Actually, Apple, I bet I can forget all about tomorrow

Company's hype machine swings into action for latest breathtaking announcement

It's fair to say that Apple is one of the most successful companies of all-time when it comes to generating buzz. And the company is at it again with a cryptic message that greets visitors to its web site: Predictably, the tease kicked off endless online speculation about what Apple will be announcing. The top guess is that Apple is going to unveil a cloud-based streaming service for its iTunes music store. Two potential pieces of evidence supporting this theory: 1) The company says its 500,000-square-foot data center being built in Maiden, N.C., should be up and running by the end of the year, and 2) Tuesday's event is online-only, unlike most of Apple's dog and pony shows where they're unveiling a new device.

(By the way, there's an interesting side story involving what Apple had to do to get the land it needed for the data center.) The second-most-popular guess is that Apple will announce that The Beatles' catalog will be available for digital download for the first time. The absence of songs by the most popular band in history has always made iTunes seem incomplete. But years of negotiations haven't brought a deal between Apple and the surviving members of the group, along with representatives of the estates of the late John Lennon and George Harrison. Maybe things have changed. The third theory is that Steve Jobs will announce he has personally brokered a peace agreement in the Mideast. I'll put my money on the cloud-based streaming service, but I hope everyone will forgive me if I don't swoon. While I have a certain admiration for Apple and its ability to stoke interest in its announcements, there's a certain self-aggrandizement accompanying these efforts that makes me roll my eyes. We're just talking about personal technology, people. Yes, it's cool, yes, it's fun. But will a streaming media service from Apple change anybody's life? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say no. So, yeah, I'll be mildly interested in what Apple has to say tomorrow. But I won't be breathlessly live-blogging or live-tweeting the announcement Tuesday like a dutiful Apple media fanboy. I'll leave that for others. I'm also happy to see that not everyone is under the influence of Apple's famous Reality Distortion Field. I've seen some pretty funny comments around the web from other people who find the Apple event hype tiresome. A few examples: * "Apple has many days I will always remember. I still haven't forgotten the day all the iDrones stood in line to buy an iPhone to replace the one they purchased 1 year prior." * "Can't wait. I could use a good yawn." * "Now that all their products have magic in them, perhaps Jobs is going to introduce Pixie/Fairy Dust!" * "They're going to announce that they've finally grown tired of making gigantic announcements for mundane rehashes of their products." Feel free to express your own underwhelment below.

Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.

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