Special: MWSF ’05 Predictions
With just a little more than a week to go until Macworld San Francisco, I thought I’d share my predictions for what will be introduced. Besides, it’s almost as fun to guess what Apple will introduce as watching Apple introduce new products. Predictions we were correct at (a product predicted “Yes -” that was actually released, or a product predicted “No” Not released) have a green dot. Incorrect ones have a red dot.
• Yes: $499 Mac
The cheap Mac idea has been floating around the web recently. If Apple were to release such a product, it would be great for those budget-conscious PC users who want to see what Apple is all about without spending too much. Best of all, they get to keep their old monitor and continue to use it. The question is – does Apple think it is too good for a dirt-cheap budget Mac?
• Yes: iPod Flash
We’ve all heard shipping reports about flash memory and have seen the mockups. Logically, it’s the market Apple should take the iPod next, as flash MP3 players are big in Asia. If they were to sell them under the HP brand, as well, we’d see them flying off the shelves everywhere…even Wal-Mart.
• No: iPhone
Some think that a joint-venture between Apple and Motorola will lead to a cell phone with some iPod-like features. Since cell phones seem to be nearly disposable, this seems like a market Apple would avoid. What I suspect is that we’ll see a phone that can play AAC files with a Motorola logo.
Update: Since Motorola is planning their own iTunes-compatible phone, our prediction was somewhat correct (the last sentence), but it came a few days early (at the Consumer Electronics Show instead of Macworld). We still have yet to see what the finished phone looks like (it could be designed by Apple).
• Yes: iPod mini 5GB
While I’d love to see a 10GB iPod mini, it’s been pretty clear that the little audio player will get to hold just a few hundred more songs and that’s it. We might see more (or less) color choices.
• Yes: iLife ’05
As expected iLife will get an update. Most of the applications have not had any changes since last January, except for a few performance tweaks and bug fixes. iTunes will probably be the only part not upgraded.
• No: AppleWorks 7/iWork
The rumor of a new office suite from Apple seems to appear around this time every year. Although we need a nice, speedy, OS X-native word processor that is just as slick as Keynote, we might have to keep waiting. Apple has to be careful not to make a product seem like an Office killer, as Microsoft is still an important part of the Mac platform. Keynote, most likely, will get an update.
• No: Tiger
Why take the focus off of hardware and iLife apps? I think it’ll ship in March, close to the 4th anniversary of OS X.
• Yes: Audio Breakout Box
Gee, lawsuits about this product being leaked seem like a surefire way of proving its reality. Of course, Apple could pull it just to spite people. This product will probably be simple, like the iSight, but still have that coolness that everyone wants.
• No: PowerBook G5s
Apple proved that the G5 processor fits into tight spaces with the iMac, but the PowerBook G4s run quite hot already. Unless Apple rushes a PowerBook G5 out the door, it’ll probably be a replacement at WWDC.
• Yes: iPod Price Changes
The iPod family is a bit fragmented. At the top, you have the two photo models. For $100 less than the iPod photo 40GB, you can get the regular iPod 40GB. Does the photo capability really add that much to the price? I’m not sure, but if Apple wants to sell more iPod photos, they’re going to need to drop the price a bit. I suspect that the iPod 40GB’s days are numbered.
• Yes: Dang, Why Didn’t I Think of That?
Every once in awhile, a product is introduced that is so different and cool, it flew under most people’s radar. I’m hoping (and guessing) that we might see something like that next week.
We’ll just have to wait and see what Apple introduces, but be sure to come back and follow our Macworld coverage.