What to Expect When You’re Expecting: Apple Edition

Yesterday Apple announced they would be holding an event on September 1, but didn’t give much detail on what would be discussed. They did say it would be a musical event, and the invites came with this picture:

Tech experts predict the main focus would be on the iPod, given that at around the same time last year and the year before that, Apple’s announcements were mostly about new iPod technology. The iPhone 4 features a front-facing camera, so it’s possible Apple will announce this feature for the new iPod Touch.

MacRumors.com found leaked pictures of, supposedly, the new iPod Touch. They confirm that the iPod has a front-facing camera, which would allow the user to engage in FaceTime chats (video calls) with their friends. They also found that in the new iPod Touch, you can connect on FaceTime not just through phone numbers, but e-mail addresses as well.

But all this information leads me to a very important question: how similar does Apple want the iPhone and iPod Touch to be? So far, it seems like the sole difference between the two is that you can’t call people on the iPod Touch. Except for FaceTime. Actually, come to think of it, the only real difference between the iPhone and iPod Touch is that one of them lets you dial numbers to talk to someone and the other doesn’t.

On the other hand, there is a Skype app available for the iPod Touch. So I’m not really sure what the big differences are here.

But enough of this tangent, let’s get back to Apple’s big event. Some think Apple will take the opportunity to announce the iTV, a new technology from Apple that would take the place of your cable box and allow you to not only watch your favorite TV shows for a dollar, but could stream iTunes music and run applications on the same operating system that powers the iPhone 4. Basically, you’ll be able to switch between watching TV, music, and apps right on the big screen. It’s an update from Apple’s present system Apple TV.

There’s just one problem: Apple might get sued over the name.

Apple is no stranger to lawsuits over names and such. Cisco had the “iPhone” before they did, but Apple won out in the end after coming to an agreement. This time, the battle will be between iTV and ITV.

ITV is a British television network that is known for being a British television network that is NOT the BBC. ITV has vowed to challenge Apple if they try to refer to their next version of Apple TV as “iTV.”

Oh, and then there’s that other problem: competition from Google.

The technological giant is releasing Google TV this fall, and truth be told, it looks a lot more impressive than what Apple’s working on. Google creates a whole new technical interface on your TV screen that lets you seamlessly switch between watching shows, browsing the web, and playing apps. If you aren’t sure what channel a program you’re looking for is on, you can find it easily with an on-screen Google search. And if the program in question isn’t on at the moment, you can search for a show and then automatically get it recorded for later on.

The other cool thing about Google TV is its picture-in-picture feature. You can keep watching your favorite TV show while checking your e-mail, going on Twitter, or using an app. The apps, by the way, are the same ones you’d find on an Android phone.

The key difference between iTV and Google TV is time. Google TV lets you watch TV as it happens, while Apple iTV lets you rent shows from the iTunes Store.

However, one area where Apple has the advantage is precisely where the iTunes Store is concerned. Like many of you, I download music and movies directly from iTunes, and it gets stored on my computer. The issue here is that we can’t buy as many movies as we want, because our computers only have so much disk space.

That’s why one new innovation Apple may be announcing next week is a cloud-based “server farm” where your iTunes purchases are stored. Instead of saving the files on your network, they’re saved on this huge server owned by Apple and you can access them whenever you want.

The long shot item Apple might bring up during this event is the iPhone. This year has not exactly been a good press year for the iPhone, from the Gizmodo incident to the reception problems to the light leakage in the as-yet-unreleased white iPhones. However, Apple might have some iPhone news for fans next week. One thing I hope they talk about if the iPhone is featured is what their plans are for improving these problematic phones. They should use the opportunity to explain when they’re going to fix the white iPhones.

Now, the longest of long shots here would be if Apple finally announces the Verizon iPhone. It has been a long long long road of speculation in tech circles when Apple would decide that a lot of Verizon customers want to get an iPhone without leaving their current cell phone plan.

A lot of people writing about this now are suggesting the Verizon iPhone will be available by January 2011. If that’s the case, next week’s event would be a perfect opportunity to make the official announcement. Once Tech tAUk returns to the airwaves and the Verizon iPhone is officially announced, we’ll be talking about this issue a lot.

You’ve got to give Apple credit. They know how to hype. It doesn’t matter what happens after the product is released, they can hype it. We’ll see if next week’s event will give us enough to be excited about.

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