The early consensus is that Apple’s big announcement tomorrow could be some sort of iTunes streaming service.
Apple just put up a big tease on its homepage, advertising a secret surprise announcement, which will make tomorrow a day “that you’ll never forget.”
It’s weird that Apple would announce something that’s actually big without a Steve Jobs media event, but we’ll let that pass for now.
So what’s coming tomorrow?
Many of the smart guesses we’re seeing on Twitter are that Apple will launch some sort of iTunes music streaming service.
It has been about a year since Apple bought Lala, another music streaming site, but so far, iTunes hasn’t seen any music streaming updates.
But according to a source close to the music industry, rumour has it that there has been a big “breakthrough” in streaming rates. (We’re still digging on that, let us know if you have more information.)
In theory, this could permit Apple to operate a cheap (or maybe even free?) music streaming service with much lower costs, which would allow it compete with the likes of Pandora, Spotify (in Europe), etc.
This might cannibalise iTunes song sales a bit. But that’s OK — iTunes mostly exists to help sell more iPods, iPhones, Macs, and iPads. Apple would happily sell fewer song downloads to sell more gadgets.
Another source thinks the Lala team has been focused almost entirely on video projects. So maybe tomorrow’s announcement has more to do with video than music? Perhaps a Netflix- and Comcast-killer streaming bundle? This seems less likely, but anything’s possible.
It’s also possible this is just the iOS 4.2 update that’s launching for the iPad and iPhone, with some partners to announce for AirPlay, which lets you beam your media around your house.
Update: And, just as we posted, here’s a note blasted out by Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster:
“Apple announced that it will host an online iTunes-related event at 10am ET on 11/16. We believe Apple could announce a cloud-based iTunes service for content streaming to connected devices. Moreover, we do not expect Apple to announce a music subscription service.”
Let us know if you’ve heard anything: [email protected] Anonymity guaranteed.
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