January 09, 2006

MWSF 2006 Predictions

With just about 15 hours to go before Stever Jobs' keynote at Macworld San Francisco, I offer my humble predictions about hardware and software updates and introductions.

A. Mac Mini

The Obvious
- The introduction of Intel processors
- Faster, with the low-end version ~1.67GHz and the top-of-the-line (Super Drive) version with at least 2GHz
- Hard Drive capacity of 80 - 120GB
- Installed memory goes up to 1GB, with probably up to 2GB build-to-order options (at least for top-of-the-line version)

The Goodies
- The top-of-the-line (Super Drive) version will now sport dual-layer DVD authoring
- iLife 06 with updates iPhoto, iMovie HD, iDVD, GarageBand (probably not iTunes just yet), and the introduction of iWeb
- Built-in AirPort Extreme and internal Bluetooth across the line
- Front Row and Photo Booth ain't just for the iMac anymore

The Maybes
- Mac mini becomes a media center with additional software introductions that makes it a living room must-have for the entire family
- Slightly smaller and different (rounded?) form factor that allows it to sit on top of the TV or a home entertainment shelf nearly out of sight

The Hell Freezes Over Department
- Different colors or case materials: just leave a good thing along!
- DVR capability: What, and cannibalize video downloads?!

B. iBook

The Obvious
- The introduction of Intel processors that make these babies zoom; of course, given the troubled history of Mac portables, this has to be there if Intel processors are Mac-ready
- Introduction of ~13.5" form factor

The Goodies
- Front Row and Photo Booth ain't just for the iMac anymore (if the Mac mini gets it, I'm sure ALL hardware announcements gets it)
- Larger Hard Drives on-par with its PC counterparts *fingers crossed*
- Super Drives across the board for all sizes, which necessitates,
- Two Firewire ports, correcting a long-time and glaring mistake on Apple's part
- Built-in AirPort Extreme and internal Bluetooth across the line

The Hell Freezes Over Department
- iSights included like the latest iMac
- Price drop or even parity with current iBooks

C. iPod Shuffle

Minor updates which includes: smaller form factor, probably lower prices (~ $20), and likely the introduction of a black version a la the Nano; I seriously doubt multiple colors, a one-line display (it wouldn't be a Shuffle dammit!!) and Apple dropping the smaller version. Kids and portable audiophobes love the 512MB Shuffle.

D. iMac

No major updates at all with the pretty recent iSight-capable, Front Row-introduced iMac. Possibly a modest speed bump. I don't expect Intel processors just yet.

F. iPod

With the even more recent introduction of the 5G iPod, I don't expect any updates. If iTunes is updated, that will be just about it. Possibly a firmware update for some minor software introductions just for the iPod

G. Power Macs

Wait till MWDC this summer. The consumer lines will be the testing ground for the introduction of Intel Processors. Developers will go berserk if Jobs even hints at across-the-line Intel introductions.

Possible Disappointments

I. Powerbooks

See above regarding Power Macs. Consumers are ready, professionals need the longer lead times to prepare for the Intel conversion. Of course, investors, analyst and your typical Apple fan boy will cry, moan, pull out his hair and see this as a major blow. "But all the rumors promised Intel Power Books!! Wah!!!"

II. Mac Mini

The update isn't as big as I predicted. Larger hard drives, Super Drives across-the-line and Photo Booth on some systems won't be enough. Not even for me. I expect at least my above predictions to be true.

III. iWorks

Everyone expects "Pages," Apple's spreadsheet program, to be introduced. If nothing else is announced, it's a blow with AppleWorks barely lingering. When is Steve going to take this pathetic thang to the barn and pull the trigger! Pages won't make this a viable suite. Jobs needs to include at least mail.app (and iWeb?) integration.

IV. Wild Cards

Who knows. I'd be blown away with Intel processors in PowerBooks and anything else besides the Mac mini and iBooks. With Apple's history, expect the unexpected. Software introductions and a hardware zinger is not out Jobs' realm either.

I'll grade my expectations and report on MWSF 06 tomorrow night after I've had ample time to digest the keynote and public reaction. I'll be glued to Mac Rumors, Appleinsider, The Mac Observer and probably Think Secret all afternoon beforehand.

Posted by ronn at January 9, 2006 08:48 PM


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Tracked on January 10, 2006 09:09 PM

I think they'll put the Intel Processor on the Mac Mini first. It's easier to troubleshoot. It looks like they were already testing out the possibility of a media center with the latest iMac. See...this is why I hate purchasing Apple products. Cuz' I can never have the latest items. And with you announcing a 5GB iPod - I feel like we're back at the beginning again since I'm still sporting my 5GB 1st generation. But will this 5GB have video? Posted by: lynne [TypeKey Profile Page] on January 10, 2006 12:51 AM
Sorry for the confusion Lynne, but I was referring to the 5th Genenaration (5G) iPod just announced a few months ago. It's commonly referred to as the Video iPod. That's why I don't think there'll be any major updates to the iPod today. Posted by: ronn [TypeKey Profile Page] on January 10, 2006 08:54 AM