The Definitive Matrix of Macworld ‘08 Predictions and Rumors

by Aayush Arya Jan 10, 2008

After Chris, I guess it is now my turn to stick out my neck and throw out a list of Macworld ‘08 predictions. Be aware that what you’re now going to read is a carefully researched article which takes into account various statistics from past keynotes and seeks to identify recurring patterns between them so as to accurately predict what lies ahead. It is methodical and scientific, makes no wayward assumptions and is, therefore, citable in all courts of law as proven fact. Warning: Spoilers abound!

So, without further ado, I present to you my simple 4x4 matrix of what I think lies ahead and the descriptions for each square. You might be reading this and mulling over things for quite a while so it might be a good idea to cancel all appointments scheduled for later today and grab yourself a cup of coffee (or whatever floats your boat, really). Presenting the article that will put an end to all the suspense associated with the Macworld Expo next week (last chance to back out is now):


Click on the image to view a slightly larger version.

Mark my words, you’re going to see these happen.

New MacBooks: It’s a given. Steve Jobs is going to launch completely revamped new MacBooks at this Expo. The current MacBooks stick like sore thumbs in Apple’s line-up, with their scratch and crack prone fiber enclosures and combo drives from the ancient era. The new ones will be clad in anodized aluminum (the same metal that almost all the products in current line-up are made out of) and will have some black highlights. The screen size will remain the same, a SuperDrive will become standard across all models and it will feature a minor bump in some of the hardware components. It will, of course, look absolutely stunning and the starting price will remain the same. Steve Jobs will unveil a new advertisement or two.

iTunes Store updates: There is so much proof of this particular point that I’m sure it is a permanent feature on every single Macworld prediction list this year. You’d have to have been walking around with a blindfold and avoiding all contact with the Mac universe to have not seen this one coming. I’ve already checked its square in my Ars Technica Bingo card for Macworld ‘08.

Steve Jobs will announce that every major movie studio except NBC/Universal has agreed to sell and rent their movies through the iTunes Store. Not only that, as the result of an agreement between Apple and the movie studios, all physical DVDs of movies will from then on ship with an iTunes, iPod, iPhone and Apple TV compatible digital DRM-ed file that will automatically be imported into the customer’s iTunes library when he uses the DVD with his computer for the first time. Only one computer per DVD. This announcement will be followed by five minutes of showering praises upon themselves for taking care of the customer and being an innovative company. He’ll promise us that we’ll soon see true high definition movies available on the iTunes store. At the end of the day, Apple will clearly be on the road to world dominion and someone will run out of furniture to ruin in his plush office in Redmond.

He’ll also announce that all the major record labels except Universal have agreed to sell their entire catalogues DRM free on the iTunes Store. iTunes Plus will be abolished and the entire iTunes Store will be DRM free. He’ll tout it as an industry first, even though it isn’t. Most of these changes will not be effective immediately but Jobs will specify the launch dates during the keynote and will announce the immediate availability of iTunes v7.6.

Mac OS X update: He’ll spend a good ten minutes praising Leopard and showing off its fantastic success in the market, compare it to Vista and will make some very funny pre-written snide remarks about it. A lot of statistics will follow. Record sales numbers, unimaginably fast adoption rate of Macs and 50% of customers new to the Mac. Standard stuff, you know. Then he’ll show us a new “Get a Mac” commercial. Finally coming to the point, he’ll remark that Apple is constantly looking to improve its products and they are therefore releasing a huge update to Mac OS X Leopard that will be free for all existing users of the operating system. He’ll pause for a moment to let this sink in and to hear the thunderous clapping.

BOOM!: OK, I’m not even going to try to predict this one. I know that no matter how many permutations and combinations I try, how obsessively I follow every single rumor and leak on the Internet, how refined my divination skills are, there will always be one product or some features of a product from this list of predictions that will, to borrow a phrase from El Jobso himself, “blow me away”. It’s amazing what the Apple engineers can come up with when handed a couple of advanced sensor thingies and a shiny enclosure to put all the product of their hard work and labor into. The one thing I can assure you is that there will be thunderous applause after every word Jobs utters when he is describing this holy grail of technology products. All the attendees will be worshipping him when he’s showing off a live demo. Wait and watch.

These have a high possibility of being in attendance too.

Ultraportable or tablet: This might turn out to be untrue but all sorts of rumors these days are pointing towards the possible launch of one of these products. If it’s a tablet, it won’t have handwriting recognition. Either product will be way too expensive compared to the other products in the market that belong to the same category (but, of course, the high quality will deserve the price tag). Jobs will make it sound like it’s cheaper than footwear and all the people in the conference hall and under the influence of RDF will believe him like its second nature.

Blu-ray: I am expecting some sort of announcement that centers around Blu-ray and its integration with one or more of Apple’s products. He may not have a product ready to be sold right off the bat, but he’ll probably announce that the format wars are coming to a close and Blu-ray is the winner and that Apple knew it would be right from the beginning. A Blu-ray drive option for the Mac Pro will probably be made immediately available and MacBook Pros tricked out with Blu-ray drives will be in the pipeline (he won’t announce that, of course).

Flash and Multi-touch: Both will make an appearance at this Expo’s keynote, in some form or the other (not counting the iPhone, of course). Steve Jobs will explain how successful Multi-touch has been and will declare it to be the next paradigm in user interfaces. “We want to bring it to even more of our products.” He’ll also explain how Flash is much better than hard drives and will mention the flash based iPods and the iPhone. A mention of much better battery life will also be thrown in there somewhere.

iPhone SDK and updates: Steve will probably assure us that the SDK is coming along well and is on schedule (which itself is still, and will remain, sketchy). He’ll demo a third party application or two. Then, with a great flourish and much gloating, he’ll launch into some more numbers of the iPhone’s success and sky-high customer satisfaction ratings. He’ll say that it has been well received in all the countries it has seen so far and will mention (very briefly) their plans to bring it to Asia. Amidst great drama, he’ll unveil the 1.1.3 firmware update which will have all the features of the leaked version and then some. Demo time.

I’m not too sure about these though.

MacBook Pro updates: It might be upgraded quietly during Macworld but definitely won’t get any keynote time. Even if it isn’t updated during Macworld, I expect an update to follow shortly in a month or two.

New Cinema Displays: Though technically it should be updated soon now, I have a gut feeling that it won’t. The poor soul of the forgotten display is crying out to me and I can just faintly hear its moaning among all this other noise. Fear not, dear Cinema Display. Papa Steve will take you out of your misery soon, just not at the Macworld Expo this year.

New Apple TV: Jobs will announce that a free firmware update for the Apple TV will soon be available for download that will bring the iTunes Store directly to the Apple TV, eliminating the need to use your computer for purchasing content. I don’t see a hardware revision coming our way on Tuesday though.

“One more thing…”: This used to be a staple of Steve Jobs keynotes until a few years ago but has now gone the way of the Dodo. I hope and pray that Jobs bring that little keynote slide back for 2008 but I don’t expect it to show up.

No matter what the world says, this just aint happenin’, pal.

New iPhone: When was the last time Apple launched the second generation of a product within merely six months of its initial release? Never, that’s when. Those of you who are stalling their iPhone purchase hoping to grab v2.0 on 15 January 2008, please wake me up when all the waiting pays off… a year from now.

Laptop docking station: This is the most ridiculous patent application I’ve ever laid my eyes on. I come home from a trip around the world and instead of connecting my notebook to a display, I insert it into a honking huge one that has a slot for the notebook on its side. Just goes to show that people will believe anything you feed them as long as it gives them some fodder to speculate over and pass the time.

Headless Mac: You may not know but I have it from reliable sources deep within the super secret underground laboratories in Apple’s Texan campus (disguised to pose as a mental care facility) that Steve Jobs hates games and the devices which enable them. He thinks they are an absolute waste of valuable time. The only reason the iPod has games is that Fred Anderson inked a deal with Electronic Arts and paid them the money behind the Steve Jobs’ back. You now know why the poor guy got involved in all that stocks backdating mess. Suffice it to say that it was no coincidence!

So what lesson have we learnt? You don’t know? OK, please repeat after me, “Apple will never release a mid-range headless Mac under the leadership of Steve Jobs. Ever.” Got it? Good.

The Beatles: Let me get it out of the way, The Beatles are not coming to iTunes. Not at this Macworld Expo; not at the next one; and never in the future either. Sorry! Now, what I don’t understand is why does everyone want them to? Doesn’t every person, who wants to, already have the entire Beatles catalogue stashed away in several cupboards in his basement? What’s this big need to purchase them from the iTunes Store anyway?

Miscellaneous stuff: Along with all the accurate predictions listed above, we’ll see a few of the following things happen during the keynote. Steve Jobs will say “Boom!” every now and then, keep referring to himself as “we” and will keep asking you his favorite rhetorical question, “Wouldn’t it be great if…?” or “Wouldn’t it be cool…?” He’ll never once mention ThinkSecret’s demise (like anyone expects him to!). There will be two pre-rehearsed and well placed jokes that will make the attendees practically roll around in mirth. He’ll make at least one mistake during the two hour keynote and will ad lib his way out of the situation. Someone in the crowd will yell “Bingo!” towards the end of the keynote!

So there you have it - to the point and short - just the way you guys prefer it. Feel free to make us aware of what you are thinking using the comment strings below. All praise will be filed by God’s messenger who constantly looks out for my well-being and you’ll be rewarded in your next life. Any and all flames will be patiently borne and I will smile to myself and forgive the offenders, gentle soul that I am. Signing off…



  • I’m sorry for the few typos. I didn’t realize they had crept in and didn’t feel the need to preview it first.

    Aayush Arya had this to say on Jan 14, 2008 Posts: 36
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