6/6/08
7:59 am

MacMost Now 90: WWDC Rumor Roundup

Gary Rosenzweig looks at rumors of new products as the Steve Jobs keynote approaches. Rumors include a new iPhone, a relaunch of .Mac, Mac OS X 10.6.

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi this is Gary. Monday is the Worldwide Developer Conference. One of those events where Steve Jobs comes out, gives a keynote, and announces some new stuff. Let's speculate on what he'll announce on this episode of MacMost Now.
So by far the biggest rumor is that of a new iPhone. There's talk that it may have a 3G chip in it which will mean faster data speeds. There's also talk that it'll have video conferencing which means that you'll be able to talk to somebody and see them at the same time and that means probably a camera in the front of the device instead of in the back. This might also lead to having video capabilities, not just still picture capabilities. And there's also talk of having real GPS in it so it can tell your location and maybe give you driving directions, that sort of thing. Now there's a lot of fuel to this rumor. The main thing is there's been a month-long shortage of the iPhone everywhere. You can't even buy online at the Apple store. Why would Apple not have the iPhone available unless they plan on launching a new one really soon? Now we don't know whether we're going to get a new one on Monday or whether we're just going to get an announcement of a new iPhone and perhaps a launch later in the month or the next month. We'll just have to wait and see.
But one bit of iPhone new that's for sure is that there'll be a lot of talk about third-party applications. The SDK is now in the sixth version of the beta and there's a lot of developers making applications for it. They're supposed to announce further plans for launching the store for third-party applications at the conference and we'll probably see some of the very first ones to be sold.
Now another rumor that's been that's been talked about that doesn't have that much behind it is a revamp of the .mac service. Now the .mac service is basically the internet service that you can get through Apple. It costs $99 a year and has a whole bunch of different features like the ability to sync your contacts and your calendars online, a lot of drive space either to use as an iDisc or to actually serve up web pages, and also some really interesting iChat and syncing capabilities. But, a lot of people complain that $99 really isn't worth it and the truth is, it isn't if you only use one of those things. And if you're like me an you use multiple ones, $99 is quite a bargain. But there's talk about launching it maybe a relaunch as Mobile Me or me.com so we'll see what happens with that and if there's any announcement at all concerning .mac.
This is definitely an area that Apple could do something really cool with. I mean, everybody is doing social networks and there's all sorts of different plans out there for internet service providers. There's more and more people online with just blogs or their photos or whatever and .mac has a lot of these things built into it but they don't push it quite as much. A nice rebranding of it and maybe a polishing of all the interfaces could mean that Apple could compete in this space.
Another rumor going around is that of Mac OS 10.6, a new version of the operating system. Now since the release of 10.5 Leopard, we really haven't heard much about the next version. Instead, we've heard about incremental bits. As a matter of fact, we got version 10.5.3 just last week and 10.5.4 is already out to developers for testing. So, the release of 10.6 makes sense at this time. The rumor is that it's going to be called Snow Leopard which is another cat but it does suggest that maybe it's not a complete revision of the operating system like when we went from Jaguar to Tiger and then Leopard but maybe it's just more of an incremental thing. Maybe you won't even be charged the full amount; it will have an upgrade price. We'll see. But the rumor is that they'll announce it next week and that it will be available in January.
Now I find it unlikely that it will actually launch in January. I think, yeah, we might hear about it here at this conference but I think Leopard has a longer shelf-life. They've invested a lot into it. I mean, it's only iPhone and the iPod Touch and Apple TV, not just all Macs. So I think it has a longer shelf-life than just a year-and-a-half. I think we'll probably hear about it this year and maybe get a launch of it next year.
Now of course there's other rumors floating around. There's rumors that there's going to be something between an iPhone, iPhone Touch, and a Mac like a small type of tablet. Sort of like the Newton, I guess. That kind of makes sense. They would have an OS that already handles it and a lot of people would love this sort of larger iPhone device. But I wouldn't count on it.
Now we have a section at MacMost where we track rumors, MacMost.com/rumors, and we track rumors and point you to articles about them. Now, the conference is going to have the keynote address on Monday at 10:00 am Pacific time, so at 1:00 pm in the east. I'm going to be covering it on the MacMost blog, announcing things as they come across the net. So check it out then on Monday and then after the keynote is over, I'll be coming out with another episode of MacMost Now as a rundown of what was said. Until then, this is Gary Rosenzweig with another episode of MacMost Now.