The Obvious MacWorld 2009 Prediction, Now With Bonuses!

It’s the run-up to MacWorld, which means it’s time for some predictions. So let’s get the obvious out of the way.

MacBook plus 2 inches plus 2 cores

17 Inch Quad-Core MacBook Pro

To me, this is the obvious choice. Intel have releases Quad Core Notebook processors, and Apple have yet to announce an update to the 17 Inch MacBook Pro (the Uni Body Aluminium case is currently only found on the 15 Inch MacBook Pros and the 13 Inch MacBooks). Putting 2 (extra inches) and 2 (extra cores) together, and you get 4. The only real concern I have about this prediction is that it ties things up a little too nicely, a new Intel processor being announced (albeit quietly) shortly before MacWorld.

Merging the Apple TV and the Mac Mini

There’s been rumours circulating regarding an updated Mac Mini, along with rumours regarding a new / updated Apple TV with built in PVR functionality, I think both rumours are true.  And furthermore, it will be a single device. The Mac Mini and the Apple TV are close enough in size and potential to inhabit the same space, and giving the Apple TV a power boost, and the ability to run additional software, could make it a real winner. I can’t see the new device, let’s call it the Apple Video, using a full version of OSX, but more likely a sandboxed version that allows additional functionality to be added via applications, much like the iPhone.

The Also-Rans

By far the most repeated rumours currently doing the rounds are those of a new, smaller iPhone (the iPhone Nano), and bringing iWork and/or iLife into the Mobile Me family. At this moment in time, I’m struggling to buy either of these rumours, and here’s why.

Starting with the Mobile Me and iLife / iWork rumours. I can’t see Apple making such significant changes to the Mobile Me suite while they are still struggling to stabilise it with the current feature set. Apple came out shortly after the Mobile Me launch and admitted that Mobile Me wasn’t up to it’s usual high standards as it was rushed out. I can’t see them making the same mistake again, and it wouldn’t be possible for them to dedicate the time and effort required to give the features the attention they need whilst there’s still remedial work happening on the core Mobile Me service as well as the ongoing development of the next version of OSX, Snow Leopard.

Moving on to the iPhone Nano rumours, and I can’t see how it will practically work. Currently, Apple have been careful to keep the various versions of the iPhone and iPod Touch similar enough to enable applications to work across all the devices (iPhone, iPhone 3g, first and second generation iPod Touches). It limits work for both Apple and application developers. The only way Apple could maintain this position with the release of a smaller device would be to greatly increase the screen resolution, which to me at least doesn’t actually seem technically possible. The other option would be to accept that this iPhone Nano is a paired down device that simply doesn’t have the same capabilities as the full sized iPhone. This would be fine except for Apple’s recent advertising campaign that heavily featured apps from the app store. Are consumers smart enough to know the difference between an App Store compatible iPhone, and a non App Store compatible iPhone Nano? I have my doubts, and so do Apple (you’ll remember Steve Jobs’s joke at the launch of Leopard regarding the “different versions”, taking a stab at the complexity of Windows Vista’s options).

I’m not saying neither of these two products will be announced, but I’d be surprised if they are.

What are your predictions for MacWorld this year? Will Apple go out with a bang, or a whimper?