Macworld San Francisco 2009 Rumor Round up

There is a litany of rumors flying just a couple days before the Phil Schiller Keynote at MacWorld 2009. Instead of just running down each of the rumors, I’m going to go through the rumors that are floating and give each a percentage of likelihood. The Scale for the likelihood is from 1 to 100 So, here we go.

New Mac Mini

There have been those who are speculating that if the Mac Mini is not refreshed during this go round, the platform is officially dead. The current Mac Mini is almost two years old and has not seen a single upgrade since. The rumors are pointing to the following features:

  • Processor Upgrade
  • NVidia 9400M Video card
  • SATA Superdrive that is swappable with a second hard drive
  • Dual Display options, Mini-DVI and DisplayPort.
  • Firewire 800 ports
  • 5th USB 2.0 port

Likelihood of seeing this: 95%. If we do not see this, or if it is not updated afterwards then who knows what they are planning.

New 17″ Macbook Pro

This model was the only one that was not updated back in October at the Notebook event. While it would make sense to upgrade this, the speculation is that Apple did not release the 17″ model because of battery issues. Here’s the rumor breakdown for the Macbook Pro.

  • Unibody design
  • Non-Removable battery.
  • Battery will be able to last up to 50% longer.
  • Speed increases along with DDR3 Memory.

Likelihood of seeing new Macbook Pros: 90%. It would obviously make sense to introduce the new Macbook Pros seeing as though they are still using the older technology.

New iMacs

The iMacs weren’t upgraded that long ago with a new look and Firewire 800, along with the LED Display. So what would be the appeal of refreshing them again you may ask. Well try these specs:

  • Nvidia Graphics chipset
  • Speed Boost
  • DDR3 Memory (Up to 6GB of Memory)
  • Quad-Core

Likelihood of iMac Refresh: 80%. It makes sense to upgrade the video card in the iMacs and refresh the chipset to allow use of DDR3 memory like the Notebooks.

iWork / iLife ’09

The iWork and iLife suites were last updated in August of 2007. Even then it was late (since it was usually a MacWorld release). This might just get them back onto track with the updates. however, there’s a twist with this rumor. Reportedly, iWork and iLife will go online. Now, I myself can’t see this for every application, but for iWork I can definitely see this as a possibility. The iLife suite being online is a bit harder to swallow, particularly iMovie, GarageBand and iPhoto can be rather intensive and I don’t know if it’s feasible as of yet.

Likelihood of iWork and iLife being upgraded: 90%. Likelihood of being moved online: 70%.

iTunes going 100% DRM Free

While I think this would just reinforce Apple’s lead in the digital music market, I can’t see the Record companies (read RIAA [scums of the earth or any other lowlife synonym you choose]) wanting to give Apple even more power within the digital music market. I can see another record label going DRM Free on iTunes, so it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility.

Likelihood of seeing iTunes Plus for all tracks: 80%.

Beatles on iTunes / Beatles Yellow Submarine iPod

This has been a long standing rumor first started by the infamous Merlin Mann of on the MacBreak Weekly podcast. I myself am not a Beatles fan, I do like a few songs, but not enough to warrant wanting to have a Yellow Submarine iPod, but to each his own. I would like to see the Beatles be available on iTunes for those who do enjoy their music.

Likelihood of the Beatles on iTunes: 50%.
Likelihood of Yellow Submarine Beatles iPod: 10%. However, if the Beatles are on iTunes, Likelihood of Beatles iPod: 90%.

Tablet Mac

This rumor, like the Beatles iPod has been something that many users have been wanting. There have been several iterations of the rumor. Including, but not limited to, two iPod Touches hooked up together, two iPod touches with a hinge and a 13.3″ Macbook converted into a tablet, like Axiotron has already done. Axiotron is an official modder sanctioned by Apple, so I’m not sure if it’s something we’ll see.

Likelihood: 10%. I do not see why Apple would do a tablet, unless they buy Axiotron.

Apple Netbook

Steve Jobs stated that the netbook market was a ‘nascent’ one. While it’s possible that it’s true. I think Apple cannot ignore the market entirely. It has been rumored that the Apple Powered netbook will arrive. I just can’t see it yet. I think once Snow Leopard is released it is more of a possiblity, since Snow Leopard will be a slimmer and faster version of OS X Leopard.

Likelihood: 25%. It’s not time yet, once Snow Leopard is unveiled, I think it’ll happen.

iPhone Nano

This rumor has been made before, but has recently been pushed to the forefront with the supposed release of cases by a couple of manufacturers. This would make sense if somebody could tell me why they would do this. The iPhone’s screen is a bit too small already, in my opinion.

Likelihood: 55%. It’s possible, particularly with the rumors and evidence so far, but doesn’t seem practical given the size of the screen.

Snow Leopard Release Date

Snow Leopard being the next major release of the OS X operating system it would make sense that they would announce a release date at Macworld. However, unless there is really something huge within the OS it may not be as much of a compelling update as 10.5 Leopard was from 10.4 Tiger.

Likelihood: 50%. I do see them showing off parts of Snow Leopard during the keynote, but nothing concrete.

Product Red iPhone

This one just came to my attention while writing this article. A red iPhone would add a nice additional color to it, along with helping a good cause. We were duped earlier in the week with Pink iPhone that turned out just to be a case.

Likelihood of seeing Product Red iPhone: 30%. It’s possible.

32GB iPhone

This is definitely a possibility and an eventuality. The iPhone has been upgraded every year to include more storage and more features. I do not necessarily see them introducing the next iPhone at Macworld, but more towards June / July, when they have been releasing them. When they release the 32GB iPhone, they might drop the 8GB, unless they sell the 8GB at $99.

Likelihood: 45%. Within the realm of possibility, however timing seems wrong.

64GB iPod Touch

Like the iPhone the iPods have always been getting more storage and sometimes a bit cheaper. The iPod touch does seem to need more storage, but allowing more applications to be installed would be a bigger priority or me. Along with folders. But it’s entirely possible to get a storage update.

Likelihood: 45%. Again, within the realm of possibility, however seeming unlikely. Seems more like an iPod update announcement.

Dockable Photo Frame

This one is just out of the blue. This wouldn’t fit into any section of Apple’s current line-up. Unless they announce more consumer gadgets, I do not see this even happening at all. Although, with more people taking photos and wanting a non-virus filled photo-frame, it could happen.

Likelihood: 10%. I just can’t see this happening since it does not fit within their line-up at all.

Mac Media Server

This is a new prediction that people are bantering about. I’m wondering where this exactly fits in with the Mac Line-up. They have Time machine and external hard drives work quite well. Although with the recent announcement by HP about an iTunes streaming server this rumor can definitely happen.

Likelihood: 30%. It’s possible, however doesn’t seem to work that well within the lineup.

Mac Pro Upgrades

The current Mac Pros, are eight-core behemoths that just take any data thrown at them and processes it and spits it out with fervor. The current Mac Pro was introduced about a year ago and Intel has since released new processors and chipsets. So, it make sense that the Mac Pro would be upgraded.

Likelihood: 35%. I say 35% because it could come at a later date because it’s not really a ‘consumer’ device.

Mac Pro Mini

This is one of my own hoping / thinking. The Mac Pro is a good chunk of change, and I’d love to have the capacity and capabilities of the Mac Pro, just not at the price point. I’d love to see a smaller Mac Pro that can have RAID 5, one super-drive and only one quad-core processor for about $1500. This would be the ultimate in terms of function and

Likelihood: 5%. It probably won’t happen, since I’d like to see it.

These are just some of the rumors floating around right now. I guess we’ll see what the Philnote has in store for us on Tuesday.

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