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Predictions Abound for Macworld '08

By Chris Maxcer MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Jan 11, 2008 8:30 AM PT

The Apple and Mac-focused blogosphere has been dominated by the the upcoming Macworld show, and more importantly, what Apple CEO Steve Jobs might unveil.

Predictions Abound for Macworld '08

Last year, Jobs stole the world's attention away from the much larger Consumer Economics Show (CES) when he announced the iPhone. What's coming this year? Can anything top the iPhone? Bloggers are making their predictions -- except this year, the success of the iPhone has launched Apple into the news stratosphere.

Many of the predictions are running in the mainstream press, which are threatening to drown out the Apple enthusiast sites. Still, bloggers focused on the Cuptertino, Calif., company have plenty to talk about, and are even diving into more esoteric topics to kill time, like how to clean Apple keyboards in a common dishwasher. Hint: Don't use detergent.

Setting the Bar

"Last year, Apple demonstrated at Macworld that a smaller but focused venue could equal and even surpass CES for newsworthiness, and all Apple hands are on deck this year to pull off the same feat," James McQuivey, an analyst and vice president of research for Forrester, told MacNewsWorld.

"It will be difficult to announce anything as big as the iPhone, but it will still be easy to trump CES because nothing surprising happened at CES, so the bar has been lowered for Apple. With just some simple additions to its existing strategies for computing, music and video, Apple should be able to command as much attention as before," he added.

Macworld Predictions

BloggingStocks, which is a highly commercial effort covering anything that might be of interest to Wall Street and investors, isn't immune from the challenges of separating fact from reality -- or at least, citing sources.

"Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), always one to take a firm grasp of the future and make it today's reality, has announced that it will begin giving its iTunes customers the ability to rent digital movies in addition to buying them directly from its iTunes store -- and it's already signed up Fox Studios and Warner Bros. as partners in the new venture," Brian White posted yesterday.

While most everyone and their dog, it seems, believes that Apple is poised to announce the ability to rent movies from iTunes, I can't find an official Apple source that actually announced this groundbreaking endeavor. Jobs will, most likely, announce iTunes movie rentals at Macworld next week.

Mac Recon posted a roundup of expectations for Macworld that illustrates the dominate chatter -- a next-generation iPhone and the AT&T-spilled-beans 3G capability, a new or updated Apple TV, a new MacBook, and a iPhone software developer's kit. While The Apple Blog also predicted similar Macworld expectations (and hopes), the blogging site has moved on, covering the best way to clean a MacBook screen, the freeing of NetNewsWire, and the Safari add-on Inquisitor that alters search results.

The Cult of Mac blog, which is an offshoot of Wired.com and led by Wired.com Managing Editor Leander Kahney, as well as the author of the books, "The Cult of Mac" and "The Cult of iPod", is also gearing up for Macworld.

"My two favorite tech news sites -- Gizmodo and Ars Technica -- are hosting a pre-keynote party in San Francisco on Monday night (the 14th) at Harlot, 46 Minna Street. 8-11.30pm. Giz editor Brian Lam is promising to buy everyone a beer, and there's schwag (likely shite) for early birds. I'll be there, and so apparently will Dan Lyons, aka Fake Steve," Kahney posted.

Kahney, by the way, is also the guy who tossed his keyboard in the dishwasher after drenching it in a cup of coffee. He posted some before and after photos, and his post generated 25 comments. Apparently grungy keys are quite common.

"If I could put my MacBook in the dishwasher I'd be really happy," noted Arne Midtlund.

And beeDevil, it turns out, has done this before, "I too have washed multiple keyboards in the dishwasher. Take note of the article, use NO dishwashing detergent. And copious drying (3-5 days) will be necessary. Even so, be warned, about every fifth or sixth keyboard came out DOA," he noted.

Dishwashers and keyboards aside, you can bet that every Apple-focused blog will have a flurry of activity next week when Macworld actually hits.

Moving To the Mac Pro

Most sites published a note about the updated Mac Pro that Apple announced this week. The idea, most seemed to agree, was to get the professional upgrade out of the way so that Macworld wouldn't be too cluttered with too many things for Jobs to talk about and able keep it focused on the big jaw-droppers, like a possible MacBook Thin -- some kind of ultra-svelte portable, which could even be a tablet Mac that could use some of the iPhone's touch-screen capabilities.

The Macintosh News Network (MacNN), which also publishes blogs in addition to traditional news, posted some interesting patent designs that were awarded to Apple between Jan. 1 and 8, 2008. Some show the familiar iPod, iPod shuffle, and even an iPhone mockup, but one that is particularly interesting shows what could be a MacBook-type docking station, where an ultra-portable MacBook or Mac tablet could be inserted into the right side of an iMac. It's a hand-drawn graphic, posted by someone using the handle "Neo," and well-worth checking out.

Lastly, the Untold iPhone Story

Wired, it turns out, generated another flurry of blog activity with its in-depth look, "The Untold Story: How the iPhone Blew Up the Wireless Industry," by Fred Vogelstein.

In the lengthy article, Vogelstein reveals the inner workings of Apple surrounding the iPhone, and while the article is ripe with detail, there's very little in the way of cited sources. As you might expect, with a company as secretive as Apple, employees who are willing go on the record might reasonably fear for their jobs. Perhaps the most interesting item is that only 30 high-level employees even saw the iPhone before Jobs revealed it, according to the report.

Oh, and one more thing: Vogel makes some great points about the wireless industry and how Jobs singlehandedly changed it for the good of consumers everywhere.

"I guess I can cut them a little slack now about the underwhelming iPhone updates so far. I had no idea how much work all of it really truly is. I'm sure now that they have it more solid they will be adding the features etc.," noted MacFly123 on MacRumors.com, in reference to a post about the Wired iPhone article.

The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs

Lyons, posting as Steve Jobs, in his spoof blog, The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs , gets right to the Macworld chase like no one else can:

"I can't get into details but we have something really big and really super surprising for you next week. I'm not talking about the flashbook or the new software for iPhone or the movie rentals on iTunes. I'm talking about something else. Something nobody has even speculated about. Something nobody could even imagine. We think it's a game changer. And we're all really, really excited about it."

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