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Macworld 09 Keynote predictions

macworldexpo_logoAs I write there are less than 24 hours to the Macworld keynote, due to start at 9am in San Francisco (which should be 5pm in London). The usual speculation has been building for the past couple of months, so here is a round up of predictions and guesses along with a few of my own.

  • A Major Mac Mini update is pretty much certain, with every Mac news source predicting new models. Given the current financial slump it would come as no surprise if Apple shift focus to the cheaper end of the market. TUAW have some details of SATA optical drives (or second hard drives) and a new time capsule style case,  and Appleinsider is claiming dual display ports and Firewire 800. An Nvidia chipset is also expected, as is support for 4Gb of ram. That’s starting to sound like a great home/small business server, so I’m predicting some new software to allow easy configuration either now or in Snow Leopard.
  • The 17 inch Macbook Pro update was promised soon when the rest of the range went to the Unibody case, so this will likely be unveiled. 9to5mac claims the new model will feature a non-removable high capacity battery, and AppleInsider has confirmed this. That’s bound to cause a stir, given the fuss over the fixed battery in the iPhone and iPod Touch.
  • iWork is rumoured to making the move online, possibly to become part of MobileMe’s online services. I don’t think the local versions will be abandoned, as internet access may be getting faster but it still slows down during peak hours and occasionally falls over.
  • iMovie is also predicted to move to an online app, offering video editing to those not using Macs. The biggest problem with this is the time taken to upload the raw footage for editing, and we ar all being pushed to go HD. My Canon HF100 needs a huge amount of space to store it’s AVCHD movies in Apple’s intermediate format, and who wants to wait a few hours before you can start editing? I would expect a new desktop version of iMovie with greater online integration and possibly an online version for Standard definition video. Maybe a new iPhone video recording app to tie in with this?
  • Macbook mini. Netbook. Applebook. Whatever it ends up being called, the netbook market is one of the few areas of IT growth at the moment, so Apple is likely to release a sub-compact portable at some time this year. TechRadar is predicting a 7-9 inch iPod Touch/iPhone style tablet for later this year and I suspect they are spot on. A nine inch Mac tablet with virtual keyboard running Snow Leopard from 64Gb of flash memory or a 1.8 inch hard drive sounds like an Apple product that would fly off the shelves. Apple would wait for dual core atom processors for better performance, and build in a 3G modem for mobile net access.
  • The iPhone mini is one product I can’t see being announced yet, due to the effect this could have on iPhone 3G sales. Much more likely to be saved for the WWDC if it arrives at all. I’m thinking this is a non- starter, Apple don’t make budget products, and why hamper the iPhone experience with a smaller screen?

That’s my predictions done, come back in 24 hours to see how close they are. Or even better, leave your own predictions in the comments.

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