Christmas 2.0, or the Apple Stevenote

Part of me is cooly professional about the whole thing, the rest of me is giddy as a schoolgirl. Apple's Steve Jobs will counterpoint the hoopla from CES with his keynote at MacWorld Expo. Steve won't take the stage for several hours, but the Wall Street Journal has already started the drip, drip, drip of news:

The anticipation for this year's Macworld — the main trade show for Apple products — has been unusually strong, stoked by a widening array of bloggers who constantly churn out Apple rumors.

For one thing, people familiar with the matter say Apple is working on a device that combines the iPod with a cellphone, which is expected to be announced as early as today. Cingular Wireless, owned by AT&T Inc., will provide cellphone service to go with the phone, these people say. Such a product would give Apple access to the huge wireless business, with nearly a billion handsets shipped every year. That dwarfs the nearly 70 million iPods Apple has sold over the past five years.

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling declined to comment on what he called "rumor and speculation" when asked about a Cingular-Apple deal.

The language is loaded with careful hedges, to be sure, but the Journal's decision to run with the story puts some weight behind what, until now, had been speculation.

Also of note, the roster of studios putting their movie titles on the iTunes Store stands to grow one name longer, with Viacom joining Disney:

n a deal that Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs could announce as early as Tuesday at his Macworld conference, Apple plans to start selling Paramount titles on its iTunes service, according to people familiar with the situation.

For the moment, the deal will only cover Paramount's back catalog, the people said. Paramount's catalog includes titles such as "Forrest Gump," "Mission: Impossible" and "The Truman Show."

Until the studio can allay fears among their retail partners that new DVD releases won't suffer from a digital sales channel, Paramount will stick to their back catalog.

Tags: , , , , , , ,