5 Crazy Macworld 2008 Predictions

MacWorld LogoEveryone loves doing it. It’s easy, fun, and no repercussions if you do it completely wrong. Of course I’m talking about wildly speculating on Apple Products. Specifically, the fast approaching MacWorld 2008. For what it’s worth, the best set of predictions I’ve seen so far have been from Michael over at Apple Gazette. You could make a case for all of them and I think the iTunes update, and the iPhone SDK are givens, so I won’t bother to reiterate them. I don’t entirely agree though, and my penchant for bold predictions has clearly gotten the better of me. So what do I think we’ll see Steve Jobs announce at MacWorld? Let’s start with the boldest of them all.

  1. iPhone Touch and iPhone Basic – Steve Jobs’s plan to corner the mobile market isn’t going to happen with the current iPhone. It’s just not. It’s too expensive, IT departments don’t like it, and it’s really not suitable in certain situations. Because of this, I’m predicting a cut down, basic version of the iPhone. I doubt it will retain the touch screen and will offer a far simpler solution to those who want it. It will also be significantly cheaper. When there’s such a range of choice in the iPod line, why would the iPhone be a single SKU? The regular iPhone, from now on called the “iPhone Touch” will get a boost in storage space (to 16Gb) and 3G. Steve will also announce an enhanced tracking feature to provide GPS-like functionality through Google Maps, far more accurately than anyone as done before. There will also be a second camera for iChat compatible video chat and a beefed up normal camera. Expect the media to brand the iPhone Touch the new Newton shortly afterwards and Apple to deny all similarities. Obviously, before talking about the changes being made to the iPhone line there will me a five minute presentation, complete with wooden graphs, on how successful it is.
  2. No More AT&T – Sticking with the iPhone, I can see the partnership with AT&T being broken. Apple only ever needed it as a stepping stone into the market, and now they’ve succeeded in doing that. I don’t think this will be immediate, but there will be strong hints coming from Apple.
  3. Completely Redesigned MacBook Pros – An overhaul of the GPU, CPU and mainboard, new, larger and faster drives and redesigned cases. I’d expect the new enclosures to look more like the new iMacs, with a keyboard similar to the MacBooks, with a “chiclet” style. I see the 17 inch being the flagship, with the obvious 15 incher, but, there will be a new…
  4. Multi-Touch MacBook Pro – 13.3 inches, same style as the new MacBook Pros with a Multi-Touch Interface. I’ve posted my reasons for believing Multi-Touch Macs are on the way earlier this week, and I think it’s a feature that has to go into the Pro line. It’s also a feature tht I think would be better implemented in a smaller than 15 inch form factor, so expect 13.3 inches, the same as the MacBook. There will, of course, be no stylus, it will all be driven by human touch and much of the technology will be similar to that found on the iPhone and iPod Touch with a few extra bells and whistles thrown in. Expose will be enhanced as will Safari. Front Row will become the primary method for interfacing using touch technology, so this will be enhanced to work beyond it’s current media-driven focus.
  5. OSX 10.6 Cougar – There were some red faces round Apple when they had to delay Leopard, only to mildly dissapoint with the final release. So Steve will announce that 10.6, either “Cougar” or “Lynx” (both registered by Apple, my money’s on Cougar), is already well into development and will come out within 2008. The main draw will be the new, much discussed file system, everything else will be kept secret.

Have I hit the nail on the head with any of those predictions, or am I way off? Isn’t wild speculation fun! If you want to start some rumours, the comment field below awaits.