The biggest surprise news from Apple in 2005 was the switch to Intel chips for the Mac. More surprises are due.
Not only do Mac web sites, Mac rumor sites have their list of what to expect from Apple at Macworld, mainstream media is getting in on the act.
CNN Money’s Amanda Cantrell has her own list of upcoming Apple gadgets for Macworld. Add yours to the list. By January, no one will know what Apple will do.
CNN starts off with the typical “Intel Inside” rumor: “The most pervasive rumor so far is that Apple will unveil its first computers to include Intel chips at Macworld – several months ahead of Apple’s original target date.”
If memory serves me well, the June 2006 was simply a target; Apple would ship Intel-based Mac “by” June. Earlier is allowed and should not be a surprise, given Apple’s recent history.
Cantrell cites Citigroup’s Richard Gardner and UBS’ Benjamin Reitzes as expecting laptops to be the first Apple computers to use Intel chips inside. Curiously, no sites are predicting otherwise, leading me to believe that Apple will let those rumors stand, and not try to discount them.
Misinformation is one thing, but managing expectations is another. If Apple won’t release or announce Intel-based Macs at Macworld, that non-event could have a startling effect on the AAPL stock price.
Joining the ranks of the rest of us with no inside knowledge, analyst Roger Kay of Endpoint Technologies, told CNN, “I don’t have any independent confirmation on that, but I’d say it’s a pretty good bet.”
Apple has this tendency in recent years to let the expecation grow to monstrous proportions, then delivere to match the expectation, then deliver a ‘surprise announcement.’
For their part, Intel, the giant chip maker, now salivating over the chance to move the industry forward with Apple in the lead, plans to introduce the new dual-core “Yonah” processors early in January.
Most industry watchers expect the dual-core chips to power Apple’s new line of PowerBooks. Citigroup’s Gardner speculates that the PowerBook will be the first to get an Intel chip.
iBooks? The current model is showing up as End-of-Life in retailer databases. That’s not unusual as new models are released a couple of times each year. What’s unusual now is the timing. EOL just before Macworld.
Of course, we might as well use tea leaves and a crystal ball or the length of Steve Jobs’ beard to determine the future product list.
Mac rumor mill ThinkSecret says it’s more likely that the first Intel Macs will be iBooks. Gotta save something for later splashes, right?
CNN reports that UBS’ Reitzes says Macworld 2006 will be a “circus.” Why? Intel Inside and a Mac mini digital video media device. Frankly, that would be a surprise (not the first one Apple has pulled on me). Why?
TiVo is not well liked among the major content producers because TiVo basically allows users to copy TV shows and movies, and now move them to their iPods with video. In the meantime, no money changes hands from watchers to content producers.
Apple likes the position of middleman and gets a cut of songs downloaded from the iTunes Music Store. TV shows, too. It’s likely that Apple’s device will be a conduit for downloading and storing TV shows and movies from iTunes Music Store, rather than direct from TV as does TiVo and other DVR devices.
That’s my speculation, of course. Reality, remarkably, is a bit different. Sometimes.
Also on CNN’s list are new iPod shuffles and some kind of iPod “boom box” as mentioned earlier by AppleInsider. Any new gadget needs to be positioned so as not to compete with other gadgets now lining Apple’s store shelves.
I’m expecting, though not predicting (there’s a difference, trust me) a new high end iPod that goes beyond video. The updated iPod shuffle is a no brainer.
CNN’s Cantrell and others do not weigh in on upcoming and expected software from Apple. Macworld usually brings updates to iLife—iTunes, iMovie, iDVD, iPhoto, etc. I would be disappointed if there are not minor features bumps, but not surprised to see still another application show up in the iLife Suite for ‘06.
Also expected would be an addition to the highly acclaimed, slow-selling iWork package of Pages (word processor) and Keynote (PowerPoint done right). I look for a spreadsheet, possibly called ‘Numbers.’ I would not be surprised at a database companion; a slimmed down version of FileMaker Pro.
But I’m not predicting that. Just idle speculation. Or is it ‘idol’ speculation? Whatever.
iTunes Music Store already boasts TV shows from ABC, Disney, NBC, USA, and SciFi channel, and I’ll go waaaaaaay out on a limb and say CNN’s right. There’ll be more content introduced at Macworld from other networks, other studios, etc. Duh.
Is that all? Is there room for a “surprise announcement?” CNN doesn’t say. Of course, with Steve Jobs, there’s always room for “one more thing.”
An iPod phone? A new cell phone with iTunes and at least 1,000 songs (I’ll consider replacing my current cell phone). A wireless iPod? A wireless tablet Mac using an Intel processor?
Am I the only one to notice that this year there’s not one mention of a Newton PDA revival at Macworld?
Jack D. Miller
There’s still time for Apple to deny all the above. Silence is golden. I wonder if they seed “denial rumors” to help manage expectations.
I’d go for a Motorola cell phone with iTunes when then move the song capacity to 1,000. 100 is silly. 1,000 songs is an iPod nano in your phone. Maybe that’s why they won’t do it.
No one has mentioned a show of OS X on Intel or a show of OS X Leopard or the timetable, other than sometime in 2007. 2006 is another year. Time to pay my Apple Tax.