Apple OLED TV - Siri

They’ve done it before, they can do it again, and the free publicity will hardly cost them a drop in the proverbial bucket. Google and Microsoft are gearing up for Mobile World Congress next week, and with one tap of the Send icon Apple could easily steal much of their thunder without booking even a single plane ticket to Spain.

How? By emailing media invites to an iPad launch event rumored to be scheduled for March 7 in San Francisco. Send ’em out next Monday, the opening day of MWC in Barcelona, and suddenly the attention of the tech journalism world is diverted between covering events in Spain and figuring how to get from Catalyuna to California in a week’s time. And the mainstream media? Fair or not, we all know how their coverage will skew if it comes to a battle for airtime between iPad rumors and new Android/Windows Phone devices in Spain.

Microsoft will be showing off the first consumer build of Windows 8 at MWC, and we may also see the next iteration of Windows Phone – codename “Tango” – in the form of a new Nokia handset. Plenty of Google Android partners are said to be readying new hardware and software based on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for display next week, as well. So both companies have a fair amount riding on the show, as has been the case over the past several years.

Even better for Apple hype purposes would be to send out an invite teasing both a new iPad and a new Apple TV on March 7th. All sorts of iPad 3 “evidence” has been popping up around the blogosphere, and plenty of would-be tea leaf readers are pointing to retail ATV shortages as a sign that some sort of refresh is imminent. Even if “all” we get is a new $99 set top box that can handle full 1080p video, the hype machine would have a week’s worth of fun talking OLED panels and Siri-controlled revolution if Cupertino were to send up a cleverly cryptic invitation bearing a message like, “Come See What We’ve Been Up To.”

Get it: “See” what we’ve been up to? Could refer to Retina Display on iPad and/or Apple TV.Right? Meh, I’m sure Apple PR can do better.