It’s like clockwork. 9 PM PT rolls around on Monday evening, and Apple rolls out an update to the iTunes Store. You see, Tuesday is the day that new movies and music are typically released in the U.S., so it makes sense to overhaul the store at this time to show off that new content. Only tonight, that didn’t happen. Why? Because why roll out an update when you’re going to completely overhaul the store the following day?
As you’re probably well aware, Apple is holding an event in San Francisco this Wednesday. They tend to hold events related to iTunes and the iPod every year around this time, though this is a little earlier than normal. The invitation gives every indication that it will be music-related, but it will likely be more than that. Speculation is mounting that we’ll see an update to the Apple TV, called iTV, and some new iPod hardware as well. But iTunes itself is also due for some changes, and that’s very likely why we’re not seeing any updates tonight.
One such change may be the introduction of iTunes television show rentals. Apple has had movie rentals for some time now, but with television shows, you have only had the option to purchase up until now. For many people, this makes no sense — but $0.99 rentals might. Apple has clearly been tinkering with the television show layout pages, and it looks as if they may be making room for a new “rent” button below the “buy” one.
Oddly, the movie and music sections of iTunes haven’t been updated either. CNET reported earlier today that Apple is likely to double the song preview limit from 30 seconds to a minute, but that probably doesn’t require any front-end changes. Might something else be changing?
Meanwhile, if the iTV does come, movies are likely to be a big selling point of the device. Perhaps Apple is getting ready to emphasize that. Or maybe there will be some kind of new streaming video service?
To be clear, there is new content in the iTunes store. For example, here’s the movie Harry Brown which was released today. And here’s the new Heart CD that was released today. But Apple isn’t highlighting any of this new content as it normally does on Tuesdays with a front-end change. Again, likely because some major changes are coming to iTunes tomorrow. It’s quite likely that will include a new version of iTunes itself.
Update: Alright everyone, false alarm — well, maybe. Apple has finally updated the sections, but it is curious that it took this long. Perhaps the team is busy with other impending stuf…