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Is Apple preparing to square up to Netflix, developing own original content?

Apple will not just be attempting to push further into the living room on the hardware front with its new TV box which will be revealed next week, but also on the content front – with the company apparently moving forward with plans to develop its own original programmes and streaming service.

Yes, in short Apple is preparing its own Netflix style offering, at least according to sources who spoke to Variety.

Apparently Cupertino is currently sussing out the lie of the land and talking to Hollywood execs about producing entertainment content, either in terms of TV series or films, or indeed possibly both.

How serious this move is at this point is difficult to tell, with Variety describing it as a mere "flirtation" according to some sources, yet others think the plans are building up a head of steam, and one source thinks the project could be up and running as soon as next year.

It’s certainly believable enough that Apple could be very serious about this potential ambition. The company already has its new(ish) streaming music service, of course, and Cupertino has masses of cash in the coffers to back up any major push it desires.

Of course, if Apple does make this move, it will upset partners who provide content for Apple TV such as Netflix.

For now, though, all eyes are on the hardware which is set to be revealed a week tomorrow. The latest rumours indicate that the new Apple TV will cost a bit more than the current box, but it will add a number of smart new features including motion sensing with the remote control, and a built-in mic for voice commands via Siri, which is also coming on board.

The event will also see the small matter of the new iPhones being launched, with two new models expected – the iPhone 6S and the iPhone 6S Plus, although cold water has been poured on the theory that Apple will launch a budget iPhone 6C alongside these flagship models.