Macworld 2009 Rumors - What you can expect, and what you shouldn't

What to expect at Macworld 2009

With Macworld just around the corner, people are still clamoring and fretting over the fact that Steve Jobs won't be delivering the keynote.  Lost in the shuffle, however, is the fact that Apple (via Phil Schiller) will most likely deliver some interesting announcements to its product line.  While there won't be a bombshell announcement that'll catch everyone off-guard like the iPhone did in 2007, it's important to remember that a product like the iPhone doesn't come around every year, or even every 5 years.  That said, here's a look at some of the more popular rumors floating around regarding what Apple might have up its sleeve come Tuesday.

1.  32 GB iPhone

One of the older Macworld 2009 rumors has Apple announcing the availability of a 32 GB iPhone.  Currently, the largest capacity iPhone you can purchase is 16 GB, and as users become more accustomed to downloading media and applications to their devices, increased capacity is a must and a given.  Users, however, can already purchase a 32 GB iPod Touch, so why has Apple been slow to release the same for the iPhone?

The answer, not surprisingly, is due to the fact that the iPhone has less room for flash chips due to the fact that it also contains some important parts necessary to, surprise surprise, make phone calls!  In other words, the iPhone currently has less physical space within the device itself.  So, while theiPod Touch currently has two 16 GB flash chips inside, the iPhone only has room for 1.  Recent reports, however, suggest that single 32 GB flash chips might soon become available.  So while a 32 GB iPhone is inevitable, whether or not it will be announced atMacworld is something we'll soon find out.

2. Snow Leopard

This is about as close to a sure thing as you're gonna get when making predictions about Macworld. It's pretty much guaranteed that Phil Schiller will spend a considerable amount of time talking about, and potentially demo-ing, the features we can expect to see in Snow Leopard.  But don't jump out of your seats just yet.  As opposed to Mac OS upgrades of the past such as Tiger and Leopard, this upgrade won't feature many "bells and whistles", and will instead focus on 'under the hood' enhancements such as improving system performance and efficiency.

Some of the features users can look forward to in Snow Leopard include:

  • A new Finder completely re-written in Cocoa
  • Microsoft Exchange Support right out of the box
  • 64 bit support
  • Quicktime X, a platform that Apple promises will "advance modern media and Internet standards"

3. New MacMini's will be announced

This is another rumor you can probably bet on coming true.  Despite numerous reports suggesting that Apple was killing the MacMini, Apple is poised to announce significant enhancements to the oft-neglected device. In addition to the standard spec upgrades, expect to see new MacMini's featuring a new Mini DisplayPort, and the ability to hold more RAM.  Current MacMini's max out at 2GB, but new versions are expected to support up to 4GB of RAM.  There are also rumors floating around stating that the MacMini will have a new case design that more closely resembles the black and aluminum styled iMac.  

4. iPhone Nano

While analysts have repeatedly said that Apple needs to come out with a varied lineup of iPhones in order to be successful, iPhone 3G sales have proven otherwise.  Nevertheless, rumors abound of an iPhone Nano with a smaller form factor, and case makers have already released pictures of cases for this yet-to-be-announced iPhone.  Is there something to this?  I doubt it.  The whole appeal of the iPhone is it's large screen that allows users to comfortably browse the web, watch movies, and use applications.  An iPhone with a smaller screen not only takes away those benefits, but introduces new challenges such as typing on an even smaller screen.  More importantly, Steve Jobs has touted the iPhone as being a more attractive platform for developers precisely because they only need to code for one device.  It therefore seems extremely unlikely that Apple will announce a smaller form factor iPhone. 

There's no telling what Apple might do in the future, but the app store is still relatively new, and we've only seen the tip of the iceberg as to how its functionality can be extended via third party apps.  It makes more sense for Apple to continue to foster app store expansion and iPhone sales, as opposed to selling cheaper (and thus lower margin) iPhone Nanos.

5. New iMacs

An announcement of upgraded iMacs is more likely than not.  Aside from the standard speed bumps, expect to see new iMacs equipped with NVIDIA chips, and there have also been some rumors about new quad-core iMacs as well.  If true, this should be a welcome power boost for the entire iMac line.

6. Unibody and 17 inch MacBook Pro with irreplaceable battery

Seth Weintraub over at Computerworld recently reported that Apple is poised to make some interesting changes to its MacBook Pro line.  Specifically, he reports that the new MacBook Pro 17 inch models will sport much longer battery life, and (gasp!) will not have a replaceable battery, much like the MacBook Air.  Obviously, anyone buying a 17 inch MacBook Pro is going to be burning up some considerable horsepower, and you'd think that they, more than any other type of user, would need the ability to swap out batteries when doing work out in the field.  If the new batteries, however, last significantly longer than what is currently available, it might all be a wash.

7.  iWork and iMovie moving up to the cloud

While definitely possible, we'll have to wait until Tuesday to see just how exciting the web-based options of iWork and iMovie might potentially be.  With respect to iMovie, however, I wouldn't expect anything too crazy.  Editing huge chunks of video up in the cloud seems extremely inefficient.  Expect iMovie to remain mostly cloud-less, with perhaps the potential for some rudimentary cloud editing capabilities.

As Macworld steadily approaches, the rumors about what Apple is going to announce will get increasingly absurd.  In other words, don't hold your breath for a tablet,blu-ray, or a surprise appearance by either Steve Jobs or Mark Papermaster.  Like this post? Check out these others from iOnApple

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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