‘Tis the season for MacWorld predictions. I’m not going to predict much, but I am going to comment on what I’d like to see at MacWorld and some of that will overlap with popular rumors.
I don’t think there’s much excitement here. One of the results of the transition to Intel is that you can get pretty decent visibility into the basic skeleton of future Mac by looking at the Intel roadmaps. So we might see an 8 core MacPro, although it’s seems like it would be awkwardly positioned, since the clock speed on the 8 way machines is relatively slow, and it doesn’t seem like there are many apps, even Photoshop (see this excellent post at John Nack’s blog), that could really take advantage of the cores at this point. Still we know that the 4 core Xeons exist, and that they can work in the Mac Pro as it exist today. So maybe it will happen just because it can.
On the notebook front, you have the availability of Intel’s Centrino Pro/Santa Rosa chipset, which includes Robson flash technology. This might combine with the rumors about LED backlit notebooks, which could mean new laptops, and possibly that top to bottom Pro laptop refresh that I wished for last year. The only problem with this theory is that Centrino Pro hasn’t shipped yet.
There are a few things that could happen that would get my attention. I’m likely in the market for a Mac Pro sometime this year – primarily for the memory expansion capability. A notebook that went to 4GB or more would be interesting, and a smaller Mac Pro would also probably get my attention. Since I am looking for a machine to do lots of Aperture (and Photoshop and general hacking), a GeForce 8800 series video card option on Mac Pro would be cool, as would some better hardware RAID support so that you could make really good use of those new 1TB drives. Blu-Ray or HD-DVD burners are interesting as backup solutions. But these are all at the periphery of the system because Apple is constrained to what Intel has today. Unless Steve has charmed Paul Otellini into holding out on the whole rest of the world, which I think unlikely.
New LCD displays with iSight’s aren’t interesting in and of themselves, but if they have the increased color gamut of the Dell 3007WFP-HC or the HP LP-3065, then that would be noteworthy.
Mostly what I am looking for is a ship date. We saw a bunch of stuff at WWDC, and I know there is the secret stuff, but I don’t have many expectations here. If there is something cool, that would be fine. The biggest things I want from OS X are more performance and more stability. In particular, I want Spotlight to be usable — it is just too slow now.
We all know this is coming, I mean the products have the year in them, after all. The only piece of iLife that I used to use was iPhoto, and now I have Aperture. I will be paying attention, though, because Julie is using both iPhoto and iMovie.
Wide screen video iPod
I have a 3G iPod that’s still going strong. If the thing is really wide and full screen, it might be a great way to take a photographic portfolio around, but I’m not really in the market for that yet. It would be cool, but I won’t be lining up with my credit card if it launches.
I’m not sure what I think about this. Replacing a phone and and iPod sounds cool, except that what I want from a phone and what I want from an iPod are different. What I want from an iPod is wide-video. What I want from a phone is clamshell (small size), very tight, wireless, integration with my computer (ala Parliant’s PhoneValet or even further), ability to run apps, GPS, long battery life, and being on a clueful 3G/EVDO carrier. Music isn’t that high on the list.
Not very high expectations, but that ought to make it easy to impress me. I’m more interested in the Canon PMA announcements than I am about MacWorld. Other than for standard extrapolations of current systems, things are working pretty well for me in Mac land.