The Apple rumor mill is in full motion this morning, folks. Bloomberg News is reporting that two of the world's most powerful cult leaders and their companies are considering a partnership to take network television programs one big step closer to breaking free from the box for good.

The rumor is that Steve Jobs' Apple and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. are working on a deal that would allow users to pay 99 cents to download an episode of a Fox show and be able to watch it for 48 hours. Other networks including NBC, CBS, and ABC (owned by Walt Disney, where Jobs is a board member and largest shareholder) are rumored to be interested in joining the service, too.

The addition of the iPad to the Apple lineup no doubt helps the odds of getting such a deal done, with the tablet screen not much smaller than the average netbook or small notebook. The service would compete with the Netflix monthly subscription service, which includes an online streaming option; and Hulu, which is currently free to users and supported by an ever-increasing amount of advertising, and has also made moves towards implementing a subscription model, beginning with its mobile streaming offerings.

Episodes would reportedly be available 24 hours after their initial broadcast, which is roughly the same timeframe most networks begin to offer online video on their own websites or on Hulu. The new Apple service is expected to be unveiled on September 7th, ahead of the new TV season at one of those weird Apple televangelism events.

A Bigger Bushel
In other Apple news, a new version of the iPod Touch with a screen upgrade and a $99 model of Apple TV are expected soon.

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