Apple issued invitations on Monday to media and analysts for a special event in San Francisco. The agenda for the event was not specified but Apple normally refreshes its iPod product line in September to boost back-to-school sales of the music players. But this September affair has a hint of mystery and perhaps a big surprise for music lovers. Apple normally holds events like these on Tuesdays.
In this case, the event is on a Wednesday. That's the same day the Beatles remastered digital albums and a new Beatles themed video game will be released, Rolling Stone points out. The tagline on the invitation was "It's only rock & roll but we like it!" (a Rolling Stones song title which is classic Apple-style ironic marketing). Apple has long sought to bring the Beatles catalog into iTunes but the two parties have yet to reach an agreement on licensing matters.
One thing that is not on the agenda for this event, according to TUAW, is the release of a new Apple tablet or netbook device. With sales of its traditional iPod platforms on the decline as the old style of music player gives way to a newer wave of touchscreen equipped, wireless capable devices like the wildly popular iPod Touch, a full product line revamp is probably in the cards.
Another surprise that might cheer the faithful is the possible homecoming of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, a possibility raised by Barron's TechTracker blog. Jobs has not publicly appeared at any Apple events since health issues forced him to temporarily step down from the CEO job. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster predicted that all the new iPods would have digital cameras and that Apple would releases a new version of iTunes for the event.
Investors have yawned at the hype, with Apple shares trading sideways and slightly downwards since the announcement. That's not surprising as the iPod line contributes significant revenues but relatively insignificant profits to Apple as compared to the far more lucrative iPod and Mac product lines.