New iPods on the way?

Apple is holding its fall event Wednesday, and devotees are buzzing with anticipation.

By Kim Peterson Aug 31, 2010 2:58PM

Credit: (© Paul Sakuma/AP)
Caption: Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds the new iPhone 4Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen. Apple's (AAPL) annual fall event is Wednesday, and the Web is buzzing with predictions about what will be announced.

As usual, Apple has kept details about the affair top secret. And as usual, Apple shares are starting to climb higher as speculation mounts.

The iPod line is a focus of the chatter, as many expect to see a refresh of the device that turned Apple from a runner-up into a rock star. Could we also see a new iPad or an improved Apple TV? Here's a roundup of the Apple rumors flying around:

TV show rentals. Apple wants to offer online rentals of television shows for 99 cents -- a move that is striking fear into the heart of the entertainment industry. You can buy episodes on iTunes for as much as $3.99 right now.

Would discount rentals destroy the profit potential here, or would they usher in a new era of television watching? Many experts think Apple will announce the episode-rental service Wednesday.


Post continues after video:

New iPods.
This is all but a given for many in the tech crowd. Glimpses of new cases and accessories online are spurring rumors of a fourth-generation iPod Touch and a sixth-generation iPod Nano in the works, Engadget reports.

Many are expecting a new iPod Touch with many features of the iPhone 4, such as dual cameras or even 3G connectivity. The Nano might be smaller and have a tiny touchscreen. Some companies are so sure of a new Nano that they're already making covers for the device, Mac Rumors reports.

Apple TV. The company's TV service is a rare dud for Apple. The pressure is on to improve that experience, as Google (GOOG) and others rapidly develop their own pay-per-view systems. Apple needs to overhaul its Apple TV service in a way that can compete with Netflix (NFLX) and the Comcasts (CMCSA) of the world.

iTunes song samples. Before buying a song on iTunes, you can preview it by listening to a 30-second snippet. Not enough time at all, particularly when you can go to YouTube and other places and hear the whole darn thing. Apple is expected to extend the sample song length to as much as 90 seconds.
A new iPad? I've been waiting not-so-patiently for a new iPad to be announced, holding fast to my promise to never buy a first version of anything. But I may have to wait a while longer. It's unlikely a new iPad will be coming so soon after the first one was launched.

A "mystery app"? This is intriguing. There are rumors that the new iLife '11 product could have a mystery app that will help users create their own apps for their own devices. Turning regular Apple fans into software developers? Now that would be an accomplishment.

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