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Apple event roulette: Place your bets

Apple’s (AAPL) “secrecy machine” kicked back into high gear in the days leading up to Wednesday’s “It’s only rock and roll” event, according to Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber.

But that hasn’t stopped Gruber and the rest of the Apple-watching trade press from publishing surprisingly definitive (and deliciously contradictory) statements about what announcements Apple will and won’t be making in just a few hours.

Gruber, for example, confesses that he’s heard very little from his usually plugged-in sources, but goes right ahead and tells us what he knows:

  • The iPod touch is getting a camera, will match the iPhone in memory and processor speed and will come in three sizes: 16/32/64 GB for $199/299/399.
  • The iPod nano is also getting a camera.
  • The iPod classic isn’t going away just yet: they’ll bump the capacity to 160 GB from 120 GB and keep the price at $249.

Meanwhile, AppleInsider‘s Neil Hughes reports that we won’t be getting camera-equipped media players today; last-minute component problems have delayed their launch.

And what about the Beatles, Steve Jobs, iTunes and the Apple tablet? Everybody, it seems, has the inside line, including Yoko Ono.

  • TechCrunch‘s Jason Kinkaid: John Lennon’s widow spilled the beans, says Kinkaid. The entire Beatles back catalog will indeed be available for sale on iTunes, he says, citing a Sky News report that was pulled off the Web so quickly Google could only cache the headline.
  • All Things Digital‘s Peter Kafka: He’s sure Apple will someday sell the Fab Four’s music via iTunes, but his sources tell him it’s not happening at this keynote presentation. (UPDATE: “It’s not tomorrow,” Ernesto Schmitt, EMI’s global catalog president, told the Financial Times‘ Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson.)
  • CNBC‘s Jim Goldman: “The biggest release will be an upgraded Steve Jobs … the products will take a back seat to his return, quite literally, to center stage.”
  • Daring Fireball‘s Gruber: “I hope he’s up on stage doing his thing, but my gut still says no, that he’s done as the company’s spokesman.”
  • TechCrunch‘s MG Siegler: iTunes is moving off your computer (where it’s taking up huge gigabytes of hard disk space) and on to the cloud.
  • Wired‘s Brian X. Chen: “It’ll be at least one more year before Apple announces a move toward cloud computing for iTunes.”
  • Branstorm Tech‘s Michael Copeland: “They’re going to come out with a tablet and it’s going to be part of the iPod family.
  • All Things Digital‘s John Paczkowski: “Our sources insist [the Sept. 9 event] will not involve any discussion whatsoever of the tablet Apple is reportedly developing.”

Our prediction: there will be an Apple special event today at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts starting at 10 a.m. Pacific (1 p.m. Eastern) and we’ll find out then what Apple’s got up its sleeve.

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