MacRumors sources claimed the September 7 date. Loop Insight later clarified the event will take place on September 1. These sources also point out that the date coincides with the end of Apple's 'Back to School' free iPod touch offer.
Bloomberg claims Apple is in advanced talks with News Corp. to let iTunes users rent TV shows for 99 cents each.
A later report claimed Walt Disney is also in the frame for the service, though CBS and NBC are reluctant to sign-up for fear of denting existing iTunes profits.
From Bloomberg: "Viewers would be able to rent programs from News Corp.'s Fox for 48 hours, said the people, who declined to be identified because discussions aren't public. CBS Corp. and Walt Disney Co., where Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs is a board member and the largest shareholder, also are in talks about joining the effort, the people say."
More affordable TV show rentals is likely Apple's response to problems encountered by the company when it tried to agree an online TV subscription service.
About the Benjamins
TV content producers were understood to reject these overtures because they felt the service would damage cable and satellite television incomes.
TV episodes will reportedly be made available within 24 hours of going on air and will be free of commercials unlike most on-demand services.
That's the kind of resistance Google is facing right now as it attempts to wean just a little interest from content providers in its own try at a TV service, Google TV.
That only US content providers are thought to be involved in these discussions at present underlines expectation the new TV service will be introduced in the US only, at least initially.
Apple likes to keep its pre-launch negotiations as secret and small in scope as it can.
In a sense, this rental model undercuts purchase, but it's the way the world is going," said Tom Adams, president of Screen Digest Inc., speaking to Reuters.
Adams notes that existing ad-supported TV show services don't make much money for networks, while Apple's plan could generate serious income, particularly in the event it maintains its customary 30/70 revenue split in favor of the content provider.
CBS is actively exploring new digital models now, telling analysts during its financial results call earlier this month,
"We're going to be trying lots of things with Comcast to put our media online and our content online. By the same token, it doesn't limit us to do other deals outside of it."
There's an interesting discussion on the future of TV here.