I'm looking forward to Sept. even more now with all this hype and news about a product i would buy if they beefed it up. Which it sounds like they will eventually. A good frist start would be to put a modified version of the iOS on the aTV. Include internet browsing, the ability to control the aTV from a iPhone/Touch or include a Wii-style remote with fold-out keyboard. Man, would the App Store sales shine after introducing that.
Now, with iTunes subscription services. Well, sounds like a missed opportunity for Apple. I have the Netflix account that's unlimited rentals @ 3 at a time for 18 bucks and i can't see how Apple can't compete with that, and we watch 3 DVD's per week on minimum. Maybe by shifting the focus to live and new streaming content will iTunes be able to compete. But then there's HULU and others, not to mention most networks broadcast their current shows streaming for free as well.
Sure my cable bill is about $85 a month (maybe higher), but Apple couldn't possible work out deals with all the programs that i watch. they only contain about 25%-30% of the show i watch anyway, and they don't even have all the seasons of those shows.
Now for the future Apple Television (as not to be confused with the box). Well, that seems like a market that Apple doesn't want to mess with if you ask my opinion. The TV market is way too saturated and seems like Apple would just loose out, they may cater to the upper 10% of the market, and they may be happy with that. But to come into the game this late, just sounds like a waste of time. What could Apple possibly offer than nobody else has already figured out? Yes, integration with the computer is coming, but i've been hearing that story for about 6-7 years already and haven't seen anything really promising.
The TV and Home Entertainment hardware industry is too flexible on price than i believe Apple is willing to compete with. Look at the prices of HDTV's since 2005. I bought a 37" flat panel HDTV in 2005 for $2300. Today you can buy one almost identical, save for some updated features like internet access, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc built-in. It can cost you around 50-70% of the 2005 figures.
Now, looking at the History of how Apple prices it's devices, I just don't see the same flexibility. Apple's Hardware prices (save for the iPod and iPhone) have been relatively stable in the last 5 years. The iMac, MacBooks have all been priced at a point where they have gone down a little, but not 50%. The home entertainment hardware industry is way too cut-throat on price for Apple. Granted this is a company that primarily caters to the upper echelon markets, but with the invention of the iPod and the iPhone, that has changed slightly.
Personally, i'd rather see Apple tackle the HT STB first before diving into TV's. If they charged $2000 for a TV that replaced all our components, it would have to be pretty darn compelling. There are too many video/audio-philes out there (even in the base market) that would not buy into this. Look at Bose. They have tried over the past 20 years to simplify the Home theater down to it's basic components, not without a struggle, and even now their product still don't sell the kind of numbers that Apple would need to stay competitive in this market.
Think of all the different technologies Apple would have to invest in to make a quality product. Blu-ray (which SJ has been known to frown on physical media), Surround Sound receiver and amplification technology, TV HD tuner technology, etc. That's a lot of junk under the hood, and i'm not sure how willing Ives and Jobs are to play with all these different technologies. Plus, like computers, the monitor is the last thing that ever needs to be replaced. A STB is much more likely. I could see an STB, like what Sony and Bose are trying to market (with relative degrees of success).
Show me a STB that replaced my Cable, Blu-ray, Surrond sound revicer and Game Console (which i own none since my computer works better for gaming), and i would be curious, but not 100% convinced.