Microsoft buzz cuts Apple: Leaks Kinect Fun Labs

Xbox E3

Apple may be generating loads of rumors this morning, but Microsoft has got some noise to make, too, even if done accidentally -- or accidentally on purpose. Hours before Apple Steve Jobs takes the Worldwide Developer Conference stage (1 p.m. EDT) or Microsoft's E3 keynote (12:30 p.m), several Xbox announcements leaked: Kinect Fun Labs and some new games, including Halo 4.

I say accidentally on purpose, because Microsoft's leaks cut into Apple noise before it drowns out most other tech news today. Jobs' keynote will unveil iCloud, which has generated more rumors than, well, storm clouds drenching rain. The Apple fan club of bloggers and journalists are sure to drown out pretty much everything else. So, Microsoft's leak, whether or not intentional, is timely -- and it may lead more people to tune into the E3 keynote. Microsoft is streaming its keynote; Apple is not. LOL, you have to enter your birthdate to watch the Kinect keynote and other content.

Kinect Fun Lab is a great idea. There will initially be four gadgets available from the Kinect Hub. The interactive game offers many fun capabilities, such as scanning objects that become part of the fun; scan objects and you become them for play; or create personalized avatars.

Kinect is a transformative natural user interface that Microsoft should build out as broadly as possible into a development platform. A Kinect SDK already is planned and could even become official today. The more ways Microsoft can maximize Kinect and showcase its capabilities, the better for consumers and for generating more developer interest.

Something often overlooked about Kinect: The NUI game controler effectively extends Xbox's lifecycle. For many people, Xbox 360 is in many respects a new game console. It's refreshed without Microsoft having to make broader changes to the platform. Smart, Microsoft.

By the way, Microsoft's E3 community site is killer. Go there or be square.

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