Macenstein’s Macworld predictions: Pretty sure “Air”=Apple TV and something = “Blu-ray” - Macenstein

Macenstein’s Macworld predictions: Pretty sure “Air”=Apple TV and something = “Blu-ray”

With just a few hours left before Macworld’s keynote, we figured we would throw our best “guesses” at the mysterious Stevenote, in the hopes of grabbing some small measure of “We told you so” satisfaction should these predictions prove true. Since somehow no one has been able to blow the lid off this year’s announcements, we’re able to let our imaginations go a bit crazy here, which is always part of the fun of Macworld predicting. (Of course, the downside of the fun of making Macworld predictions is the humiliation of seeing just how wrong you were). Sometimes you end up being a year or two off.

For the record, we’re not claiming any inside knowledge, these are just guesses based on things we’ve read and things sent in to us (and of course, things we just plain wish would happen). We’ll skip over “boring” announcements like HD movie rentals and the iPhone SDK kit stuff, and just stick to the cool hardware announcements. So, here goes!…

MacBook Air

OK, first of all, the new thin MacBook WILL appear, but it will be called “MacBook touch” or “MacBook nano”, not MacBook Air. The name is just silly, and Apple already has two “brands” it can use to carry through their product line that would work. Obviously the “touch” name is a good choice if the laptop boasts either a touchscreen or if Apple packs the giant multi-touch trackpad we’ve seen mocked up. I see “touch” being more unlikely in second instance (the trackpad) as there are not really enough useful desktop applications of multi-touch yet to really warrant naming the product after it. Also, odds are this new trackpad would be carried through all of Apple’s laptops, so again it would not be unique enough to name a specific MacBook after.

Personally, I think the big selling point of this new laptop will be its thinness, so I am going with the MacBook nano. As far as specs go, we have no idea, but we’re betting it WILL have an optical drive.

New MacBook Pros

Here we’re going to have some fun, and predict that the new MacBook Pros will have 2 hard drives, one flash, one “regular”. The Flash one will be about 32-64 GB and be used for booting and running the OS and applications, and is what the new MBP’s will use for most daily activities to conserve power. The secondary “big” drive will be used for editing, music, movies and such. To keep things simple, we’re figuring the flash drive can only be written to by the system, thus keeping users from storing all their crap on it and clogging it up.

This should dramatically increase battery life in the pros for most users, as checking e-mail and surfing the web would likely not cause the hard drive to spin up. Given how large the MBP’s battery is, you could see 8 hours or more of use on a charge.

16GB and 32 GB iPhones

I so wanted to put down that the iPhone would be available in colors here as well, but I think that that is a few months off. Either Apple will wait for the 3G update to do that, or wait for when they have no other updates worth making to the iPhone before pulling out the mult-colored trick – maybe sometime next fall. But the memory bump is a no-brainer, and will go side-by-side with the new iPhone SDK. Gotta have room for ll those new apps, right?

Luckily I think 6 months is enough time that we current iPhone users are not allowed to bitch too much about the memory bump for thhe same price thing.

New Mac mini

Here we’re expecting only minor processor and hard drive bumps, unfortunately. What I would LOVE to see, however, is a return of the Cube. Not in function, but in form. Basically, make the Mac mini twice as tall, and add room for a second hard drive, thus making it look a bit more like the Cube of old. Unfortunately, once you go small, you never go back, so odds are Apple will likely opt for just one big drive (and by “big”, I’m guess we’re topping out at 250 GB or so). I would love for the mini to serve as our home media server, but I guess we’ll have to wait a little longer for that.

There’s Something in the Air

This one is tricky, because Apple wanted us to think the “air” was a product, and in theory it made sense that “air” could apply to a thin laptop. But we think this year’s Macworld marks Apple’s true “real” push into the digital living room, so we’re going with it has to do more with Steve’s neglected “hobby”, the Apple TV. When we heard Apple was caving in to the major studios on rental pricing to get movies on board for Macworld, we knew something was up. Apple let NBC/Universal walk out the door because of its need to control pricing, but suddenly, it is the studios that (allegedly) dictated the rental terms here.

So here’s our prediction. “Air” = Apple TV (possibly a rebranding, but we doubt it), and “something” = Blu ray. That’s right. We’re buying into this crazy tip, not because we necessarily find it credible, but because given the Apple teaser banners, it is one possible solution, and the only one that would really “wow” us. We’re not sure that the AppleTV is getting renamed “Air” – that seems silly to us. Instead, the word “air” just applies to streaming media through the air to a redesigned Apple TV, especially HD video Rentals. To that end, a much larger hard drive is a no-brainer, as hopefully rentals and purchases can be made from the iTunes store directly from the Apple TV (I mean, if you can buy them on your iPhone, why not an Apple TV?!?).

While the addition of a Blu-ray drive may seem the contradict the idea of pushing online movie rentals, the fact is Apple needs a more concrete reason for consumers to buy an Apple TV. The digital movie distribution idea is not going to take off overnight. By adding a Blu-ray drive, Apple will make the Apple TV a much more useful addition to the end user’s home theater system, and be a bit of a Trojan Horse which allows Apple into consumer’s living rooms. Once there, people will begin to appreciate the ease of which movies can be rented/purchased, but we think it is still too early for Joe Blow to give up on physical media just yet. People still love collecting movies.

No John Mayer

Despite apparently having a clear schedule, we think Mayer, with his Blackberry, will be a no-show. Look for “Air”osmith instead.

That’s it

So, there you have it. That’s what we’re “expecting”, but Steve only knows whether we’re even close. I must once again applaud Apple on keeping this year’s announcements as secretive as they have. Assuming they have any “rel” shipping products announced today (meaning, available in stores today, not pre-announcing for February/March delivery) they’ve really managed to keep their parts suppliers in line this time, and this should one of the most exciting Stevenotes. in recent memory.

2 Responses to “Macenstein’s Macworld predictions: Pretty sure “Air”=Apple TV and something = “Blu-ray””
  1. Nate says:

    I’m looking forward to hearing that Thunderclap Newman track in full 😉

  2. The Cos says:

    The one upside to Apple sort of over charging for their stuff is, they can afford to add some cool new tech, like your double mbp drive setup, and eat a little of the profit, knowing that in 3 months the cost for components will drop, and they will be back to making their typical margins.

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