Red Letter Day

Friday, January 06, 2006

Macworld Expo odds

I am headed off to San Francisco for the MacWorld Expo computer show next week. Before I leave, I have to engage in the favorite pastime of Apple users around the world, which is trying to guess what magical announcements Steve Jobs will make at his keynote address. This is a black art, involving tea leaves and chicken entrails and the final result often smells like, well, bird guts, but it is still fun to speculate. So, without further ado, here are my wild-ass predictions for new Apple toys at MacWorld 2006:

iLife 2006...The closest thing to a sure bet in the Mac world, you can take it to the bank that Apple will introduce iLife 2006. All the various existing iLife apps will get tweaks, and a new advanced (but easy) web page editing application will get added to the suite. It will tightly integrate into .Mac, of course. Front Row media-navigation software will also be included.

Intel-based laptops...I bet Apple will introduce an Intel-based laptop. I am betting they will do away with the distinction between iBooks and Powerbooks and have a single portable line of computers (how's that for a daring guess!), with a high end and low end (they will probably keep selling old PPC Powerbooks for a while, though, without emphasizing them). The new 'Book will run Intel's new portable chip, boot in 5 seconds, have a 6-hour battery life, and will be fast, quite redesigned from current offerings (think thin, super thin!) and will probably be the coolest new toy introduced at Macworld, even topping...

A Mac DVR...It makes logical sense for Apple to introduce a DVR, as the inability to record television shows is the main way Windows Media Center PCs are still superior to the Mac Mini or iMac. An intel-based DVR, which will not replace, but perhaps compliment the Mini seems likely, although it is possible Apple may try to de-emphasize the "record your own" functionality of the DVR and instead seriously pimp an enhanced version of their online video store, which will greatly expand to carry dozens more TV shows and perhaps feature-length movies, probably viewable via streaming downloads and with an interface that will blow everything else away.

An update to the iWorks suite...Apple's poorly-received iWorks productivity suite will get an update to a new version with new features, the most significant being a simple but pretty spreadsheet/graphic application that won't replace Excel, but will be good for folks who don't know a formula from Formica.

A slightly-improved iPod shuffle...I am guessing the Shuffle will be slightly re-designed, and have a few bucks knocked off the price, but will largely remain the same. No other new iPods will be introduced.

So, come back here Tuesday night and see how accurate I am!


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