What an incredible time for Apple….

Despite a very strong product portfolio, incredibly powerful new Macs in the pipeline and some full-out Insanely Great stuff in store for the period between now, through the Holidays & into early 2007….today’s resignation of long-time Apple CFO Fred Anderson and a set of hard admissions by CEO Steve Jobs has really taken a bite out of Wall Street’s optimism about Cupertino’s near-term future.

And this, even as the markets hit an all-time high for the second time in two days.

The Rumors staff has been preoccupied by this breaking news in the leadup to today’s announcements; the very same sources who tipped us off 36 hours in advance of the sudden exit of former Apple CEO Gil Amelio & the beginning of the “Second Steve Jobs Era”, then the introduction of the iMac, iPod, G3-G4-G5, Intel transition, et cetera….have been telling us quite a bit of interesting news.

This is just the first of a long string of very dramatic developments in Cupertino and also relating to Apple’s overseas partners in China…..but thankfully, this should be the last we need to hear about the stock options problems. Steve intends to put this behind us and from what we’re hearing, the stage is set for him to succeed in that.

Certain industry players have even talked to Steve recently about a possible buyout/partnership with HP that could help pull that beleaguered corporation out of its current scandal….but for now, Apple is standing well clear of the company that burned it in the wake of its single attempt to OEM the iPod out to a Wintel retailer.

The really big rumor that we’re following is the whole story about the iTV, its onboard hardware platform, the specs, and whether it is also equipped to comprise Apple’s entry into the gaming console market. Just think about it…..a stripped down but still quite reasonably-performing Core 2-class chip at its heart, a basic but thoroughly modern motherboard architecture and a surprisingly powerful graphics chipset could put Apple’s set-top media box in a position to compete directly with the next generation of game consoles: Nintendo Wii won’t be able to match iTV’s rumored performance and even the Xbox 360/Playstation 3 powerhouses might not have quite the huge polygon-pushing lead that gamers would expect over iTV.

Stay tuned for all that and a mountain of some of our best articles in ten years behind the shovel dishing dirt…..this weekend is going to be jam-packed!

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