Mum is no longer the word… is it Auntie?

This is the last time I’ll indulge in this sort of iTunes-HD speculation until at least January 2008. I will freely admit that it’s colored by wishful thinking, but here are some thoughts about Tuesday’s upcoming press conference at the Regent Street that allow me to hope that Apple could possibly advance the state of the art in Hi-Def video delivery.

I’m not denying an iPhone announcement. That would be a fool’s bet. I just think there could be something else cooking as well.

1) It’s been quiet on the new television season front. While there are a few US shows whose seasons have already started, the big series seem to be starting from Sunday (23 September). Last year, many pre-paid, discounted season passes were trumpeted and pushed on the iTunes store. The distinct impression I get is that the store is waiting for something.

2) As I’ve pointed out before, if Apple wants to include high-definition televisual content on its store, it is best done at the start of the US TV season. Changing mid-season will confuse and frustrate users. The next opportunity will be September 2008.

3) The BBC has a lot of high-definition content that’s just begging to be more widely distributed than it currently is. “Planet Earth” is consistently cited as a best-selling title in both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray formats. Selling titles like “Hotel Babylon,” “Robin Hood,” and “Torchwood,” for example, might actually benefit from the one-at-a-time taster format of the iTunes store (rather than the outlay required for a whole season on disc).

4) Partnering with content producers like the BBC may well be a way for Apple to soldier forward with its ambitious plans: Hollywood and the major American TV broadcast networks have been digging their heels in response to Apple’s increasing power as a digital content distributor.