My Macworld 2008 Predictions

By | January 14, 2008

Steve Jobs at Macworld

Photo Credit: wahaha_wu

We’re only a couple of days from the Macworld 2008 keynote so I thought it was about time to post my predictions. After all, what’s Macworld without predictions?

As we all know by now, the banners that went up over at Moscone Center read, “There’s something in the air”. Like most people, the first thing I asked myself when I saw this was, what’s in the air?

Now, this might sound kind of crazy, but the first thing that jumped into my mind was, “Spring is in the air” (ya, I know, it’s still Winter). And, what happens in spring… people get out and do things. In other words, they become more mobile. Follow me so far? I know it’s a bit of a stretch, but that banner could mean that this keynote will be all about mobility. I do have one other interpretation that I’ll cover later in the post.

Banner interpretations aside, here’s my predictions…

Ultra-portable Macbook (mini?)

Like everyone else, I’m pretty confident that Apple will be releasing a sub-notebook computer. Laptops account for most of Apple’s computer sales, and I think they’ll be doing everything they can to continue that trend. It’s also entirely possible that this new machine will have an optional docking station, suggested by the patent recently awarded to Apple.

Many people seem to think that this new Macbook Mini will be 13 inches wide, but ultra thin. I personally think that’s just too big. I’m betting that it will be somewhere between 8 and 10 inches wide. I would doubt it would be bigger unless Apple plans on discontinuing the Macbook.

Macbook

Originally I wasn’t convinced that Apple would be doing anything to the Macbook. But, I was reading a prediction on another site (I can’t remember which one) that talked about the Macbook being incased in Aluminum. That actually makes total sense. After all, Apple seems to be purging white plastic from their lineup. The iMac recently went through this transformation, as did the iPod, iPod shuffle, and iPod nano. I think it’s entirely possible that Apple will apply this new look to the Macbook as well. I would also like to see them give the Macbook the new backlit LED displays, like the ones being used in the 15″ Macbook Pros, but I’m not sure if that will happen. Another point in favor of this prediction is aluminum cases are better on the environment than molded plastic, and Apple has been trying to become more environmentally responsible.

On a quick side note, I think it’s a bit ironic that Apple still uses the iconic white iPod in it’s advertising, even though Apple no longer sells a white iPod.

Macbook Pro

I think we’ll be seeing new Macbook Pros as well, mostly because the current design has been around for quite some time now. I think one of the biggest changes will be in the keyboard. Apple has made their Macbook and standalone keyboard use very similar keys and there’s no reason for them not to transition the Macbook Pro to this same style as well. I also think there’s an outside chance that Apple will introduce a new 20″ model.

iTunes Movie Rentals

I think most people are in agreement that this will happen. As with TV shows and movies for purchase it will be a handful of studios to start, adding more later.

iPhone

  • Native iPhone applications! This is a no-brainer. Apple announced back in October that an iPhone / iPod Touch SDK (Software Development Kit) would be available in February 2008. I’m sure Steve will demo a few of the new apps created by 3rd party developers who were hand picked to get a preview release of the new SDK.
  • iPhone software update adding lots of new features, including access to the new iTunes movie rental service.
  • 16GB iPhone. I personally think they’ve had 16GB iPhones sitting in boxes since the day they announced the price drop and elimination of the 4GB model. At the last minute they decided not to introduce the 16GB model, as they knew they would be crucified (more than they were) for putting out a new model just 2 months after product introduction.
  • No 3G. I don’t think Apple will introduce a 3G iPhone until later this year, at the earliest.

Apple TV

I think we’ll see a major upgrade to the Apple TV. Or, it may get dropped all together. My other interpretation of the banners hanging at Moscone relate to this, so I’ll address it later in this post. If the Apple TV does get upgraded, I’m not sure if it will reach a true DVR status, but it will definitely be able to interact directly with the iTunes store (and new rental service) without requiring a computer or iTunes (but it will still pull from those if available).

Leopard 10.5.2

Not much to say about this. Mostly bug fixes and slight enhancements. But, I think it will finally allow Time Machine backups to Airport attached storage (probably with a software update for the Airport base station as well).

Displays

I don’t think they’ll be anything radically different, but they will incorporate a built-in iSight. I think it’s also possible that Apple will begin offering an option for the glossy display, since according to Steve Jobs, everybody loves those. I would like to see them get the new backlit LED technology, but everything I’ve heard says that’s still too expensive for larger screens.

One more thing…

So, I mentioned that I had another interpretation for, “There’s something in the air”. TV is in the air… as in the broadcast signal. My breakout prediction is that Apple drops the Apple TV in favor of, well… an Apple TV… I mean a real TV. The kind you watch.

Before you call me crazy, consider one thing… by February 17th, 2009 all US TV stations will cease to broadcast analog TV signals in favor of digital TV (DTV). 2008 and 2009 are going to be huge years for TV sales. Apple, along with most computer makers, have been tryng for years to get from your office into your living room. It makes a lot of sense for Apple to capitalize on this surge in TV sales to break into the market. The current version of the Apple TV was just a stepping stone… a way to test the market. Now they’re ready to bring out the real thing.

It goes without saying that the new Apple TV will have full access to the iTunes store, and its new movie rental service, in addition to broadcast television.

Think this sounds crazy? Netflix, the king of online DVD rentals, would disagree. They are basically trying to do the same thing. They’re in talks with TV manufactures to incorporate their movie on demand service directly into TVs.

Now, Apple could follow the Netflix model and try to get TV manufacturers to connect to iTunes, but we all know how Apple likes to control the hardware too, so I personally think it makes total sense for them to make their own TV.

Well, those are my predictions. We’ll see on Tuesday what really comes out. Unfortunately I have a meeting Tuesday morning, so won’t know until later that morning how close I was.


6 Comments

Ross Graham on January 14, 2008 at 6:18 am.

I like that idea for a Apple TV that is actually a TV. I’m not sure they will get to that point yet with this MacWorld (would be impressive if they do … and actually probably make it much easier for me to rationalize to the wife that we need a larger TV for the Wii).

Something definitely needs to be done with the Apple TV to rejuvenate it. I’ve been hoping for a year for a Netflix/Apple plan to bring the hours of Netflix viewing I have, directly to my living room. Currently, my G5-based Macs can’t take advantage of Netflix’s Watch Now feature. But with recent LG/Netflix news, I really don’t think that’s going to happen.

Chris on January 14, 2008 at 6:30 pm.

Regarding your AppleTV comment… “Major upgrade or deleted altogether”… your mowing on both sides of the fence with that one huh.

AppleTV just becomes more a more viable solution since rentals will be available. So I HIGHLY doubt Apple will drop support for the AppleTV

paul on January 14, 2008 at 6:47 pm.

@Chris – Did you read the bottom of the post where I explain what I meant? I think Apple could drop the Apple TV in favor of an Apple TV (television). Skip to the “One more thing…” section at the bottom.

Michael Clark on January 15, 2008 at 8:03 am.

The iPhone will have some bugs, huh? “2 moths” :)

I really like the idea of an Apple TV set. Wireless Internet access on it, mmm, would be nice. Doesn’t sound too similar to WebTV though, does it?

Jim on January 15, 2008 at 9:11 am.

I think you’re about 50% on the predictions. Overall, I think outside the MacBook Air, we’re in for yet another ho-hum MacWorld.

paul on January 15, 2008 at 10:00 am.

@ Michael – You would be surprised at just how often I try to type months, and it comes out moths.

It doesn’t seem to be specific to my keyboard either. I do it on all computers. :)

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