Apple Rumor Roundup

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I think it says something about the state of Apple affairs when after just a few days, we've got a littering of new digital video products, a smattering of rumors and a few new patents to dig into. Yes, it's a good time to be an obsessive Mac fanboy. If you're looking for the full stories, look no further than today's "Geek News" section; if you're looking for a brief rundown of the latest rumors and their feasibility, well, you've come to the right place, compadre.

Top of mind for any good Mac fanboy is always OS X and that's why Friday's announcement that the OS would be delayed until October was such a crushing blow. The party line was that engineers needed to be pulled from the Leopard project in order to complete the iPhone OS, thereby delaying work on OS 10.5. I know that some of us like to think the folks in Cupertino are superhumans and by most estimates, they are. Still, the company was essentially trying to release two separate operating systems simultaneously--a Herculean task for even the likes of Batman (the geekiest of the superheroes, as evidenced by his subterranean nerd lab). This simple fact hasn't stopped the rumormongers, however, who claim that it's not the iPhone but rather OMG SUPER SECRET FEATURES that are delaying Apple's pride and joy. Yes, the company has been hinting at some yet unknown features in the OS. While it's possible that some sort of hardware/software integration is the cause of the delay, I wouldn't hold my breath for anything too mind blowing when the official answer makes a lot more sense.

Moving on, you might recall that earlier this week, we pointed to an Apple patent that seems to have some bearing on your living room. The patent details plans for a modular entertainment system that would allow multiple devices to be controlled via a single user interface. The living room is already getting pretty crowded with DVD players, cable boxes, TiVos, gaming systems and Slingboxes competing for your time. Controlling an array of such devices using a single, Front Row-like interface would make a lot of sense for the consumer. Will Apple launch a new device or will it simply update the existing Apple TV? And would Apple manufacture its own modules or would it simply offer a third-party plug-in? Ars Technica has a pretty good run down on the patent, which suggests answers to some of those questions.

Finally, there's the WiFi iPod rumor. It's a forgone conclusion that Apple is eventually going to have to bring some form of wireless connectivity to the iPod line of devices, after all, that's the way the winds are blowing in the world of digital audio players these days. But how soon? Rumors are leaking out of Taiwan (the magical land where iPods are born) that we could see an iPod with wireless sharing capabilities as soon as Q3 of this year. While Microsoft famously botched the sharing capabilities on the Zune, Apple could actually succeed at the social, since pretty much everyone has an iPod. But a WiFi-equipped iPod could seriously cannibalize sales of Apple's high-end device, the iPhone, if the feature sets are similar and the price point low enough. If Apple does indeed unleash WiFi iPods this year (and I'm quite skeptical of even that), expect them to be significantly different from the iPhone--at least for the time being. - Mehan

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