Sunday, January 13, 2008

MacWorld 2008 Prognistications

In my web wanderings, I've come across a number of industry pundits who have seen fit to offer predictions about Apple, both at MacWorld this week and the year as a whole. After some consideration, I've decided to jump on the bandwagon and offer my own prognistications. Unfortunately, I am usually less accurate than Phil, the Groundhog. But there is no harm in trying.

MacWorld

  1. Ultralight notebook: I do think Apple is on the verge of announcing an ultralight notebook in the MacBook Pro line. This would target the folks who used the beloved 12" PowerBook and sweep in others for whom portability is tantamount. There was a patent application about a year ago that described a method of attaching an external drive, like a DVD, to a notebook and I think that is a big part of the new design. I believe Apple will price this to start at $1399 and have at least two basic units, with the second being $1699. It will have an ExpressCard slot as well.
  2. iTunes Movie Rentals: this isn't a big stretch with all of the information that has been leaking, but I am still adding it to my list. I believe that they will allow users to extend the rental video to the iPhone as well.
  3. AppleTV Gen 2: along with a beefed up AppleTV that will have an improved interface and direct access to the iTunes stores for renting movies, and video "in" capability.
  4. MacBook next-gen: I think Apple will bump the processors and include LED screens, larger drives, more RAM, better processors, and colors.
  5. Monitors/Displays: Apple will unveil a new line of displays that are LED-based.
  6. Mac Mini: I thinkl we'll see the venerable Mini replaced by a new form-facor with additional capabilities, perhaps an Express Card slot included.
  7. Touch interface: I believe Apple will extend the touch interface that is in the iPhone and iPod Touch to the entire portable line before the year is over.
  8. iPhone II: Steve will announce a new iPhone at MacWorld. Delivery will be around June 30.
    • 3G data connection
    • 16GB and 32GB models
  9. iPhone: the next update to the iPhone firmware will include:
    • cut-n-paste
    • customization of the interface
    • an expanded Springboard (to accommodate all of those apps that will be coming)
    • tasks
    • synchronization of notes
    • improved Mail functions
    • the ability to "send" data to other apps
  10. iTunes Store: the Beatles will finally arrive.
  11. iTunes Store: non-DRMed music from all participating labels
  12. Several vendors have advanced iPhone SDKs and will announce apps. I expect FileMaker to be one of them with an app to complement the recently released Bento desktop software.
  13. Several people have mentioned getting into content creation, especially music and perhaps video. I would think this to be a conflict of interest for Steve Jobs. And when he has Disney at his disposal, it begs the question "why?"

2008 at-large

  1. iTunes will become a commerce hub for games and applications for the Mac
  2. AppleTV: will get an update that will allow it to record video to iTunes, essentially becoming a PVR.
  3. The MacBook Pro line will get a refresh in late-Summer.
  4. Apple will release a new product similar to the almost-failed UMPC. It will have the touch interface mentioned in #5 above.
  5. iTunes will add true HD content
  6. Apple will release products that have wireless video capability. They are big on dumping wires and the technology is there.
  7. A new iLife with advanced iMovie features and the ability to produce content directly into iTunes.
  8. Leopard brought us some improved speech tools. I think 2008 will be the year that we see more apps that use it, and use it well.

That's it; all I care to commit to for the moment. I'll revisit this list in a week, after MacWorld is over to see how I scored. I'll do the same throughout the year.



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