a version of the video game Rock Band featuring the group's songs. And on The Official Beatles Shop Website, Sept. 9 is listed as the date digitally remastered reissues of their songs will become available.
The long and winding road to the release of The Beatles' songs on iTunes is by no means assured, however, with former member George Harrison's son Dhani Harrison telling music magazine Blender he thinks Apple's per-song pricing is unfair to the band. Meanwhile, Paul McCartney suggested to the Guardian newspaper that the process has again stalled, though he supported the effort to bring the band's music to iTunes.
Despite all the anticipatory tongue wagging, not everything is going well at Apple. Earlier this week, Apple began investigating reports of iPhones exploding in Europe, according to a spokeswoman for the European Commission. According to some news outlets, in at least one case Apple has offered to reimburse an owner, with the agreement that the terms and existence of the settlement were to remain confidential. Since their June arrival, European iPhones have reportedly overheated to the point of discoloration, had issues with quickly draining batteries and suffered from an overly delicate screen.
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