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Macworld predictions

by Rob Friesel

It’s time for Macworld and once again, we find ourselves compelled to give in to the net’s peer pressure and do a prediction round-up with a sprinkling of our own predictions.

Best-of-the-web style: the honorable Chuck Toporek has some well thought-out predictions and a mini round-up of his own over on MacDevCenter. Highlight reel includes some references to the inevitable iLife update, maybe something else in the software department, something in from hardware, and some speculation on what he calls “the $64,000 question”. Toporek’s speculation on what he calls “iTheater” is worth the 20 seconds if nothing else:

Now I know you’re all thinking that I’m smoking from a crack pipe, but c’mon, think about it. If you have a component in your home theatre system, you want it to turn on when you hit the Power button on the remote, right? Well, that same theory would apply to an iTheatre device. You don’t want to wait for an operating system to boot and load from disc. If you have a lightweight version of the operating system that can live on flash memory, you’ll get an instant on, and when it needs to do something more complex, then and only then will it need to access the disc to launch a program or provide some other service. Again, it’s all about speed, and when it comes to your home theatre, you want that device to turn on when you want to use it, not 30- or 60-seconds later. Now, now, now!

And he’s gathered up some of the best (be it funny or informative) speculation in the lead-up to this year’s Macworld:

  • Dave TaylorI’m just dying to see a Mac Tablet PC. […] I call it the “PowerPad” […] we just need to switch to the Intel hardware.
  • Chris AdamsonOverhaul .Mac, slash its price, do both, or just nuke it…
  • François Joseph de KermadecKeynote rocks but Pages still has the blues.
  • Giles TurnbullAn Intel-powered, incredibly small, lightweight, no optical drive iBook…
  • Tom BridgeThe mini will morph into a media center like device featuring cable card access and an iPod dock built into the upper face, and add SPDIF out for home theatre sound.

Interesting to me: Toporek didn’t touch on Spiers’ wishlist-style prediction about the Powerbook nano nor the iWeb rumor.

And what do I think? (Who cares?) iLife ’06 is a given – – minor revisions all around with some new deployment of FrontRow and maybe Photo Booth; the iWeb thing is probably a red herring; the Podcast Studio thing is a minor possibility (but that’s just me, I don’t “get” the podcast meme). iWork ’06 we’ll see, too – – Keynote will get a minor update, Pages a major update (but not the one it needs), and we’ll get “Numbers”. Hardware – – this is the big one isn’t it? – – first round of Intel hardware will be the iBooks. While I would agree that it’s the Powerbooks that are “due” for the speed-bump, they just got the graphics bump so we won’t see them until WWDC around June-ish. Nope. We’ll get iBooks with that so-called “Yonah” Intel core and maybe (just maybe) they’ll be stuffed with flash memory instead of a hard drive. Or will we? Will Tiger be really and truly and fully consumer-deployment-friendly for a January ’06 launch of Intel-based hardware? Or is that more of a “Hey, we’re just about to release Leopard” sort of thing? Na… As for the iTheater thing… That would be cool and I hope to see something like that – – but it seems too “early adopter” to be ready for primetime quite yet.

Last but not least, let me echo Adamson re: .Mac: Overhaul features, slash price or nuke it.

[tags]Macworld, Apple, iLife, iWork, .Mac, PowerPad, Keynote, Pages, Numbers, iBook, iWeb, iTheater, Chuck Toporek[/tags]

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

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