The big show to come

Yes, the word is out, and it’s “Showtime” – Apple’s classically cheeky way of hinting just a little as to its plans for a special event. This one’s being held at a theater – just like the iPod photo and 5G video introductions – and the graphic accompanying the invitation depicts what appear to be spotlights. Is this a little Hollywood reference to herald the announcement of an iTunes Movie Store? Or is Apple just playing around? If we were betting, we’d guess the former, but who really knows?

As always, tons of rumors have been circulating about this event – most pointing to a huge, blowout collection of announcements that would be Apple’s equivalent of Shock and Awe for the holidays – but as noted in our news story, it’s literally impossible to know until the last minute what will actually be shown.

Apple is constantly working on new products, and even if you’ve been trying to put the puzzle pieces together (Samsung CPU + metal body + flash memory = iPod mini 2?; AirPort Express + video = AirPort Express 2?; iPod 5G + widescreen + touchscreen = true iPod video), it’s really all guesswork.

Well, almost always. Last week, the Internet Radio show Your Mac Life correctly predicted the 9/12 event date, then suggested that it would be used to launch an iPod phone in conjunction with Cingular Wireless, featuring a touchscreen and seamless transition between iPod and phone interfaces.

Bummer factor, according to YML: a crazy $500 price tag. The show has since retracted its comments (even including the 9/12 date) as speculation, but appetites have been whet for the concept of an iPhone for ages, and the show’s (semi-retracted) claims have only re-ignited everyone’s interest.

Before you get too excited about any specific product, recall that the rumor mill was calling for the release of Apple-branded HDTVs and masses of other consumer electronics earlier this year, and they never emerged.