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The Beatles, Steve Jobs and Apple's Magical Mystery event

Text by Sébastian SEIBT

Latest update : 2009-09-09

On Tuesday, Apple holds its annual end-of-summer event. As usual, the subjects, announcements and star appearances are under the tightest of wraps, sending the media rumour mill into overdrive.

Will the next iPod have a camera? Will the Beatles' albums finally be available on iTunes? And will Apple's CEO Steve Jobs, who has been out of the limelight after undergoing a liver transplant, make a much-awaited public appearance?

Some clues lie in the way Apple's annual event has been billed.
A Hard Day's Night
Backing up the Beatles connection is the scheduling of the Apple event for September 9, 2009 - or 09/09/09.
"Number nine, number nine, number nine," is the phrase chanted repeatedly on the Beatle's White Album.
Because of long arguments over licensing and a protracted court battle over the brand name "Apple", the Beatles' albums have been unavailable for (legal) Internet download.

If this all changes, it will be a monumental moment in Apple's history.


"Getting the Beatles in iTunes is something that's been expected for some time," technology analyst Rob Enderle of Silicon Valley's Enderle Group told AFP. "This may be when they finally do it."


Could it be a coincidence that the Liverpool rock band, which dominated the British music scene in the 1960s and became, in John Lennon's words, "bigger than Jesus", is set to release a digitally remastered catalogue of their music titled "The Beatles: Rock Band" on the very same day?


The name of the conference itself - "It's only rock 'n' roll but I like it" - is a nod to classic British rock music, in this case the Rolling Stones. And nods don't get much more explicit that that.


Hello, Goodbye


This leads to the next big question that has Apple fans excited: has the iPod "classic" sung its swan song? What's next for the iPod, the Californian company's ubiquitous digital music player that has dominated the market since its launch in 2001?


Rob Enderle says upgraded iPods may be on display at Wednesday's event, leading to speculation that Apple may be moving away from the traditional music-only iPod to something closer to its flagship iPhone.

Consigning the iPod Classic to history would have the added benefit of freeing up funds to develop the iPod Touch (which has a touch-screen) and the tiny Nano.
"We may see enhancements to the iPod line to get people putting them back on their Christmas list again," Enderle said. "The iPod Touch might get a camera, which would a natural for that device."

One device that may not see the light of day on Tuesday is Apple's iPad, a tablet computer combining a mini computer and electronic book reader. Rumour has it the gadget is not yet ready for the market.

Here Comes the Sun

Will Apple's legendary CEO Steve Jobs finally make a public appearance? Fans have decided that Jobs, unseen in public for almost a year, probably will.

Jobs has always played a central role in his company's annual "event", which has always been a PR excercise as carefully crafted as Apple's uber-designed products themselves.

"I would be very surprised if they didn't have him there in some shape or form," Enderle said. "Maybe they will video-conference him in."

Date created : 2009-09-09