Regarding Macworld 2007

Apple.com

Update: I discuss a lot of these ideas with John Gruber on the first episode of the Hivelogic Podcast!

I just realized that I’ve neglected to make any Macworld predictions since 2004. This is probably because I’ve been more focused on making predictions about (or discussing, sometimes after the fact) WWDC. But really, that’s not fair – lots of great stuff is announced at Macworld, and as evidenced by Apple’s current splash page, we should expect some cool announcements this year.

I’ve decided that I’ll take a few risks this year in my predictions. I’ll be surprised if I get the majority of these right, but it’s the new year and I’m more interested in having fun that being right this time around. I’ve been really happy with Apple’s direction over the last few years (especially the switch to Intel, something I predicted in 2002), and I think this year won’t disappoint … even if we don’t get a 120GB HD iPod Phone for $199.

Like previous years, I’ve divided my predictions into several categories: What Will Be Delivered, What Won’t Be Delivered, Possibilities, and my favorite category, The Longshots.

What Will Be Delivered

Here’s a list of things I expect we’ll absolutely see. Most of these items have been widely talked about, but I’ve thrown in a couple of notes and details that I think might not have been covered elsewhere just yet.

  • Leopard’s new clothes: Now that Vista is in the wild, I think we’ll get to see 10.5’s look-and-feel (unified all the way for sure, and a few other Quartz-type surprises). I’m expecting to see lots of visual flair in the OS, as we’ve already seen in Time Machine.
  • Built-in virtualization: Windows users are switching to Mac in droves, and while a tool like Parallels (with its incredible Coherency Mode) is a boon for switchers, I expect that Apple has something even better up its sleeve, built into Leopard. Boot Camp was a great start, but there’s something much bigger brewing.
  • The So-Called iTV: Of course it’s not going to be called “iTV” (I’m surprised every time I see people mention this, as Apple was very clear that this was, at most, a temporary code name, so let’s put this issue to bed now). We should expect to see a demo of the product, including the new Front Row style interface. If the so-called iTV lacks recording features, I expect new features for media programming in iTunes and iPhoto, and perhaps a way to create content wrappers in iMovie (or perhaps a whole new product). I’m guessing this product will be available right away.
  • iWork Updates: We might get an update to Pages or Keynote, but the big news for iWork will be a spreadsheet application, something like Microsoft Excel on the South Beach diet.
  • iLife Updates: We should see iTunes grow a bit here, as Steve Jobs wants to position it as the do-all media content management application. I expect we’ll see better integration of iPhoto and iWeb, possibly with updated versions of each. I think we might see the tabbed-style interface in iTunes find its way into more of the iLife apps somehow.
  • Cinema Displays: It’s obvious that Steve believes that iSight capability should be built in to every Mac, so we can expect to see bigger screens (maybe even the rumored 50”) with built-in iSight cameras, and reduced prices on existing models.
  • iMac Updates: They’re due for a speed bump, I suppose. But they’re pretty great as-is. Probably Apple’s best computer ever. I think they’re Apple’s second best hardware product ever, next to the iPod.
  • iPod Updates: Steve will probably talk about the new iPod games. We might see a storage capacity increase. And if the So-called iTV is announced, we’ll see some additional integration there.

What Won’t Be Delivered

I don’t think we’ll see this stuff.

  • So-Called iPod Phone: Despite rumor and speculation, my feeling is that the so-called iPod Phone won’t be announced at Macworld. I’m not so sure that the thing even exists (yet). But I want it to exist. I want it to be announced. It would make a great “one more thing.” But I’m not so sure. This could be a post in and of itself, really. Who knows, Apple might even have this product ready to go, but hold off until later and announce it as its own special event. Apple won’t announce unless it’s really ready to launch right away. Too much poo-poo’ing can occur if there was too long of a gap in between announcement and release. And Apple knows things like that can kill a product. I’m thinking we’ll more likely see the “True” iPod video (see below in The Longshots section).
  • New iSights: They’ve been unavailable for a long time because, as mentioned above, Steve Jobs believes this capability should be built in to all Macs. In fact, if we see new cinema displays and they have iSight capability as we expect them to, then this year will represent the death of the stand-alone iSight camera.
  • Mac Pro Update: Consumers don’t buy Mac Pro’s so much. They buy iMacs, Macbooks, Mac mini’s, and iPods. Apple might announce a speed bump and BlueRay support for the Mac Pro, but I’m thinking … not at Macworld.

Possibilities

I was tempted to lump these into the Won’t Be Delivered category, but I’ve got some hope that we’ll see them.

  • iTunes: What if the so-called iTV is announced … and what if it has HD capabilities? If so, iTunes will need to get HD content.
  • iPod Hifi Update: We might see an improvement to it, or possibly a companion device.
  • BlueRay Support: Macs that get speed bumps might have this.
  • Macbook Pro: Possibly speed bumps here, if only as a way for Apple to wipe the slate clean with a new batch of problem-free Macbook Pros.

The Longshots

Here are a few things that I’m not feeling sure enough about to put into the What Will Be Delivered category, but that I think we might just get lucky enough to see at this year’s Macworld.

  • The “true” Video iPod: It would also make a nice “one more thing,” but Apple could easily have a completely separate event for this anytime they wanted. I think this depends on the so-called iPhone’s announcement. We will see one or the other this year.
  • Ultra Portable Laptop: Something to replace the 12” PowerBook seems needed. Will it show up this year? Will it be plastic like the Macbooks, or Aluminum like the MacBook Pros … or something else?
  • Beatles iPod: What better way to announce the addition of the full Beatles catalog to the iTunes Store?

Conclusion

So, those are my predictions for this year. I’ll be updating this article after the keynote. See you then.

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