Jan 2 2006
January means one thing to Mac people and that’s the Mac World Expo and Steve’s Keynote. It’s also the time of year when Mac people, like yours truly, start speculating on what new products will be announced at the Expo.
With iPods making Apple more money than Macs are, it will be no surprise that this years Expo will be more about iPods than computers. The first and most credible rumor is that the 1Gig iPod Shuffle will be replaced. The evidence is that Apple retail stores are just selling remaining stock. Apple’s online store, has been saying “Currently Unavailable” for the 1GB iPod shuffle, since mid-December. And this iPod model is not available at major retailers, including amazon.com. We hope that 512 Meg. Shuffle will still be under the $100 price point, and that the 2GB Nano goes down to $150. Certainly there will be some kind of shuffle in the iPod line-up.
If you got a new 5G iPod this year, it’s probably painfully obvious to you that a lot of 4th gen. IPod accessories don’t work with the new form factor. Most notable, to me at least
Other iPod rumors include an Apple Boom Box for iPods. (Probable,) HBO programming (Very Likely,) Bluetooth or 802.11x wireless capability for new iPods (not expected this year) and an iPod camera. (ehhh, Maybe?)
The main thing is that hopefully the Expo will see a landslide of accessories to enhance the 5g iPods capabilities.
Enough about iPods what about the new Intel Macs? According to MacSecret.com “Apple appears on track to deliver an Intel-based iBook early next year, sources report, and in doing so will replace its long-standing 14.1-inch model with a widescreen 13.3-inch display.” I think we’ll definitely see an Intel Mac before the end of 2006, probably both iBooks and Mac Minis, but I would be extremely surprised to see them launched at the Expo simply because the 10.4.4 OS that will support Intel Macs isn’t expected until mid-year. I’ll go out on a limb and guess that there won’t be any significantly new Macs launched at the Expo. So what about software? New versions of iLife always seem to appear at the Expo, so iLife ’06 will probably be announced. The ’06 version will almost certainly include a version of Front Row that will allow remote control of your iLife Apps. Midi export and 48Khz recording are on my wish list for GarageBand 3, but I would be surprised if that happened. The most obvious addition to iWork ’06 would be a spreadsheet app that would finally make the suite competitive with MS Office. The Lack of a spreadsheet in Iwork is the only thing keeping many users shackled to a Microsoft product. At last a Microsoft free Mac, Yippee!
Finally there is one piece of Apple hardware that has been rumored for a long time. I’m talking about a 24bit 96Khz stereo Audio interface box from Apple. I would think that it’d be USB 2 rather than Firewire ala the iPod and although it probably won’t happen. It would be a dream machine in my book if you could record directly to the new iPod.