Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What To Expect From Apple In First Half of 2009

It's over. There will never be another one like it. For the last Macworld Keynote, we weren't blown out of the water with anything spectacular. Blogs and podcasts alike have been all over how this ended.  


Nevertheless, those of us follow Apple will just have to soldier on and wait for those special events that dotted the calendar year for updates on existing Apple products (and maybe new ones too).  So, what do I personally expect in the coming year?


Based on my years of watching Jobs, Apple, and their product cycle, and I can make some simple predictions for folks new to the Cupertino scene.  Just as Apple have declared, product introductions will take place in smaller venues at special events at a time of Apple's choosing.  Usually, the media is will receive an invitation that provides some sort of clue to what Apple has planned.


The iMac is due for a refresh.  There are plenty of rumors and I don't traffic in them but I believe that given the update the aluminum Macbook received (Nvidia chipset is the most important change from the previous generation).  It's possible the iMac will receive a similar Nvidia update though I think one might consider an older iMac with its dedicated ATI GPU.

Now the question is when will the update happen?  On Apple, along with everyone else, expected to see the new iMac updates at Macworld.  So, what is the issue here?  Simple stick in Macbook parts into the iMac and you're done, right?

Well, Apple has one of two routes to go in updating the iMac.  They can simply update the iMac line quietly and be done with it.  Alternatively, Apple can issue a summon to the press and make an event to announce the update.  As I said above, the invitation may offer a clue to what Apple has planned.

Here's the thing.  The current iMac is still pretty good compared to other desktops from others but Apple's desktop sales has suffered.  If Apple drags this any longer, I will start to believe that Apple has more planned for the iMac than a simple fresh.

Also, if the iMacs are updated soon, we should see another one in the summer just as the back to school rush is gearing up.

Mac Mini.  I'm not touching this one.   If you want good reliable information, try the Apple website or the Apple store.  And if you want rumors, any Apple or Mac-centric blog will oblige you.  However, I have to say outside of the Macbook, I'm most interested in the mini's future.

I can tell you what I like to see as far as the Mac mini goes.  Meet the Mac Hybrid.

Mac Pro also needs a bit refresh as well.  I'll be honest. I have not interest in a Mac Pro (more power than I need right now and $$$).  The new Mac Pro will inherit Intel's Nehalem architecture.  I'm pretty comfortable with this prediction.  When?  I'm more certain of Mac Pro updates than of iMac updates.

Macbooks were just updated in October and the 17" Macbook Pro just showed at Macworld.  We might see something in the spring.  Note that the 17" Macbook Pro, with its revolutionary new battery implementation, may be joined by the 15" Macbook Pro eventually.  8 Hours of battery life.  I'm drowling bit time.  I hope by the time I upgrade my Macbook in a couple of years, we'll see 10-hour battery lives across the whole mobile Mac line.

Lastly, how about iPhone updates?  This is where it gets tricky.  I'll save this for another entry.  There's a lot of moving parts in the mobile market and the iPhone hasn't matured to the point like the Mac or the iPod.  

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