Macenstein’s 2006 Macworld predictions - Macenstein

Macenstein’s 2006 Macworld predictions

Posted by Dr. Macenstein

Well, it just wouldn’t be January without Macworld rumors, and since we haven’t heard many lately, we figured we might as well get our predictions out there for the world to shred. With about 10 days to go until Macworld our first prediction is you will start to see an avalanche of predictions, some more reliable than others. As for ours, some of these are based on actual sources, while others are just mere speculation. See if you can guess which is which!

1) iLife ’06.

This is a no brainer. Even if Apple had nothing new to add to the various iApps, once they went to a naming scheme incorporating the year, they are almost obliged to release a new one each January. The only big thing we see happening is Front Row will come bundled in the new iLife. This makes sense since Front Row is essentially a tool that manages your iLife files. We’re not sure how the remote would work though, it would seem Apple would have to include a USB receiver as well in the box. But this seems like a logical next step in the evolution of iLife. Plus it might help justify iLife’s ever increasing cost.

As for new application-specific features, we haven’t heard of any earth shattering new ones, but we’d like to see built-in album artwork searching in iTunes, the standard “more themes� for iDVD, the obligatory “more speed handling large libraries� in iPhoto, and more transitions and effects in iMovie, as well as support for more video and audio tracks, and Garage Band will likely finally see the audio breakout box everyone has predicted for the past 2 years. This is just us predicting the obvious. Hopefully there will be something big in each app we can’t think of. Probably flawless native Intel support.

Hopefully no John Mayer.

2) iPod nano gains video playback, storage increase

This is also pretty obvious. We’ve all seen the shots on the web of nanos that hackers have been able to get to play video, and now that the iTunes video store is taking off, it should only be a matter of time before the nano gets video playback. To top it off, we have received two e-mails from almost reliable sources confirming that this is happening. One source says Macworld, one source says spring. We’ll see. Either way, video playback means more storage space is needed, so look for bumps up to 6 GB and 8 GB models.

3) Intel iBooks and Mac minis (probably just the mini)

The timing of Intel’s Yonah unveiling (just a few days before Macworld) seems to make this announcement all but inevitable. Certainly the argument that the consumer models would be the first to gain Intel processors seems logical. Mac minis and iBooks aren’t really meant to run Final Cut Studio, and most consumer applications could run under the Intel Rosetta translation software without a huge performance penalty. This would give Apple more time to work on their pro hardware and pro Apps, making sure Final Cut runs well on Intel before releasing an Intel PowerBook or PowerMac.

With the recent iMac revision, we think we can count that one out for an update this soon. If we had to pick between the iBook and mini as to which is more likely to gain Intel first, we are going with the mini. And we expect the mini to become even more mini, now that heat is less of an issue with Intel chips. Plus Steve Jobs seems to like to shrink things more than Reducto from Harvey Birdman.

4) PowerBook gets a speed bump

We feel this is actually more likely to be an announcement that may come a week or two after Macworld, or almost no announcement at all. Many people will be looking for the Intel PowerBook, and will be let down by a minor revision to the PowerBook, but as stated in prediction #3 we think that despite Apple having more time than any developer to get their software Intel-ready, it just seems a little optimistic to think they have Final Cut Studio ready to go. Look for the PowerBook to get a speed bump to 1.8 GHz, or 1.8 GHz clocked at 2GHz.

5) iWork gets a spreadsheet program

Pretty much says it all. This is gonna happen. Look for Spreadsheet data to flow seamlessly into Keynote charts.

6) Smaller iPod shuffles in various colors

We have heard rumors of smaller shuffles for a while, and most have included the addition of different colors as well. At the very least, look for both black and white models to keep in line with the rest of the iPod family. But we have heard tell of iPod-mini-like colors as well, in addition to the improbable (but sort of cool) idea of colored LED lights embedded inside. Despite the size decrease, look for storage increases to 1GB and 2GB models.

7) The Simpsons go to Macworld

Finally, as we predicted last month, we are still anticipating an announcement by Apple and FOX studios that they are licensing video content for the iTunes store, most notably including episodes of The Simpsons. Personally, even though we are fans of the Simpsons, we would think episodes of The Family Guy might even gain more thunderous applause now a days, if Steve is looking for any showmanship suggestions.

Well, that’s it for us.

Obviously there will be stuff we missed, but these are the things we are most confident of. All in all there’s nothing to mind-blowing, yet any new iPod announcements are sure to get press attention and the love of Apple stock holders. In addition, the threat of the first Intel Mac is sure to make this one of the most covered Macworlds in recent memory. Because of all the free publicity, we think it is extremely likely Steve will have a fairly impressive “one more thing� this year.

Let’s just hope it doesn’t involve John Mayer.

14 Responses to “Macenstein’s 2006 Macworld predictions”
  1. JeroenR says:

    “Let’s just hope it doesn’t involve John Mayer.” But I like John Mayer!

    Anyway, good job on the predictions. I agree that iLife 06 and a new iWork seem like no-brainers. I’m still a little sceptical on the Intel iBook and Mac Mini. I have a feeling they will be announced, but won’t necessarily ship right away. As for the shuffle, my prediction is that will be phased out and we’ll get a 1GB nano instead.

  2. Eric says:

    Hey, John Mayer is a great artist and musician, and i was quite surprised and impressed when Steve Jobs introduced him to the stage last year…

    Besides that, the predictions seem very believable and I’m sure at least a couple will prove true. I’m kind of hoping that Apple will announce something totally unexpected just because I like surprises. (maybe an iPhone? – i wish!)

  3. Derek from Austin says:

    Pro products (i.e. Powerbooks, PowerMacs) will not be touched at MWSF next week. This will purely be a consumer show– iLife w/ easy iPod movie downloads, new MacMini with FrontRow and dotmac based on-demand video delivery service, new Shuffles, iBooks with iSights based on Intel, and of course, the iBook Thin.

    The buzz will be Apple’s entrance into the video-on-demand market.
    iLife will be more feature-rich. Hopefully they will roll iWork into iLife, or make an iLife Pro.
    Doubtful they will compete directly with Tivo since it will not encode on the fly.
    Intel thing is going to happen, so that’s not the real news.

    Powerbook and PowerMac Intels will be released at the Developers Conference in June I think.

  4. Oz says:

    PowerBook gets a speed bump???
    What the hell? The PowerBook had the opportunity for a speed bump a couple of months ago. I don’t see this happening at all, the PowerBook had a recent tweak, so if there is a new one, it won’t be just a speed bump.

    OK just to cover my bases (if it does get a speed bump) then I expect to see some ‘go fast stripes’ and tail fins – in choice of colors (naturally).

    Other than that, good article.

  5. Rondell says:

    according to a very reliable source, almost the entire line up will be refreshed, not just ibook and mac mini. in fact, unlike what you’ve read at most websites, these machines will offer dual core yonnah processors. finally, there is a strong chance that the machines will ship as dual boot windows/mac os x machines.

  6. Foo says:

    These are horrid predictions in general. The simpsons thing is a good idea, but certainly not very important. The ipod nano prediction is as the author said repeatedly a no brainer, as in it has no thought put into it. If the ipod nano gains video, it will cannibalize the normal ipod sales greatly. Also making statements like “hurrr, ilife 06” then not mentioning a single solid idea of what would be added, makes the statement pointless. Yes its 2006, yes ilife 06 will probably come out, but unless you can give some worthwhile information, save people some time so we don’t have to read your “no brainer” dribble. Cut out those items and you’re just looking at a rehash of what every other rumors site that actually gets information from insiders has reported.

  7. Wolfman Mac says:

    They aren’t claiming inside information on most of these, in fact they say they are just predicitng stuff. I actually think that is better than sites that pretend to know stuff. Do you want them to make up a new app? They do say Front Row becomes a part of iLife and ships with it. that sounds like a big deal.

    Anyway, I think the video nano would not canibalize big ipod sales. The nano’s screen is even smaller than the iPods screen everyone thought was too small for video, and their storage is too limited to ever really carry around a bunch of movies. It will be more of an extra feature that doesn’t cost apple anything, so why not throw it in, more than “HEY! You can now watch movies on a 2 inch screen too!” kind of thing.

  8. Jack says:

    Steve Jobs will either release every intel mac at once with all new extras, including powerbooks with isights and everthing big and new with the ipods and maybe even a new program!


    he will just bring out iLife ’06 and iOwrk ’06 and some new ipod stuff maybe one intel mac and thats it!

    this will all happen at macworld or in spring! both thing will happen!

  9. Wolfman Mac says:

    Steve should totally just go up onstage and just give us an update on how the Apple retail stores are doing, and then walk off.

    Announce everything the following week.

  10. SteelLynx says:

    Wait, one commentor said a dual boot apple/windows box? That would essentially kill apple in my mind (and I’m a die hard fan). I just don’t see this as an option at all. I, for one, would throw away my pretty G5 boxen and begin supporting the kde crowd. Screw apple if they do that.

  11. Rondell says:

    How would that kill Apple? Admittedly, I’m not an OS guy, but I was under the impression that your hardware is unaffected by having two OS’s on your machine, so what’s the difference? There wouldn’t be a performance hit. Or are you worried that developers would no longer create apps for the Mac OS because all Mac users would now have access to Windows, so there would be no reason to create two versions of the same software? That, I guess is a legitimate concern. But it could also go the other way because more people might purchase apple machines meaning more people have access to the Mac OS, so that would only be an incentive for more developers to create software for the Mac. And I don’t know about you, but it would be nice to play some decent games on my computer once in a while. So I for one would welcome this change. Admittedly, some of the luster may be taken away from your Mac when you fire up that disgusting Windows XP interface.

  12. Nils says:

    I am not good at predicting Apple. 😉 But Apple is in serious need to upgrade the portable lines. I seriously, very seriously doubt a powerbook speed bump. If they don’t have the intel machines ready enough to be shown, they won’t mention them at all. If there is a speed bump, it’ll be quietly announced in a PR sometime later. People were already disappointed enough with the last iBook bump.

    I am not saying you’ll be able to buy new portables in january, but he could show them, announce them for march, then delay them a month in good old Apple tradition 😉 Considering the ibook was bumped relatively recently, the powerbooks might be first. PB’s are for professionals, who would be less happy about emulated software and bugs, but might be more die-hard than consumers. Even money, if I had to name odds.

    Windows-Mac dual boot machines won’t kill Apple. Apple is a hardware company. They are not a software company. And I seriously doubt Jobs will take on Microsoft directly. The strategy here – if it’s a strategy at all – is more subtle. What do the intel machines come preinstalled with? And how many consumers will be able to change that? How many normal consumers even have real install cd’s of windows around? Sure they can pirate Windows, but that is getting more difficult, there won’t be windows drivers ( at least initially), and if you don’t piurate windows, well, retail windows is pretty expensive. In the end, this would cause people to stick with OS X. And even those who do use both systems would get exposed to Apple this way. It’s not like OS X has to fear the direct comparison.

  13. Oz says:

    Both Apple’s hardware and software businesses are both safe.
    Each can stand on their own two feet.

    This has not been the case historically, but certainly is the case now.

    Consumers can either buy a computer that boots just Windows or the can buy a Mac that can boot either. I know what my next computer will be.

  14. Anybody know how we get an RSS feed for this blog? I am not very tech savvy and would really like to get updated info on this blog. Thanks!


Click here to inquire about making a fortune by advertising your game, gadget, or site on Macenstein.