Guessing Apple’s Next Move

Apple's 2009 Rock N' Roll Event

There’s a comfortable routine with an Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) announcement. A week before the press conference, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company sends out invitations to the press. Reporters then work furiously to scour the internet to find a reasonably priced flight given the short notice. Next, the speculating begins as to what Apple will announce.

To be sure, the process occurs on a very condensed schedule, and is based more on gut instinct, rather than facts. With that in mind, we’ve combed the web to find the leading reports on what Apple will announce, ranging from a social or streaming music service, an iTunes refresh, new iPods (leading to the discontinuation of old iPods) to a new TV service.

New iPods: The fall event is typically reserved for announcing new iPods before the holiday shopping season. Last year, Apple announced the iPod Nano with video-recording. This year, Apple could unveil a new iPod Touch with a camera, or forward-facing camera for FaceTime (NYSE: TWX). BusinessInsider.com theorizes that could mean Apple will retire the iPod classic, which it introduced almost 9 years ago.

Music and iTunes: Ever since Apple purchased Lala, it has been suspected that it will launch a streaming subscription music service. According to MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka, who spoke to a number of music executives, that’s not likely to be announced next week because Apple has yet to renegotiate its license deals. Rather, they suspect there will be a big overhaul of iTunes that will focus on making music more social. As part of that, Apple would relaunch iTunes as a lightweight, web-based version of the store within the browser. While you’d be able to share music suggestions with friends (via Twitter and Facebook), it would stop short of sharing songs with friends.

iTunes: Meanwhile, iTunes really does seem like an archaic piece of software that conflicts with Apple’s promise of making things so easy to use. PCWorld points out all the flaws in a piece that asks Apple to improve the experiences: “It is slow, sloppy and bloated. Starting it up took me 20 seconds just now, and it’s only due to good fortune that you’re not pestering me to download another software update. When updates occur, you always try to sneak in that Safari install, no matter how many times I uncheck the box. Your intentions are good, but you’re acting like malware.”

Apple TV: Apple is reportedly working on relaunching its Apple TV service, which would offer 99-cent video rentals from at least one broadcast network and possibly two. The launch could come as early as September, but it’s unclear whether it will be ready to unveil by next week. The new version is likely to be called iTV.

Any other possibilities?

Take our Twitter poll: What do you think Apple will announce at next week’s event? http://twtpoll.com/loq7yf

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