Macworld 2008 predictions

Update: I've reviewed Macworld 2008 and my predictions

It's that time of year again. Time for Apple to unleash its yearly dose of products. There are always a few surprises so I've made an exhaustive list of all the possible announcements (that I can think of).

I'll start with what I believe is the most likely and go down into dreamland.

  1. iTunes Movie Rentals - This is as close to a lock as you can get for a Macworld announcement. The Financial Times, the Wall St. Journal, Businessweek and Bloomberg have chimed in on this. You might be able to buy movies directly from your TV. The prevailing word is that movies will cost $3.99 for 24 hours. There will also be an update to AppleTV says Businessweek. It may be as big as the media center listed below or just incremental.
  2. Fox and others will be putting ready-for-iTunes content on their DVDs including your favorite Fairplay DRM.
  3. All iTunes music will be free of DRM. With Sony's announcement yesterday, it is all but assured. And less than a year from when Steve Jobs wrote his little manifesto, Thoughts on Music.
  4. A 13 inch MacBook Pro "MacBook Air"that will be uber thin and without moving parts (besides keyboard). The optical drive will be external and the Boot drive will be solid state. Base model 32Gb and premium will be 64Gb. It will weigh in at under a kilo. It will go beyond "must have" with prices starting near $1200.
  5. iPhone SDK will get some airtime. Word is that Slingplayer might have made it to the platform. Most likely some games will have made it as well. People will probably be a bit bummed out that Apple, not users, will control who gets to be on the iPhone.
  6. MacBook Pros will get their 45nm Penryn updates. There is a reasonable chance that they will get a form facelift as well. Possible incorporating the color black and using the new keyboards that Apple has been slowly rolling out.
  7. New Displays - Apple's displays are due for an update. Hopefully with iSightHD cameras built-in. A black bezel to match the iMac. Can they go above 30 inches in size?
  8. Mac tablet of some form. A huge iPod Touch with more applications? This has been widely speculated but Apple has always been anti-tablet.
  9. Mid-range, headless Mac. One of the biggest reasons for businesses not to adopt the Mac is the lack of a "regular computer". Apple might finally throw the enterprise a bone. Essentially a Mac Mini with a 3.5 inch hard drive and a PCI card slot. Easy to upgrade.
  10. Speaking of business... Perhaps it's time for Apple to formally acknowledge the enterprise world? Apple could announce business plans, packaging, services, etc.
  11. iPhone Updates. $100 off of the 8Gb and the 16Gb comes in at $399. Maybe even throw 3G in there - though most likely we'll have to wait until May for that. Oh and we'll likely see some more apps.
  12. Apple's new Green initiative. Across the board, Apple becoming more green. Greenest PC maker. "Even Greenpeace has to love us now".
  13. Blu Ray options across the line. The nail in HD DVD's coffin. If for no other reason than to screw Microsoft.
  14. Airport with a hard drive built in. To go with the many people who want to use Time Machine. 500Gb model starts at $300
  15. Leopard home server - kinda like Microsoft Home server except that normal people can actually use it. Bonjour/web interface. Does Backups/Webserver/Media Library/etc.

OK, now that we've gotten the likely - and somewhat likely - scenarios out of the way, we can let our minds wander a little bit.

  1. Embedded OSX. Now for use in home security, refrigerators, kitchen appliances, power tools, swimming pools, etc,etc. Runs on a 512Mb footprint and controlled over wireless IP.
  2. Apple will finally adopt a long range wireless strategy for its laptops. Best buds Intel are pushing WiMAX hard and cutting edge competitors like ASUS's Eee PC and OQO will have it. Apple's other buddy, AT&T is pushing the HSDPA 3.5G Wireless roadmap. Which one, if either, will prevail? Remember Steve Jobs likes to have options - so maybe Verizon will get the nod (not likely).
  3. iMac Extreme - your friendly iMac but with a monster display. Some people say 30" display. I think that is too small and the resolution is too high. How about a high quality 42" display with 1080P. It is not for the desk.
  4. Leopard runs Windows apps natively - Beta. Not all windows apps. But now Leopard has Wine libraries built in. You can play some games, run IE7, Outlook 2007 - Part of Leopard 10.5.2.
  5. Mac Media Center. Think AppleTV on steroids. A stand alone system with the a big set of...hard drives. Plenty of storage - and perhaps EyeTV Tuner/Tivo Software all built-in to Frontrow.
  6. Mac on PC. Leopard finally hits generic PCs. Apple's engineers have been writing drivers for the past two years and have finally caught up (not likely). More realistically, Apple could run the MacOS in a Virtual Machine on Linux or Windows. With coherence. Now instead of just using iTunes, Quicktime (with its security holes) and Safari, you get the whole kit.
  7. iCar - Apple has been caught cavorting with Volkswagon on Audio Technology. People have been putting Mac Minis in cars for years - maybe Apple is ready to officially launch a Mini for the Car. Microsoft's Sync is just starting to make waves. And is there a carmaker in the world who doesn't yet support the iPod?
  8. A wearable computer. Its time will come. Apple is an innovator. The mind wonders.
  9. iMac Docking station.
  10. Steve Jobs wears a suit. Announces he's giving up the day to day operations and forming a new company to work on Environmental issues. Oh and Bill Gates joins the board of Apple. **dons flame retardant suit**

There you have it. Did I miss anything?

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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