iTunes to go high def, new Macs coming

The Apple TV is currently seen by Apple as more of a hobby than a serious product - that may change very soon

Apple's biggest-ever year isn't over yet - and the company still has several more things to reveal before the year is out, according to 'reliable sources' being quoted by Mac rumour sites.

The first of these is that iTunes will finally go HD, giving you the ability to buy 720p high definition versions of movies and music videos from the iTunes Store. This will tie in with a range of new Apple TV products, some of which will include optical disc drives.

It also suggests that an iPod firmware update could be in the works that will enable the portable players to offer 720p playback. All the new iPod models have the ability to stream video to a TV using component video connections, which are crucial for HD playback. Indeed Apple also now sells component video AV cables for the iPod range.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has described Apple TV as something of 'a hobby', and the Apple TV has received indifferent reviews from our sister titles like Mac Format and Home Cinema Choice. The addition of an optical drive would be very welcome - although it'd be even better if Apple took the opportunity of a revamp to finally add some substance to its support of the Blu-ray Disc format.

Mac mini R.I.P.

The current Mac mini is also expected to be scrapped, and replaced with a smaller, slimmer version, possibly dubbed the Mac nano.

The Mac nano is expected to be joined by something Mac users have long clamoured for: an ultra-portable Mac laptop, possibly named the Macbook nano. Rumours also suggest that the ultra-portable could sport a multi-touch interface like the iPod touch and iPhone, which would pit it directly against Wintel's Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC).

All these announcements are expected to take place around or after the launch of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, which is expected to go on sale on Friday 26 October.