Macworld 2009 is nearly upon us. But with Steve Jobs absent from the proceedings, what can you expect to see?
What's coming for Macworld 2009
There's nothing like Macworld to ring in the new year, right? Well, not this year.
In an unexpected announcement, Apple officially put the kibosh on Macworld this year, and forever after. According to the Apple, 'this year is the last year the company will exhibit at Macworld Expo. Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, will deliver the opening keynote for this year’s Macworld Conference & Expo, and it will be Apple’s last keynote at the show.
The press release instantly raised speculation about Steve Jobs health, but the reality is that Apple don't really need Macworld anymore. With hundreds of retail stores Apple doesn't need an expo to showcase their products. And lets be honest, every time Apple blink the world press stands up and takes note.
Still, it's a shame Jobs won't be doing the keynote, but does that mean that Apple won't announce anything of substance? In short, probably, but not necessarily.
While Phil Schiller isn't as charming as Jobs, he's still done his fair share of product announcements in the past. His most recent was the launch of enterprise and Exchange integration for iPhone in March, but he's been a constant figure alongside Jobs for the past ten years. He's the natural replacement to Jobs as a keynote presenter, but probably not as CEO.
So what's Schiller going to talk about for 90 minutes on Tuesday morning? Here's a list of the possibilities:
State of the Mac, State of the iPhone
Schiller will spend the first 20 minutes discussing the Mac and iPhone market. He'll likely reveal sales figures for the Christmas trading period that will surprise everybody. He'll discuss the iPod Touch and iPhone as being one platform, and proudly trumpet the success of the App Store. We might also get some insight as to how the updated range of laptops is selling.
Snow Leopard - Mac OS X 10.6
With a likely release date of March, Apple will spend some time talking up the next major release of OS X, code named Snow Leopard. But with features squarely aimed at developers, consumers tuned in to Macworld might start yawning.
The speculation on the iPhone Nano won't go away. The only 'real' evidence to suggest such a device exists is that two casemanufacturers have listed iPhone Nano compatible cases for sale on their websites. Normally, this wouldn't mean much, but the last iPod Nano got 'outed' in much the same way.
New Mac Mini
The Mac Mini hasn't received an update for years now. Expect to see a revamped Mac Mini, possibly with a new industrial design, but definitely sporting the latest Core 2 Duo processor, updated graphics (maybe Nvidia's 9400M GPU) and Mini Displayport for compatibility with the new LED displays. In this market, a price drop for the Mac Mini is also a possibility.
iMac updates have been rumored for months now, but the iMac is likely to get the latest graphics processors, Mini Displayport connectivity, speed bumps, and potentially the introduction of a larger than 24" model.
Apple TV seems to get major updates once a year, and this year shouldn't be any different. While the software is pretty capable it would be great to see Apple open up the interface to third party developers to see what's really capable. Remember, there's a USB port on that sucker - perfect for an Apple TV version of EyeTV perhaps? Recent reportssuggest that Apple might even release a media server, but this sounds like a long shot to me.
Quadcore 17" MacBook Pro
With the releaseof the latest Core 2 Extreme Q9000 processor from Intel this week Apple could easily integrate this quadcore processor into the 17" MacBook Pro and deliver it for under USD $3000. The 17" is a popular model, and it's unlikely Apple won't dress it in the latest unibody aluminum chassis.
Software: iLife '09, iWork '09
Apple might deliver incremental upgrades to iLife but will hopefully release major enhancements to its reasonably priced office productivity suite. At present, Numbers and Pages are still version 1 products, and are severely in need of improvement.
Got anything to add? What do you think?