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Apple Takes Streets Of San Francisco

Steve Jobs' company is expected to launch new iPod Touch next week at downtown arts center.
Not a company to shy away from hype, Apple has signaled next week's event at the Yerba Buena Center for The Arts by wrapping the San Francisco facility in a giant banner, Christo style, that reflects the musical theme behind the press conference.

The floor-to-rooftop graphic depicts an acoustic guitar in which the hole has been replaced with the Apple logo. It mirrors the image that adorned invitations to the event.

The musical theme has given rise to widespread speculation that Apple will use the Sept. 1 confab to launch a new version of the iPod Touch. Analysts believe it will feature dual cameras—one rear facing and one that's forward facing. A front-facing camera would allow buyers to use Apple's FaceTime video conferencing app on the device.

The new iPod Touch also could include greater storage capacity. The most available currently for iPod Touch is 64GB, on the model that sells for $399.

Although the iPod dominates the MP3 music player market, sales have tapered off of late. Unit sales slid 7.7% year-over-year, to 9.41 million, in the second quarter, according to Apple. The company is hoping the introduction of a new model will reinvigorate the franchise, which has taken a backseat to buzzworthy products like the iPad and iPhone 4.

Some analysts also speculate that Apple will also introduce a beefed up television console.

The company is rumored to be in talks with major networks with an eye to offering TV episode rentals through a service that would be called iTV. Apple's current settop service, Apple TV, has largely failed to catch on with consumers.