Paul Thurrott, who nailed the launch date of the console, is back with more information and seeing as he got it right the first time around, we have reason to believe his new information is as credible as the first wave of content. According to Paul, the next Xbox will launch in early November and will have a price of $499 or $299 with a monthly $10 subscription.
In addition to the above information, the console will have a Blu-ray drive and as previously expected will be based on the core of Windows 8.
Here’s what I know about the next Xbox (along with some clearly identified conjecture).
Full (end user) announce. Microsoft will fully reveal details about the next Xbox, including the launch lineup of games, on the eve of the E3 tradeshow in early June 2013.
Windows 8 Core. The next Xbox is based on the "Core" (base) version of Windows 8. This suggests a common apps platform or at least one that is similar to that used by Windows 8. It also suggests that Microsoft could open up this platform to enthusiast developers. (That last bit is supposition on my part.)
Price. Microsoft will initially offer two pricing models for the console: a standalone version for $499 and a $299 version that requires a two-year Xbox LIVE Gold commitment at an expected price of $10 per month.
No entertainment box. Microsoft originally planned to offer both a “full” version of the next Xbox (with video game playing capabilities) and a lower-end entertainment-oriented version, code-named “Yuma,” that didn't provide gaming capabilities. But plans for Yuma are on hold, and no pure entertainment version of the next Xbox will appear in 2013 (or possibly ever).
Blu-ray. The next Xbox will include a Blu-ray optical drive.
Internet-connected. The next Xbox must be Internet-connected to use. This is the source of the “always on”/“always online” rumors and isn’t as Draconian as many seem to believe.