Apple's special event: Seven and a half things to look for

New iPods and iTVs with streaming video? Will The Beatles finally come together with iTunes? No matter -- Cringely is finding it hard to get excited

Yes, it's a special day today. In just a few short hours we'll be witnessing yet another Apple special event (#347 in a series). This one will be even specialer than usual. Why? Because for the first time ever, you don't have to be there (or read one of the 9,726 "live blogs" regurgitating the event) to experience it.

Apple will be streaming this event live to the masses -- but only those masses who use Apple devices. Per the terse press release:

Apple® will broadcast its September 1 event online using Apple’s industry-leading HTTP Live Streaming, which is based on open standards. Viewing requires either a Mac® running Safari® on Mac OS® X version 10.6 Snow Leopard®, an iPhone® or iPod touch® running iOS 3.0 or higher, or an iPad™.

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And by "open standards," they mean open to everyone who owns an Apple device. (Though the folks at Techie-Buzz have a few ideas about how Windows/Linux types can get in on the streaming video action.)

I also love this line at the bottom of that release:

Apple is reinventing the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.

They really do use the word "magical" to describe the iPad. Unbelievable. David Copperfield should sue.

Anyway, what's going to happen today? As usual, the blogosphere is full of semi-informed guesses. Here's my own half-askew take.

1. Nothing at all. Steve will sit on a zafu cushion and quietly hum while the crowd contemplates his utter Steveness. Then after 20 minutes of this they'll break for bagels. It will be a very zen moment.

2. New iPod Touches. Also, new iPod Nanos. Yes, they're even smaller. And ... I'm sorry, I dozed off there for a second. Were you saying something?

3. TV show rentals for only 99 cents apiece! Which is twice as nice as $1.99 rentals and three times more charming than $2.99 rentals, but ... for this I shaved my legs?

4. The iTV. Which is just like the Apple TV, only with a much cooler,  shorter, and more trademarkable name. Also, it will use the iPhone OS, so you can finally run those fart apps on your big screen TV. Don't stand too close to the set.

5. Longer song samples on iTunes. That's right -- twice as much free Lady Gaga for your listening pleasure. Po-po-po-po-po-po-po-po-po-poker face.

6. Netflix streaming on the iTV, the iPod, and iPad. Which is really big news, because right now you can only stream Netflix shows to PCs, TiVo, Roku, Xbox, Playstation, Wii, Blu ray players, select HDTVs, and a few dozen other devices. Apple, leading the tech world yet again.

7. The white iPhone. Because dammit, the world needs one.

Oh, and one more thing:

7a. Meet The Beatles! Yes, the Fab Four will finally be available on iTunes. In fact, Sir Paul himself will be at the event and personally bless Steve Jobs, naming him the fifth sixth 12th 17th Beatle. Why do I predict this? Because every time Apple holds its annual music event, somebody predicts this. It has to come true eventually.

Need I add that the Apple hype has completely worn thin? I didn't think so.

What special things do you think Apple will unveil? Post your thoughts now before it's all over, or email me: cringe@infoworld.com.

This article, "Apple's special event: Seven and a half things to look for," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringeley's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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