It seems there was something to the speculation that surfaced on 1UP last week about Project Natal constituting Microsoft's "next console." There was something to it depending on your point of view, at least.
TG Daily reports that MS CEO Steve Ballmer mentioned during a talk today that a new version of the Xbox 360 is on the way to shelves next year, one with a "natural interface" involving technology that's "really, really close" to being realized. The story goes on to say the new Xbox will have a "built in camera with the ability to recognize movement and voice." (TG Daily's words on that one.)
Pretty sure you can see where he's going with this.
If Microsoft is really serious about pushing Natal's feature set as the one true future for the Xbox, it only makes sense to integrate that technology into the console itself and ensure that everyone who buys the system going forward is equipped with it. Calling that the next Xbox console strikes me as disingenuous, though; every unit on the market called "Xbox 360" will still be able to play the same games, provided you have the right combination of peripherals. A new console runs a whole new set of games that no previous piece of hardware can handle. Bolting on new methods of input will certainly extend the 360's lifespan, but it doesn't exactly qualify as the "next" anything in my book.