For months predictions about what will be unveiled at MWSF have been circulating around the Internet. Here are my predictions of what we will and wont see at MWSF this Tuesday.
Here are my predictions for each category from most confident to least confident. At the end I’ll list any rumors that I don’t think we will see at MWSF.
iTunes 7.6 – Practically confirmed via the Family Guy Blue Harvest rumor. This release will support movie rentals, copying movies off DVDs (possibly ripping like Handbrake, or copying off a seperate Fairplay enabled version stored on the DVD), and purchasing iPhone applications.
iPhone Firmware 1.1.3 – Extremely likely, though I think the final name for the firmware will be 1.2.0, not 1.1.3 (its way more than a .1 release).
Thin MacBook – Very likely, .6″ thick and 13″ screen. Priced between MacBook and MacBook Pro ($1500-$1800). Comes with 32GB SSD, integrated graphics and external DVD+DL burner. Does not come with Dock. Possible “nifty feature” no one knows about yet.
Apple Dock – Likely. For use with Thin Macbook, the one with the monitor and the laptop sliding in and out. Apple will also offer a monitor-less dock, but its not as pretty and doesn’t get but a brief mention.
16GB iPhone – Likely. Revised 8GB and 16GB models that will reduce costs a bit, along with making it harder to tamper with for unlocking (see my previous post on iPhone laundering). Prices stay at $399 for the 8GB and $499 for the 16GB. This is the “minor” upgrade in Apple’s Major, Minor, Major iPhone release cycle. Could possibly include one new minor feature, along the lines of real GPS, slightly longer battery life, etc.
Revised, Cheaper AppleTV – slightly possible. With the addition of movie rentals, the AppleTV cant afford to stay at its $300 price bracket, at least not if it cant do better than 720p. A cheap DVD player and a Netflix subscription beat it hands down. Apple can take this product in any number of directions. The most likely scenario I see is taking the Airport 802.11n model and removing the wired ports and bolting on an H.264 encoder than can do 1080p and a HDMI port and optical/coax out. The most likely alternative to that would be an AppleTV replacement that has 4GB of flash instead of a 40GB HD, and 1080p support. Either model will price out around $200, but if they push the High Definition aspect of it, Steve will be happy to tout that its the cheapest way to get High Def movies on your television (Blu-ray players are $300+).
What we wont see
New MacBook Pros or MacBooks. Apple will unveil a new MBP design in early/mid February available immediately. A small chance they would launch a xMac (headless mid-range tower Mac) along side the new laptop, the xMac wouldn’t ship until early/mid March (when Intel launches their quad core penryn chips). MacBooks (and the Mini, if its still around) don’t get the Penryn bump until April or May.
New Displays. Yes, I’m beating a dead horse here. But as long as displays keep selling, there is no need to change them.