This article was first published on 2008-12-12. Due to the age of this article, it is included here for archive purposes only.
We have less than a month to go before we see Steve Jobs again on the stage at Macworld 2009. 2 years ago he rocked the industry (and APPL stock) introducing the iPhone. Last year was a bunch more iPhone including the iPhone SDK and App Store which has put another booster stage on the iPhone. This year it appears there may not be much left in his bag of tricks.
The thing is, for us Mac fans and industry watchers, Macworld is anticipated like a second Christmas morning where we get to glimpse upcoming Apple offerings and see the road map for the year ahead. Usually the Apple rumor world lights up in advance and sometimes the stock will rise if the rumors sound promising. To say Macworld is highly anticipated would be an understatement given the usual build up in the press as well as in Mac communities.
This year though, the news concerning Macworld so far is about who isn’t participating as a show floor vendor. This is due to economic considerations rather than what is coming out of Apple. And the rumor sites have been pretty bare as far as MW09 stories go. I’d hate for the story leading up to Macworld to be about vendors skipping out.
What We Can Expect
So far we know the next big thing from Apple will the next Mac OS, Snow Leopard. It is rumored to be available as early as the first quarter of the year. Normally with major software updates, we get several weeks notice from developers about when the process comes to an end and it goes to "Gold Master" status. We haven’t heard that yet, so I figure it won’t be ready to buy at Macworld. (speaking of buying, I hope it doesn’t cost more than $15 – $20.)
What I am afraid of is that Snow Leopard will be the centerpiece of Job’s presentation. The reason that would be disappointing is that Snow Leopard is being framed as not having the bells and whistles that will appeal to consumers. Sure it will speed up your Mac and make developers’ lives easier, but I don’t expect anyone will be lining up to buy it.
Given that iLife and iWork are both named ’08, it should be expected that we will see previews of the next version of those suites for 2009. But since they will be incremental upgrades, I don’t think we’ll see much to get excited about.
What We Won’t See
Since all of the laptops got updated a few months ago, it’s a pretty safe bet we won’t see anything about them at Macworld. Even the new iMac look is just over a year old, so I expect nothing new there. The iPhone 3G will be just a half a year old, so I expect no iPhone hardware news either. iPods and Displays just got a refresh too. So what else could be part of MW09?
The biggest candidate for a surprise debut would be an AppleTV 2.0. But Apple would really have to dramatically upgrade this to merit center stage in the keynote address. By that, I mean that in addition to playing what’s on your Mac, it would need a DVD drive and DVR capability to really capture the consumer’s attention. I’m suggesting Apple TV go from a DVD player replacement to a media center replacement. Apple can easily add this technology. It’s just a matter of if they want to.
Of course maybe Santa Steve will whip an iPod Tablet out of his bag of goodies and blow our minds instead. What do you think? Let us know in the Comments section below!
UPDATE: Well, that was a dramatic way of lowering expectations! Apple has announced Phil Schiller will be giving the Keynote rather than Jobs and also that this year will be Apple’s last at Macworld. That’s called popping the balloon, not letting the air out of it.