Macworld Expo is just hours away and the line of speculation is about as long as the line will be for Steve Jobs’ keynote.
What will Apple’s spiritual leader give to his followers Tuesday? New toys and new ways to spend money.
The world’s most secretive high-profile, high-tech gadget company isn’t saying, so the best we can do is highlight all the cool things we want, sift them down to a few expectations, and hope for the best.
If you’re expecting some special insight from me, be forewarned that tossing a quarter (US 25-cent piece; we have so many international readers these days) into the air and calling Heads every time will give you about the same success rate as my previous Macworld prognostications.
This Macworld is a first for me. I won’t be there, stuck on an increasingly extended business project which prevents my annual pilgrimage to the Apple devotee’s Mecca—Macworld San Francisco.
That doesn’t mean I don’t have some ideas about what’s coming. Take my completely non-detailed prognostication of Apple’s biggest yearly event, add the aforementioned quarter, and you still won’t have enough to buy coffee at McDonald’s.
The one thing Steve Jobs always, always, always delivers at Macworld is a surprise. Sometimes the surprise is simply disappointment. Sometimes the surprise is a new rabbit from a new hat.
Remember the iPhone? Remember the iMac (sunflower model)? Remember the switch to Intel? It’s a big list.
ArsTechnica has a nearly annual tradition of playing Macworld Keynote Bingo, which highlights all the potential announcements, so let me start there and sort through the probabilities vs. the possibilities vs. the ‘are you kidding me?’
First on the Ars Keynote Bingo is a new MacPro. I’m willing to say that one is a 100-percent Sure Thing™ especially since Apple already announced new MacPros. Same box, faster Intel processors. Can you say Octocore?
High on my list is an Apple MacBookPro Flash Ultra Thin MultiTouch. How’s that for being definitively ambiguous? I don’t think Apple will introduce an ultra portable without flash memory or a multi-touch screen. All that remains is the feature set, size and cost. What should Apple name this little critter?
Also high on my list of expectations is a two-pronged, one-two punch. An updated AppleTV and movie rentals from the iTunes Store. I doubt if the AppleTV update will include a digital video recorder, a DVR similar to the popular EyeTV from ElGato, because that would not make content providers very happy.
Apple has both the infrastructure and the critical mass to make movie rentals work. iTunes is ubiquitous, Mac and Windows, and the billing system, DRM/digital rights management is already there.
Here’s the recap—Flash Mac, sans red tights, new AppleTV and iTunes Store movie rentals. Sure, I don’t mind crawling out on a limb. What else? With one exception, that’s where the fun really begins.
How about Blu-ray? How about a new Apple Cinema Display line (the old aluminum displays are nice, but over priced and they’ve been around since the late 1800s, right?) with a built-in camera?
I don’t like the idea of a built-in video camera in a standalone display. Why not a new USB iSight camera that’s actually affordable?
I expect Steve Jobs to talk a little about the iPhone SDK, the software development kit that everyone I don’t know must be clamoring for. He’ll also talk about the adoption of Mac OS X Leopard vs. Vista, mention the recent Mac market share gains, and perhaps announce the launch of the long-awaited and sorely-needed Leopard 10.5.2.
I’ve heard talk of a Dockable Mac. Let me venture out on the limb just prior to it breaking off and say, “No.” Too clumsy and too much of a limited market.
That leaves just one more thing. iPhone. Look for a software update to the iPhone, but I also expect Steve to announce the 3G iPhone, the one that uses AT&T’s new and much-faster-than-EDGE 3G network. There might be a price reduction for the current iPhone model which uses EDGE and perhaps a price of $100 more for the 3G iPhone.
It’s anyone’s guess as to who else shares the Macworld spotlight with Steve Jobs. Someone from Microsoft to tout the new Mac Office 2008. Microsoft’s Roz Ho, former leader of the Mac Business Unit, is gone. Just get someone who’s not a drone and doesn’t drone.
Let the speculation begin. But hurry. Steve Jobs’ Macworld Keynote and Surprise Fest is almost here. What’s on your list of expectations?
PS – notice that I did NOT mention anything about the so-called iPad device that Mac360’s staff has talked up and desired and coveted for so many years? Steve will save that for his One More Thing™ show just to embarrass me.