By Harry McCracken | Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 9:17 am
Forget the tablet. Ditto for the $800 MacBook. The greatest Apple vaporware of all time may be digital download versions of the Beatles catalog. I’ve lost track of how many Apple events I’ve attended that were preceded by the scuttlebutt that Steve Jobs would tell us that Apple had inked a deal with Apple Corp to put the Fab Four on iTunes. I’ve sat in auditoriums thick with the anticipation that they end would end with that happy news and a surprise appearance by Paul and/or Ringo.
Now the rumors are bubbling up again, based on the rumor (not yet confirmed by Apple) that new iPods will roll out on September 9th–the same day that a couple of new Beatles box sets and the Beatles Rock Band game hit store shelves. But 9 to 5 Mac is wondering just what Apple Corps. means by a statement in a recent press release:
Discussions regarding the digital distribution of the catalog will continue. There is no further information available at this time.
That might mean that the Beatles aren’t arriving on iTunes (or any other digital music venue) in a few weeks. Then again, it leaves copious wiggle room–maybe the discussions that are continuing involve the imminent digital release of said catalog.
I’m not exactly rooting for iPod-toting fans of the lads to be disappointed yet again on September 9th. But I wouldn’t be shattered if the words “John,” “Paul,” “George,” and “Ringo” weren’t spoken by anyone at the still-theoretical Apple event, either. Or any future Apple events, come to think of it. Building an Apple tablet is a job best left to professionals, and making a homemade $800 MacBook would likely involve more than $800 in parts. Creating a high-quality digital version of any Beatles album, however, can be done by anyone with a CD and a computer with an optical drive in minutes. Beatles fans can put the songs on their iPods; the Beatles get their money; we all get to continue the tradition of wondering about an official digital deal. If the Beatles did hit iTunes, we’d all have to switch to speculating about Garth Brooks, and it just wouldn’t be the same…