With all the hype, excitement and fever surrounding last year's Keynote and the Phone reveal (we might have caught a bit of iPhone fever here at TUAW as well), how will this year's event hope to compete with the exciting announcements of last year and perhaps even, dare I say it, surpass them? Of course, when considering this event and the impending announcements, these questions, and many others, come to mind.
How long will Steve talk about the success of iTunes and the iPod before moving on to the other more exciting announcements? Who will be the musical guest? Will Noah Wyle make another appearance? How about John Hodgman? Or maybe, Bill Gates? What will Steve be wearing? And most importantly: what will be that "one more thing?"
Your intrepid TUAW writers have considered those very questions, and more, through long days and nights of deliberation, discussion and discourse. In so doing, we have come up with some interesting, perhaps even controversial, prognostications, pre-visualizations and predictions of what new products and services will be announced at this year's keynote.
Sure, a few of our ideas may seem unusual or far-fetched to some of you. But really, a couple of years ago, who would have thought Apple would get into the cell phone business, let alone become a major player almost overnight? Exciting, mind-altering and business defining events can sometimes happen in an instant (or 90 minutes) so sit back, relax and consider our Macworld 2008 keynote predictions...
• Subnotebook - A glorified Touch exactly halfway between tablet and iPod
• 16 gig iPhone
• Retrofitting of the Mini into something more helpful to the bottom line
• Unveiling of competitively priced RAM, with apology to switchers who spent $1000 on memory upgrades
The firmware update that will politely brick your iPhone (just ask Erica).
• Ultraportable/tablet with external optical and touch-screen -- that's a given
• New MacBook Pros featuring 45 nm chip, no new MacBooks or Macbook upgrades (that will come in May)
• Merging of Apple TV and Apple Mini into Apple Media Center / iMedia, with requisite feature to take advantage of new rental/buying DVD equals free download access and wireless connectivity to other devices
• New Cinema displays that look more like the iMac
• One More Thing: 16 GB iPhone 3G
• New notebooks (possibly sub-notebook) featuring new design, processor, screen sizes (30" to be exact)
• New consumer based tower, possibly replacing the Mac Mini
• New Cinema displays with built-in iSight and IR sensor for Front Row (they'll be glass just like the current iMacs)
• AppleTV will undergo a facelift, bringing in a Blue-ray Disc drive and a 1TB hard disk
• iPhone will receive it's 1.1.3 firmware update (Steve will mention the iPhone firmware "leak" and chuckle slightly)
• One More Thing: iTunes 7.6 will be released along with a store re-design and video rentals
• One Last Thing: Steve will applaud the Apple engineers and will introduce some entertainment to end the show (possibly Feist singing "1...2...3...4...")
• iTunes 7.6 and iPhone 1.1.3; iTunes gets yet another facelift
• There will be much bitching Re: the iTunes makeover
• There will be much praise Re: the iTunes makeover
• Movie rentals
• Updates on the Starbucks deal
• Sub-notebook replaces the Macbook
• iMac performance bumps (no change in appearance)
• Rent movies directly from the AppleTV, Direct TV-style
• 16GB iPhones (the "one more thing")
• Free New Balance sneakers for all attendees!
• Mac Nano: ultraportable tablet, flash-based, touch-screen. My iNewton.
• iPhone 2.0: G3. (yawner) Shipping by July.
• iPhone SDK: apps that run as user, software distributed through iTunes
• Rentals: TV & Movies, distribution through the WiFi store and iTunes
• iTunes iPhone games sales: available today (being not today, but then)
• Mac mini tower: All the mini love, in a tower form for the able (read "non-iMac" user)
• Ubiquitous computing: Apple has partnered with more WiFi-ready storefronts beyond Starbucks
• Steve is retiring, this is his last Macworld keynote. (see Gates, Bill)
• John Mayer will play some music
• Rev'ed MacBook Pros
• Details on iPhone SDK and iPhone 3G
• iTunes 8.0 with rentals and HD content
• Blu-ray in a Mac with movie playback (or Apple TV 2)
• iTunes rentals and DVD onboarding
• Mac Mini & AppleTV merge into "Mac Nano" form factor - TV tuner and HDMI
• iPhone 16GB + Exchange connector for iPhone
• MacBook Nano: subnotebook, but NOT the 'dockable' patent, no touchscreen
• One More Thing: iPhone SDK ships early
• iTunes 7.6
• Subnotebook announcement, but not on sale for a while
• Movie rentals along with an AppleTV update
• The mini isn't getting updated, but won't disappear from the store either
• iPhone SDK gets a demo, either of the tools or more likely of the sample software
• iTunes 7.6
• Movie Rentals
• AppleTV update of some description
• iPhone software update
• Cinema Displays updated, but perhaps not in the Stevenote
• One More Thing: Subnotebook sans optical drive
• Some hint about Office 2008
• NO 3G iPhone hardware announced
• nanoBook or ultraportable sans optical drive (sold separately at 200% markup like RAM) touchscreen
• iTunes gets a rebranding and makeover
• Mac mini and AppleTV merge
• One more thing: 3G iPhone in a variety of colors
• iTunes 8.0 (I'm with on Mat on this one) with rentals, more iTunes plus stuff
• A revamped Airport Express with N networking and some other cool features
• iPhone SDK
• New displays
• New MacBooks and MacBook Pros
• That's about it. I don't think we'll see the 3G iPhone yet.
And finally, me. While I agree with most of my colleagues and really hope for a new subnotebook (my credit card is cleared, just in case) I don't think we will necessarily see any announcement of a new 3G iPhone. Why? Well, if I were considering the purchase of an iPhone right now and I heard there would be a better, stronger, faster one in a few months I would wait for it.
And so, I think, would a lot of other people on the fence -- which would basically kill sales of existing iPhones while people wait it out. So, no 3G iPhone announcement at the keynote. When they are ready to ship, Steve will announce them. Until then, no. However, we will likely see a 16GB iPhone to tide people over until 3G.
Here's my other predictions:
• Subnotebook- flash based, longer battery life, no touchscreen
• Updated MacBook Pros
• Updated Aperture (hopefully to accommodate RAW from the Nikon D300)
• Leopard 10.5.2 Update
• 16GB iPhone but not 3G
• Updated iTunes to accommodate the next two things on the list
• Movie rentals from studios including the already announced Fox plus one or two more. In HD too.
• Apple TV 2.0/Mac Mini - More storage, HD streaming from iTunes rented movies plus Blu-Ray
• Airport Express 2.0
Ok, that's us. What do you guys think will be announced?
The Steve Jobs keynote takes place Tuesday, January 15th at 9AM.