It is likely that Macworld Expo will die off within a few years. Apple has announced that this will be the last for their participation.
Macworld is our family reunion, the spur under the saddle of imaginary rumors, so will it be the same with Apple Veep Phil Schiller giving the keynote eulogy? Yes, a thousand times yes. The ghost of Steve Jobs haunts Apple’s Mac pundits even before his death.
Forgive my tardy response to the Macworld Expo 2009 Rumor Extravaganza. After reading dozens of rumor sites, rumor product lists, and Steve Jobs’ obituary, I decided to wait until Macworld actually occurred before publicizing my much anticipated commentary.
Two things happened to change my plans. First, nobody really asked me what would happen this year at Macworld, so I got miffed and decided to spill my beans anyway.
And, Ron sent me an email. He read somewhere that it’s a law that all web sites about the Mac must have a Macworld rumor list, and it was my turn. Add the two together and here I am.
As everyone within reading distance of Mac360 already knows, this will be Apple’s last Macworld Expo, and co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs will not do the keynote presentation of whatever new products Apple wants to show off. Instead, we get the eternally chubby and humorous wannabe, VP Phil Schiller.
Meanwhile, Jobs takes the unusual step of publicly acknowledging his gaunt appearance and obvious weight loss of the past year or so, says it’s due to a hormonal imbalance, and promises to stay on the job until he fully recuperates.
OK, fine. I’ll buy that. Phil Schiller is no Steve Jobs, of course, but all of us long time Mac pundits will pay just as much attention to what Phil says as what Steve would have said, and even more attention to what neither one of them say (it’s called ‘reading between the lines’).
What all of this means, of course, is that here we are, on the eve of Macworld Expo and the much anticipated keynote and new Apple product gizmo launch, and Apple is just as interesting as it ever was.
From a little news great rumors grow. From hard news even more rumors take root, grow, and clog up the drains. That said, what do the collective folks at Mac360 think Apple will release before, during, and after Schiller’s keynote presentation?
This is so easy it’s like predicting that Palm will lose sales because of the iPhone, that Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer is butt ugly, and that whatever Apple does with any new product, we’re likely to find 27 reasons why it’s bad, but buy it in droves anyway. It’s what we do.
New 17-inch MacBook Pro
How much of a no-brainer is this. Apple’s whole line of notebooks is new and improved except the 17-inch flagship model.
The new MacBook Pro will be a little faster, maybe a little lighter, and have the new DisplayPort connector. It might even have a quad core Intel CPU inside, but deliverable by spring 2009.
New Mac mini
See? You don’t need a brain to figure out what Apple will do for sure. The Mac mini hasn’t been upgraded since Jobs was a welterweight back in 2007, so it’s overdue.
Overdue for everything. The new Mac mini will be faster, smaller, more powerful and probably the same price. It will have the old DVI connector and a new DisplayPort video connector.
New Apple Cinema Displays
Apple already has a new 24-inch LED display which makes the older 20-inch, 23-inch, and 30-inch models look positively ancient history. But don’t expect a 20-inch LED display. That’s oh so yesterday.
Apple will have a 24-inch display and a 30-inch (maybe 28-inch, but who’s counting?) model at not-very-competitive prices. But they’ll be pretty and the ooh and aah factors will be high.
New Speed Bumps
This is an easy prediction, too. I don’t expect a new form factor for the iMac or the MacPro models, just a few new chips to make things seem faster, snappier, and with bragging rights to last through 2009.
Oh, and somewhere between now and actual shipment, both the new iMacs and MacPro models will get a DisplayPort connector.
Is it possible we’ll see a 28-inch iMac with a quad core CPU? Yes. But I’m not holding my breath. It scares my kids.
New iLife and iWork
Amazingly, it’s been almost 18 months since we’ve seen anything new in iLife or iWork, so it’s time for Apple to polish the buggers.
I’ve read a dozen places where iWork will become a web-based application, but I don’t think so. Expect more improvements to iMovie. Maybe iWeb pages will look better in Internet Explorer for Windows users.
New Sneak Preview
Microsoft seems intent on launching Windows 7 by the end of 2009 and it would benefit Apple greatly if they could time the launch of Mac OS X Snow Leopard to make Windows 7 look really lame.
So, expect a sneak preview of Snow Leopard doing things Windows probably can’t do as well even if they start over. Snow Leopard will ship by ‘Summer of 2009.’ That’s like between June and September, so just deal with it.
What We Won’t See At Macworld
Forget an iPhone nano? Why bother? The iPhone is selling great. It’s at Walmart. It’s only been six months since the last iPhone update. No iPhone 3.0 software demo, either. It’s too soon. Summer. Maybe. WWDC.
I hope and pray that we get a new version of AppleTV, especially a model with a built-in DVD player, and a digital video recorder, but I’m not holding my breath here, either. As I said, the kids get scared when I do that. And the toilet stops up.
One More Thing
For about five years Mac360 has predicted an iPad—an iPod touch-like device that’s bigger than an iPhone, smaller than a MacBook Air, but without a keyboard. No dice. My dreams have died. I won’t disappoint myself again (although I pray to be pleasantly surprised).
There will be plenty of other announcements here and there. Apple will tell us that iTunes Store is the #1 music, TV show, movie download place in the whole Milky Way galaxy. They’ll announce that the iPhone Apps Store has downloaded five apps for every human on earth.
We’ll see more bragging rights about iPhone sales and market sahre, Mac sales, iPod sales and market share, and other numbers which are easily translated into easily understood pie charts and bar charts.
But we won’t see Steve Jobs. We won’t have a 25th birthday party for the Mac. Macworld just won’t be the same. But it’ll still be interesting. This year. Next year, not so much.