The Keeper of the iBook
By Mark Newhouse, <email@example.com>
iSpeculation about MacWorld New York
What does MWNY hold for us next week? There are very few outside of Jobs and Ive who really know the answer to that question. However, a little examination of the evidence can lead to some reasonable speculation about what might be revealed come July 18.
Last time my predictions were made with tongue firmly planted in cheek. This time I am doing some serious speculation. I have no hotline to Jobs, or anyone at Apple; nor do I have access to the soy based goat entrails that have served Jack so well at As the Apple Turns. No, I must rely on my feeble brain putting two and two together and getting, in all likelihood, somewhere on the order of four...
We're back to a four pronged strategy from Apple with their recent announcement that the Cube is now a collector's item. That leaves us with two product lines each in the Consumer and Pro slots.
Let's look at the consumer slot first. With Apple going to an all LCD panel line-up for monitors, everyone is predicting an LCD iMac. Or at least they were. Fickle lot, those rumor mongers.
I still think we'll see a flat panel iMac at MWNY. The iMac enclosure hasn't changed significantly since it debuted in 1998. It is the last in Apple's line to receive a complete overhaul (with the towers coming in at a close second). Even the iBook has a completely new enclosure for the (real) new millennium. Even so, I wouldn't be surprised to see the low end iMac(s) still sport the old enclosure, complete with 15" CRT.
Apple didn't spend years developing their new color technology that gave us Flower Power and Blue Dalmatian, to stop at those two options. After taking a closer look at these machines, the technology really is pretty impressive. Expect it to make it to the new LCD iMacs.
The iBook is too new to see a significant upgrade. If Jobs announces a speed bump for the iBook, you can expect one for the TiBook as well. Looking at the plastics on the iBook makes me think that we'll see some new color/designs announced for the iBook, but not much else will change.
The G4 tower design has been around for two years now. And it will be at least another six months before we see any major change in the enclosure design. I do think we'll see some speed bumps announced, but the Gigahertz G4 is still a few months off.
I am most unclear about this product. A speed bump would be nice here, or possibly an anodized color version, but I don't see either of those happening come Jobs' Keynote. What is most likely for the G4 PowerBooks is the option of a combination DVD/CDRW drive that will become available throughout the entire line starting with the keynote.
Will Apple make X the default OS? Starting September 1 they will. That is when OS X 10.1 will be available. For now we'll see a faster X, and demos of what will be shipping as the default OS on all Macs soon, but I think there is still too much work to be done (DVD playback anyone?) to ship it default.
It started with iMovie, which gave birth to iTunes, and then iDVD. If Apple wants their computers to be a digital hub, the next logical step is something that allows you to take your digital photos and manipulate them so they are ready for iMovie or iDVD, or for posting on the web.
Introducing iPhoto. With single click batch processing built in for all possible endpoints, from thumbnails to printing on your color inkjet.
One more thing...
Two possibilities here - a rack-mount server (real server hardware, not just a G4 tower with OS X Server installed), or the return of Apple to the PDA space they invented.
If Apple doesn't come up with more than new colors for the iMac, and there aren't any significant new technologies for Jobs to demo, there needs to be a head-turning, crowd-pleasing, media-buzz-generating, announcement. And I don't think a rack-mount server is anything to write home about, sexy-new-technology-wise, anyway (unless your mom runs an ISP...).
That leaves the Apple PDA. And a re-expansion of the product matrix.
I don't think Apple will be content to license the Palm OS or just slap an Apple logo on one of Palm's current offerings. Apple isn't one to Embrace and Extend as they prefer Inventing and Patenting. So if there is no LCD iMacs, expect a surprising announcement here. But I don't think Apple is ready with a handheld yet. (I hope they prove me wrong, though). Which is another reason why I think we'll see at least one configuration of a flat panel iMac.
However, I wouldn't be surprised if none of this came about.
After all, it's only speculation...
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Keeper of the iBook Copyright © 2001, Mark Newhouse, all rights reserved