UPDATE: Apple has sent out press invitations for a music themed event for Sept. 1. Historically, Apple has used the September event to launch new versions of its iPod line.
Bloomberg is now reporting the next generation Apple TV, rumored to be renamed the iTV, will be unveiled at the annually anticipated Apple event next month.
The event, which will supposedly take place on Sept. 7, will likely also launch the new iPod touch, which is rumored to have a Retina Display like the iPhone 4. Cameras and FaceTime support are also very likely. However, it’s the new Apple TV and associated content that is the focus of the latest rumor.
According to Bloomberg, Apple is in advanced talks with ABC, CBS, and FOX, as well as Time Warner, but possibly not NBC, to bring $0.99 rentals of television shows to the iTunes Store, something first unearthed by NewTeeVee a few weeks ago. Television shows would be available for rental within 24 hours of air date, and, similar to movie rentals, consumers would have 48 hours to finish viewing once started.
While a $0.99 rental is significantly less than buying an episode for $1.99 or $2.99, it appears that Apple has now abandoned ambitious plans for a subscription-based model for video at $30 a month.
As for the Apple TV — or possibly the iTV — it’s said to be getting both a price drop to $99 from $229, as well as an unspecified reduction in hard drive size. The emphasis would now be on streaming content, and that could be in keeping with rumors of Apple offering a cloud-based video-on-demand service.
It will be four years ago next month that Steve Jobs declared “Apple is in your living room” with the unveiling of what was then called the iTV. That became the Apple TV when it launched in 2007, followed by the “Take Two” relaunch in 2008.
To date, Apple has never released sales numbers for the Apple TV, and in 2008, Steve Jobs admitted to Fortune that the device, as well as every other set-top box had failed “– everybody’s tried. And everybody’s failed. We failed, so far.” It was at that time Jobs declared the Apple TV to be a “hobby” for Apple.
Unfortunately, that’s not likely to change if this latest iteration of the Apple TV turns out to be real. Simply lowering the price of television rentals and the device itself isn’t enough. The average show of 20 or so episodes would cost $25 a year, assuming no season pass discount. If you watch more than a few shows, cable television is still a better deal.
In order for the Apple TV, or iTV, to succeed it must transition from being an iTunes Store kiosk in the living room to an entertainment portal. That means allowing access to Netflix, Boxee and other video services. It also means a few simple games and apps, possibly using an iPhone or an iPod touch as a controller.
Whether this will be a re-imagining of Apple’s set-top box is clearly up to Apple, but based upon past releases the rumored iTV is looking like another rerun.
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