Aside from speculation that Steve Jobs' last initiative as CEO of the revered technology company was to finally conquer the clunky interfaces of television and the usual "when does it come out?" rumors about the next version of the iPad, news out of Cupertino in the wake of Jobs' passing seems calmer than the usual feverish flood of fanboyism. So, just imagine for a moment the twinkle of disappointment in the eyes of hardware fetishists everywhere when AllThingsD broke the news that this month's big announcement from Apple will focus on (snooze) iBooks, publishing and possibly advertising as well.

The event takes place in the heart of the book publishing industry in New York City later this month, and Apple Senior VP Eddy Cue — the man in charge of iTunes Store, the App Store, the iBookstore and other i-things like iAds and iCloud — will drive the slideshow for the press in attendance. Some have speculated that the announcement will be geared towards academics and digital textbooks or possibly adding new features to Apple's version of ebooks to allow for more multimedia and interactive elements and generally make them less book-like.

Meanwhile, AllThingsD points out that the last time Cue was in NYC, he was helping Rupert Murdoch (who is now on twitter, by the way) and News Corp. launch their iPad newsmagazine The Daily. The Daily, remember, was one of the first publications to launch as an app-only operation, as opposed to say The Chronicle's disappointing iPad version. Both the Chron and The Daily have since moved their apps in to that annoying Newsstand thing that you can't get off your iPhone's homescreen.

As for that new iPad: the smart money still says we'll see a new version sometime in 2012. The earliest guesses say the announcement of the newest, shiniest thing will come from Apple on Steve's birthday on February 24th, followed by its appearance in stores and the hands of the incredibly eager sometime in March or April. Obviously, you should take that with the usual grain of salt.

Finally, In other quirky Apple news, did you know they have "Red Friday" sales in China? If that's not a measure of capitalism's succes, then we don't know what is.