Apple's 99-Cent TV Rental, iTunes Event Set for September: Report

Apple has sent media invitations for a Sept. 1 event, which a Bloomberg report suggests will be used to unveil a new 99-cent TV show rental program and possibly the revamped Apple TV.

Apple has sent invitations to media for a Sept. 1 event in San Francisco. According to a new online report, the company could use its September event to debut the new "iTV," along with other refreshed products.

That report comes from Bloomberg, which also suggested that Apple is negotiating with content providers, including CBS and News Corp., to offer television shows for rental via iTunes. Rented episodes would cost 99 cents and last for 48 hours, according to unnamed sources close to those negotiations. Such a service would allow Apple to better compete against Hulu and Netflix, which offer growing libraries of television episodes.

Apple has a tradition of hosting September events, which it uses to unveil media- and music-centric products. This year's rumor mill has churned busily over the prospect of a revamped Apple TV, possibly dubbed "iTV," that according to tech blog Engadget will cost $99 and feature the ability to run apps.

Although Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook famously referred to Apple TV as the company's "hobby" during a Goldman Sachs technology conference in February, the tech industry's rising focus on the television as a digital hub-as highlighted by the recently announced Google TV-has possibly goaded Apple into a second look at the product. As it stands, the current Apple TV offers 160GB of storage and costs $229.

Other rumors have suggested an iPod refresh in imminent. "An iPhone parts supplier sent us these photos of what are claimed to be the front LCD and bezel of the upcoming [fourth]-generation iPod Touch," read an Aug. 5 posting on the MacRumors blog. "The new part clearly shows a front-sided hole that would leave room for a front-facing FaceTime camera."

Still more scuttlebutt hints at an even more substantial mobile-device revamp.

"Take this report with the requisite grains of salt, but here's what we've heard about the upcoming late 2010/early 2011 iPod, iPhone and iPad lineups from a highly reliable source," Jeremy Horwitz, editor in chief of iLounge, wrote Aug. 4. "Our sources' accuracy level is very high but not perfect, which is about as good as can be expected given the nature of Apple-related leaks."

According to that unnamed source, Apple will launch an iPod Shuffle with a touch -screen, a revamped iPod Nano and iPod Touch, a 7-inch iPad for either late 2010 or early 2011 release, and a fifth-generation iPhone possibly due in early 2011.

"As with so many seemingly farfetched early reports, it's not impossible," Horwitz wrote.

However, thanks to Apple's traditional veil of secrecy around its projects, the rumors will likely remain unconfirmed until an actual event-barring a leak on the scale of iPhone 4.