Will Apple Reveal A New ‘Genius’ Social Media Network Today? [Rumor]

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genius bar
CC-licsensed; via Andy Macht on Flickr.

In just a few hours, Apple will announce a new version of OS X, and will almost certainly unveil new MacBook Airs and new versions of iLife/iWork. But we’re wondering if they won’t reveal one more thing: a social media network with the goal of creating millions of home-based Apple Genii at its core.

Unlike our solidly backed report on details about the new MacBook Airs, what we’re talking about here is just barroom buzz, the faintest whiff of a rumor — and frankly, it sounded a little crazy when we heard it. Then we started thinking…

Last year, we reported first about Apple’s plans to hire a very small number of “At Home” tech support staff, presumably in an effort to decentralize their tech support operations. Then there’s Apple’s shiny-new Ping, an iTunes social media network that raised a few eyebrows (certainly here at the Cult) about its very need to exist. Finally, just a few days ago Jobs was seen having dinner with Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Could Ping’s real raison d’être be as a sort of dry run for this new network? Were last year’s hiring plans similarly a test-bed for this crowd-sourced Genii model? And what was Jobs really talking to Zuckerberg about at dinner the other night — advice on this new network, maybe?

Maybe. Or maybe our Spidey-Sense just needs realigning. Either way, we’ll know in a few hours.