The rumors spin ever faster about Apple's iTV device—it'll apparently change everything, including how we communicate with remote family members, and now there's some evidence that Apple is prepping its in-store employees for "something big."
iTV Will Change Everything
Digg's Kevin Rose stirred up lots of irumors with his latest proclamation about the refreshed Apple TV. Rose's leaks are not fabulously reliable, but he has a source, or possibly several, inside Apple—so it's worth paying some attention to what he says. And this time he's saying we should "expect to see the iTV launch in September."
Rose's hyperbole went even further than usual this time, suggesting that the new Apple TV could change pretty much everything. This influence extends from the apps the iTV would put on your home's biggest screen to the end of traditional programming, thanks to "on demand" TV coming as a de facto affair through apps, like one for CNN for example. Rose also sees the iPad as a key component in the mix, potentially acting as a huge remote control for the system, or even a games controller—thanks to its accelerometers.
I'd extend on his thinking, and add in the iPhone 4 (with its advanced gyro sensor suite) and the iPod Touch too—both devices that could easily act as convenient games controllers, and thereby bring Apple into the home gaming console business by the back door.
Rose also sees Mobile Me picture and video sharing as a killer app, with thousands of grandparents happy to buy something "simple" like an (iTV) set-top box instead of a full computer, to gain easy access to real-time updated photos and video of their grandkids.
Rose missed out on what I think may be the biggest killer feature of the iTV. Though there's little information about the actual hardware, we imagine the iTV will be getting a low-res room-facing camera. Why do we think this? Because Steve Jobs himself touted that Apple's new video conferencing/video calling system FaceTime would be available on "tens of millions" of devices by the end of the year—and while the iPhone 4 is selling well, Jobs' words imply more availability than this single gadget.
And just as FaceTime is getting thousands of folks all excited about the iPhone 4, a TV-based FaceTime system would reach even more users, not least because of the low $99 price point people are guesstimating for the iTV. While Skype and other VoIP systems have been offering video calling for ages, Apple as a brand brings a certain panache that might propel it into the mainstream.
Apple Preps its Sales Staff
Here's one final, tantalizing tidbit: MacDailyNews is hearing from "multiple" sources that Apple's busy prepping telesales employees for a new product that will be "huge" or "very big" and coming in "October" (just a bit after Rose predicted). If this is true, it sounds out of proportion for a revamp to any of Apple's existing product lines, and could easily be the new Apple TV. The timescale makes sense for a couple of reasons too: It deconflicts the iTV with Apple's back-to-school promotional push and its traditional September iPod update window, and it gives a couple of months of public awareness before the big holiday season spending spree.
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