With the October 14th Apple Notebook Event just around the corner, the TUAW blogger squad decided it was time to look into our iCrystalBalls and make
a SWAG predictions about what laptop goodness will be announced by the Cupertino Kids on Tuesday. To make this extra crunchy, we're not only posting our best guesses as to what will actually be announced, but what Steve J. will announce as "one more thing".
Best Guess -- The entire MacBook line will be made of aluminum, and the 15" and 17" models will get slightly faster processors and more installed RAM. If that's the only announcement, expect Apple's stock to dive even further than it has during the recent stock market freefall.
One More Thing -- The iTablet. Netbooks are selling like hotcakes, so Apple will get in on the action by coming out with a 9" tablet with a virtual keyboard and multi-touch support. Since it is all display and no keyboard, it will weigh less than two pounds. Think of an über-iPhone.
Victor Agreda, Jr.
Best Guess -- Ditto what Steve said, except I think a drop in price will happen in light of tough economic times. Despite what some analysts may babble about, Apple is interested in the long game, and that means building more market share. To stay in the game they have to get more price competitive on the low end.
One More Thing -- Again, I agree with Steve, although I wouldn't call this a tablet. More like a mini-Air with a decent keyboard (Apple has long been in favor of keeping decent-sized keyboards on smaller laptops) and touchscreen up top. I think the form factor will be something clever and surprising. If it appears at all, of course.
I think we'll see higher-end MacBook enclosures made of aluminum, and a sub-$1,000 model still made from white plastic. There's a part of me that says they won't ditch plastic altogether, because of the style factor: I bet there will be some people who still want a black MacBook. Hey, maybe there will be a black aluminum MacBook. Classy.
One More Thing -- I'm still bearish on the iTablet. I think Apple has too much invested in the iPhone as a mobile platform to try and dilute it with another form factor with a different screen size. If it's a Mac, I'm not a fan of jury-rigging traditionally mouse-driven operating systems for styluses. Personally, I just don't think there will be "one more thing." He hasn't done that in a while, especially at "themed" events (like the music event last month).
I'm also fairly well convinced that the $800 MacBook (dare we call it the MacBook Jr.?) is inbound on Tuesday, although I'm not sure that the manufacturing rumors are completely on target. The mutterings about a mystery port on the new MacBook -- and a dockability patent from years past -- are starting to sound credible too.
One More Thing: I would love to see a BTO touchscreen option... and maybe a technology preview of an iTablet for delivery later in 2009.
New MacBooks are a given -- the Nvidia rumor sounds credible to me, not to mention that it's just what would push me to finally replace my old G4 Powerbook (though I'll miss my little 12" screen). "One more thing" seems like it's trending towards an AppleTV upgrade -- we've got HD content on the iTunes store, so it's time to have a set-top box that's fitting to play that content on. I'm hearing lots of Mac mini rumors as well, but I wonder if Apple will ever upgrade the mini -- it's small, it sells as-is, why break what's not broken?
Of course, as Victor mentioned in an email, "Whatever happens, AAPL will drop 10% because iUnicorn wasn't announced..." Think we're out of our minds? Let's hear your prediction in the comment section!