Apple’s Project ‘Cocktail’ Coming in September

The Financial Times is claiming that Apple has been collaborating with EMI, Sony, Warner, and Universal to bring a new project, nicknamed “cocktail,” this September.

This new project is focused on convincing more consumers to purchasing whole albums rather than individual tracks. iTunes has been offering exclusive tracks and PDF liner notes with album purchases for a while now but this new initiative will bring even more extras to the table.

Apple wants to make bigger purchases more compelling by creating a new type of interactive album material, including photos, lyric sheets and liner notes that allow users to click through to items that they find most interesting. Consumers would be able to play songs directly from the interactive book without clicking back into Apple’s iTunes software, executives said.

The September launch date coincides with the presumed launch date of the next iPod lineup.

In the same report the Financial Times asserts that Apple is “racing to offer a portable, full-featured, tablet-sized computer in time for the Christmas shopping season.” This directly contradicts AppleInsider’s recent report of the device being planned for a launch next year. AppleInsider has restated that their sources have been historically reliable.

Aside from stating a new release time frame, the Financial Times also says that the tablet device will connect to “Apple’s online stores” and that book publishers are optimistic about the tablet becoming an alternative to the Amazon Kindle.

FT.com / Technology – Apple joins forces with record labels.

Update 7/29/09: AppleInsider is now under the impression that some of these recent rumors that contradict their own sources may be confusing “tablet computer” with iPod touch. I can see how this might happen. Let’s face it, the iPod touch is a computer. Regardless of whether the tablet is coming this September or early next year evidence is mounting that it is a real product that is coming very soon.

Update 7/29/09: 9 to 5 Mac thinks that the premium App Store section rumor that was originally published by PocketGamer.biz might be for the upcoming tablet not the iPhone as it was originally thought.

Update 8/6/09: Tiernan Ray writing for Barron’s claims that “One veteran analyst” has seen the prototype for the upcoming Apple tablet and that it could be announced in September for a November release.

Update 8/6/09: AppleInsider reports on a research note from Kauffman Bros. which claims Apple has purchased screens from 4 to 12 inches over the past two years that could be used in tablet devices.

In a research note issued Tuesday, Kaufman Bros. revealed that Apple has bought screen sizes of 4, 7, 9, 10 and 12 inches over the last two years. Some of the purchases were allegedly of such a large amount that the firm suspects they were for more than a simple sample, but a more significant small production run. Based on that information, the analysis predicts that Apple will launch at least one — but possibly multiple — new devices in the near future.

Update 8/12/09: guardian.co.uk is reporting that the major labels have been developing their own music file format. This new file format, CMX, will likely compete with Apple’s upcoming Cocktail. Unfortunately the new format is likely to be unsupported by iPod and iPhones and therefore won’t be very successful.