MacWorld 2008 Predictions

The only thing more exciting than actually using a new Apple product for the first time is hearing about it for the first time from Steve Jobs. And only slightly less exciting than either of those things is reading everyone’s pre-show predictions about what will be announced.

There are no reliable soothsayers in the world of Apple prognostication and anyone with any guts will get things either completely wrong or partially wrong a lot of the time, but I hold that my record is as decent as anyone’s, often times getting bold, unpopular, against-the-grain predictions mostly right but being a little early on timing. So here’s my crop for this year:

The MacBook Nano

I’m not sure about the name here, but it would work given that the Nano is Apple’s best selling model of iPod and the company might want to test that branding out on another machine. The MacBook Nano is not a tablet, as many have been reporting, but merely the thinnest, sleekest subnotebook ever produced. Think the thickness of your MacBook’s folding screen times two… or about 30% thinner than current MacBooks. The machine will have a full keyboard and no removable drive, as is custom for subnotebooks, and will definitely not be a pure “tablet” in form factor. That said, it wouldn’t surprise me if the hinge on the screen allowed it to flip 180 degrees to create tablet-like mode, if you ever wanted it. This could be potentially quite functional if it used multi-touch but might also be useful while watching a movie or giving a presentation.

There have been whispers that this machine will tap Flash memory for some nice tricks like faster bootup times. If this is the case, I expect all other Apple notebooks to receive the same treatment in fairly short order (though maybe not at the Expo). One thing I’d also like to see on this machine is a Flash memory slot so that users can plus their SD cards directly into the device and transfer media. Given that 1 GB SD cards are down below ten dollars now, that could lessen the blow of not having an optical drive.

This machine will unfortunately cause me to put my barely two month old MacBook on eBay as it is the machine I’ve wanted ever since Apple stopped making their last subnotebook, the Duo Dock.

.Mac Finally Gets Great

I thought the release of the iPhone and Leopard would coincide with a massive revamp of Apple’s .Mac service, but it never did. I was three years early in calling the iPhone, but I don’t think I’m that early on this one. Come January, .Mac will become the missing link that let’s you sync your entire life, over-the-air. If you’re shocked that the iPhone can’t do something as simple sync with your iCal/Contacts/.Mac over-the-air right now but can do so in just a few seconds using a standard USB cable, you’re not alone. If you think Steve Jobs hates having his phone out of sync when he’s on the road, you’re also not alone. These features are coming, and while you can argue they should have been there from the start, you can also argue that they belong as part of a subscription package like .Mac. In order for Apple to increase their .Mac subscriptions 5-10x, they need to be part of a well orchestrated “Life Sync” campaign, and sold separately from the iPhone itself.

I believe Apple’s plan involves two concurrent strategies for getting into the life-syncing bloodstream: a) play nice with Exchange (current support via IMAP barely qualifies), and b) play nice with open technologies like IMAP and iCalendar/WebCal (already in-progress). Most big companies these days run their corporate mail on Exchange. Know what Apple runs internally, at least as of very recently? Netscape’s old mail server. I’m serious. Running that mail server for so long taught them how inferior it is to Exchange, but also taught them that by using the right combination of open technologies like IMAP, iCalendar, and WebDAV and then creating the right glue to tie it all together for the end user, they could produce an enterprise-quality experience rivaling Exchange and even beating it in many areas. Via this new and revamped .Mac service, you’ll be able to play nicely with most of the major platforms out there: Exchange, IMAP (and by extension Gmail and Yahoo Mail), WebCal, POP, and who knows what else. In 2008, .Mac will finally become the big revenue driver Apple expected it to be years ago.

One really nice side effect of the iPhone on the rest of Apple’s business is that it has shown them, in no uncertain terms, how important it is to play nice with Exchange. In order to play nice with Exchange, the integration must run deeper than phone-level; penetrating Apple Mail, iCal, and syncing services. I can’t say how yet, but I am currently running my life in an Exchange/Apple Mail/iCal/.Mac synced fashion. The way I’m doing it is really hacky and doesn’t involve any new software from Apple or anything, but it’s shown me that it’s already possible.

The Netflix Killer

I predicted last January that Apple TV would be released but that its killer feature would be download-to-rent movies. The box launched, but with no such killer feature, and has thus far tanked. Download-to-own movies have always been a dumb proposition to me and it’s hard to see how Apple can’t feel the same way. Having worked at Disney, however, I fully appreciate how the business side of movie distribution can get in the way of the product innovation side, so it’s entirely possible that the only reason Apple TV didn’t launch with a bevy of download-to-rent releases was that business terms couldn’t be finalized in time. A year later, however, my suspicion is that a lot of those issues have been worked out. Come January, expect any Apple TV box or iTunes equipped device to be able to download-to-rent a selection of movies rivaling what Netflix and Blockbuster offer.

Download-to-rent is why I haven’t paid more than 60 seconds of attention to the entire BluRay vs. HD-DVD slugfest for the past four years. In the end, I don’t want a disc. I just want the bits. And I only want them until I’m done watching the movie.


I don’t think we’ll be seeing any major hardware changes to the iPhone at MacWorld. Maybe some more memory and some price adjustments, but the bulk of the time spent talking about the iPhone will be related to the aforementioned syncing capabilities, a new iPhone SDK, and probably a new iPhone OS update as well. Jobs will have plenty of sample apps to show off and will detail a certification program whereby developers can submit their apps in order to get into an Apple-hosted directory. If Apple’s smart, they will set up some sort of revenue sharing program for app developers, although I’m not exactly sure how this would work. Apple could do all of the billing themselves but this strikes me as a big undertaking. Conversely, they could charge developers a one-time or recurring fee to be listed in the directory, but this strikes me as not very lucrative since they’d make the same amount on an app downloaded one time as an app downloaded one million times. Perhaps the solution is to offer developers a choice: a) do everything on your own, including billing and hosting, and we won’t touch your app or take a cut, or b) use our system, pick your price, give us your tax information, and we’ll take a small cut, but we’ll also bless and promote your app, thus increasing your sales.

Who knows. Maybe the best solution would be to stay completely out of the revenue stream and just concentrate on profiting from the hardware. We’ll see.

We also will most certainly not hear anything about a 3G-based iPhone. There is no way Apple will peep a word about such a device unless it is produced and ready to ship. iPhone sales expectations are already very high and to risk creating a dead spot in the sales cycle just wouldn’t be smart. Instead, you’ll be hearing at MacWorld only the things that will be affecting and improving the current generation of the iPhone. In other words, things that will either a) get you to go out and finally buy one (3rd party apps, more storage, more functionality) or b) make you all the happier that you already own one.

Leopard Update

Leopard seems to have taken longer to release than expected, and whenever that happens, you can bet that it probably shipped with a few features missing as well. One feature we know for sure is missing is wireless backup via TimeMachine. Seeing as TimeMachine is one of only a small handful of features in Leopard that materially changes my life for the better, I’m super anxious to be able to use it wirelessly. Hauling my portable hard drive out of a cabinet, plugging it into the wall, and then connecting it to my laptop via Firewire while sitting on my couch just isn’t something I’m going to do every day. I’ll be lucky if I remember to do it every month… which completely kills the purpose of TimeMachine. My portable hard drive should be tucked away and connected to my wireless network (either wirelessly or by ethernet) and whenever my laptop joins the network, TimeMachine should silently do its thing. This is no doubt the way Apple has envisioned it all along, and either in January or shortly thereafter, I expect a Leopard update to add in this functionality as well as several other things. Syncing and .Mac integration should receive an upgrade, as mentioned above, as well as a ton of fixes to all of the little weird things about Leopard that don’t seem quite right yet.


This is really going out on a limb, but I also think Apple will purchase a stake in SWSoft, the makers of Parallels. SWSoft is currently funded partially by Intel’s venture group, which affords Apple a tiny bit of influence (being friends with Intel and all), but there is no official relationship at this point. Although Boot Camp is a nice thing to have in Apple’s back pocket, my belief is that solid software-based virtualization of Windows is of great strategic value to Apple. Microsoft apparently thought the same thing when they purchased Connectix, the makers of the previous leader in Windows Virtualization, Virtual PC.

SWSoft’s first and only institutional round came in mid 2005 in the form of $12.4 million. If there is another round between now and an IPO, I would think Apple would love to be in on it — a lot of it. After all, with $15 billion in the bank, one can argue that it’s the company’s responsibility to start making a few more investments. Anyway, like I said, this is major limb walking, but no guts no glory!

In Conclusion

All in all, expect another solid MacWorld Expo here with a) the world’s sexiest subnotebook, b) major iPhone advances on the software functionality side, c) a bonafide Netflix killer, and d) major syncing and .Mac improvements. It may be a decade before another Expo tops 2007’s, but game-changers like the iPhone just don’t come around very often.

As far as products you won’t see, I put a pure tablet at the top of this list. I’ve seen reports that a tablet release is “imminent” at the Expo, but I just don’t see the market for it. Perhaps the only semi-useful application I see for it would be as an eBook reader. Like a better looking Kindle maybe. Still, not worth Apple’s time in my opinion. Not gonna happen.

51 comments on “MacWorld 2008 Predictions”. Leave your own?
  1. Chris Gonyea says:

    Unlike most people, I think your predictions are quite realistic and reasonable. In practice, it is rare for Steve to do more then a few announcements.

    My guesses:
    1. Movie Rentals
    2. More music labels offering DRM-free music
    3. Updated AppleTV (bigger hard drive, cable card slot so you can use it as your cable box)
    4. Updated iPhone (3G, more memory)
    5. Mac sub-notebook

    If .Mac gets a major update, I may finally consider using it.

  2. Tom Watson says:

    Great predictions, we’ll see what happens.

    I’m a little skeptical about the Leopard update and syncing over wi-fi. Backing up over AirDisk is a feature near the top of my list of Apple feature wants as well I just don’t see it happening this time around. AirDisk is just too flaky in its current state and I’m too skeptical some software updates can fix the current Airport Extremes. I agree it will happen at some point, just not at this MacWorld.

    The iPhone isn’t hampered by those limitations though, so I do see lots of syncing happening around it like you predicted. I’m also hoping to see one of those new software applications for the iPhone be a remote control for devices on my wireless network. I’d love to see something like that come from Apple, but I have faith in some third party applications filling the need with the SDK if they don’t.

  3. steve delgado says:

    I like the Netflicks killer predictions. The NY Times reported the other that Apple was in talks with Universal about distributing their films. Apple is ready but I think Hollywood needs to catch up with the times before any of that stuff happens.

  4. Here’s my prediction for MacWorld 2008: whatever they announce will cost 20-50% more than other devices that do precisely the same thing. Come on Apple, prove me wrong by not gouging people for once..

  5. I think a tablet/subnotebook hybrid is a product Apple might make. The question is, does it fit into their product line? They’ve been very careful to introduce products that don’t overlap *too* much, and another portable choice might dilute the product lineup.

    But if anyone was to make a tablet, it needs to be Apple. Microsoft’s excuse for a tablet OS interface is pathetic. Tablets are an opportunity to re-think the entire UI, but Microsoft’s approach is nearly identical to standard Windows fare. They basically just replaced the mouse cursor with a stylus, added some handwriting and gestures, and called it a day.

    I could definitely see Apple building a custom UI atop OS X to take advantage of a touch interface for Tablets.

    Steve hinted that big things are coming for .Mac at the All Things Digital conference, but I for one would be disappointed if they added awesome iPhone sync capability only to limit it to .Mac members.

    I think the biggest chunk of the keynote will be dedicated to the iPhone. It’s entirely possible we could see the next gen at MacWorld—but after the price cut grumblings they might be hesitant to release a better version so soon. Regarding the SDK, I could see Apple borrowing some ideas from the AppTapp guys, putting a software directory and installer right on the phone. That, of course, would require Apple to maintain that software directory, but I think it would be a huge mistake to charge developers to be listed.

  6. Drew Pickard says:

    Don’t forget the almost-certain update to Mac Pros.

    New processors, Blu-ray option, better video cards

    Not super exciting, but a nice upgrade.

  7. Mike D. says:

    Paul: There are only a few things I can think of that Apple sells which fit into the overpricing scheme you speak of — RAM, wireless routers, and monitors. There are also example of the reverse, however. Apple’s OS goes for $129. Their productivity software is also priced much cheaper than the competition’s. Same thing with Final Cut.

  8. Steve says:

    Can I combine two of your suggestions and instead propose a Parallels killer?

    Shortly before the release of Leopard (I think it was at WWDC) it was demonstrated how to go about switching operating systems in Leopard (to XP) in much the same way you fast switch users. That is, there was an icon in the menu bar where you could select the OS you wanted, and boom, the screen would rotate.

    As soon as this functionality was demonstrated, it was blogged, Apple altered feature details on the Leopard homepage, and nothing more has been heard about it since. I don’t know if this was a feature in pre-release NDA builds but it’s clear Apple has a solution that is easier for users, likely requires a lot less resources (RAM), and doesn’t rely upon an outside party.

    I don’t know if they’ll introduce this functionality at MacWorld or release it under a software update for Leopard, but it will come about and, in doing so, diminish most peoples need for Parallels.

  9. PanMan says:

    I don’t understand why Apple would start a new billing method with iPhone customers for apps: They already have a ongoing billing relation through the carriers, who are able to bill iPhone customers, and who want to be in with the action, and a share of the revenue. I don’t think Apple will start a new way of billing the same customers, which will make it less convenient, and at the same time piss off their partners: the carriers.

  10. You can do wireless backup via Time Machine now, if you have another Mac. That’s what I do. My main machine backs up to an external drive connected to an old Powerbook that’s sitting on the network. Just got to turn file sharing on. it’s pretty easy.

    Maybe what you’re referring to is the ability to plug a hard drive into an Airport Extreme and back up to that. I agree, that would be pretty cool. I would love it more if Airport Extreme supported software RAID-1 setups, for even better security. Then I could probably finally ditch that Powerbook.

  11. Scott Nelle says:

    Interesting predictions, Mike. I’d love to see something like the Macbook Nano you’ve described.

    As an aside, am I the only one that thinks Steve Jobs looks like a tool up on stage rattling off a list of long-predicted (and sometimes previously confirmed) announcements mixed with tired little jokes every year?

  12. Paul: There are only a few things I can think of that Apple sells which fit into the overpricing scheme you speak of — RAM, wireless routers, and monitors. There are also example of the reverse, however. Apple’s OS goes for $129. Their productivity software is also priced much cheaper than the competition’s. Same thing with Final Cut.

    The MacBook Pro in particular is way overpriced, and the in a class all by itself.

  13. Shane says:

    One of the big thing that interests me about the sub-notebook is how it affects the other MacBooks, primarily on price. I want one and am interested in getting into one for less money if possible.

  14. Christian says:

    Mike, I can speak a bit to the “Where is wireless Time Machine syncing?” question. Back at MWSF 2007 when the current 802.11n AirPort Extreme variant was announced, wireless Time Machine backups were announced as a feature of the AirPort Disk functionality.

    Skip forward a few months to an ugly reality that unfolded: AirPort Disk performance is *terrible*. Not, “Boy, this seems to be taking longer than I expected” terrible, but rather, “USB 1.1 v. FireWire 800” terrible. And what’s worse is that the performance of the AirPort Extreme is terrible regardless of whether you’re connected wirelessly or with wires. Whatever USB controller or CPU is in the AirPort Extreme (apparently a Marvell ASIC, according to this) is mightily underpowered and incapable of feeding a reasonable I/O stream to the USB chain.

    I bought an AirPort Extreme over the summer, justifying its hefty price tag by the AirPort Disk functionality. When I got it home, set it up, and got only 1-2 Mbps wired or wireless, and saw online that others had the same experience, I boxed it back up and it went right back to the store.

    That’s all a long way of saying that wireless Time Machine syncing is going to require Apple to either gut the currently-shipping AirPort Extreme and switch chips, or scrap the current AirPort Extreme and develop a new model. Neither seems likely to me.

  15. Jeff Croft says:

    Nice set of predictions. All in all, I totally agree. The only one I’m sketchy on is the SWSoft deal — and only because I think Apple’s recent M.O. has been to look to the open source world for this kind of thing. I sort of think Apple may be more likely to somehow back VMWare — but I do agree they want to have some influence over a Windows virtualization package.

  16. Ruben says:

    I Like the guts, but no way Apple goes in on SWSoft. VMWare is the leader in virtualization, and they are very good at it. After all, providing a virtual interface is *all* they do. Why would Apple choose to diversify into virtualization with an INFERIOR product? They’re supposed to be buying the expertise, not adding to it.

  17. Mike D. says:

    Steve: Very interesting. I never heard about the “fast user switching” like demo of switching between Windows and OS X. That would be cool indeed. So I guess it’s kind of like a dual-boot thing where the machine has enough resources to keep two complete systems in memory at all times? That would be cool indeed, although I do like being able to run one inside the others, a la Parallels, as well.

    PanMan: Interesting. Never thought about letting AT&T do the billing for downloadable apps. That could be really bad or really convenient as well.

    Josh: Thanks, I think I will try that! I need to get my home network finally set up anyway. Wasn’t aware that TimeMachine will actually work under this scenario. Cool.

    Paul William Tenny: The MacBook Pro is the fastest laptop in the world at running OS X *AND* running WIndows. It is expensive because there *is* no other machine which does what it does (even if you just use it for Windows). Same thing with the iPhone. I think what you’re saying is what a lot of people say: you aren’t saying Apple charges more for identical products… you’re saying Apple doesn’t *make* cheap products. And that is true, proudly.

    Christian: Good info. I’ve never tried the AirDisk stuff… didn’t realize what an utter state of shit it was in.

    Jeff and Ruben: You guys could be right, but consider a few things: a) VMWare isn’t “open source”. It’s $79.95, and I believe it currently has less customers than Parallels. b) VMWare is a public company with a $32 billion market cap, so it’s not a company to invest in at this point, while SWSoft/Parallels is much, much smaller, from a capitalization standpoint. That said, I have heard very good things about VMWare’s product and will have to give it a whirl one of these days. The only thing I really use Parallels for is logged into CorpNet at Microsoft (god, did I just say that?).

  18. David Robarts says:

    From what I recall about the fast OS switching, the current OS would be put into deep sleep mode – saving all RAM to HD – and the target OS would be loaded into RAM from HD based on a previous sleep. Only one OS would run at a time, but you wouldn’t have to shut down and reboot every time you needed to switch.

  19. Brian Ford says:

    I’m sticking with my prediction that Apple drops blu-ray drives into its computer lineup, and that Fox and Disney release a fairplay encoded copy of their movies onto every blu-ray disc they sell, but that this deal will not extend to current DVDs.

    As for rentals — Gruber links to an article which claims a 24 hour viewable window. He (naturally) sees this as a bad thing.

    I think it could work, but only if set up like this:

    I pay $10-$20 per month to be able to rent 1-3 movies at a time. I set up a queue, and those movies download during the day while I’m at work, in high definition, and automagically end up on my Apple TV, which I will go buy immediately if they announce something like this. My 24-hour window starts as soon as I watch a movie, and I then have 24 hours to watch that movie as many times as I want. If I never start the movie, the window never starts. (I could have a movie indefinitely if I never start watching it.) I simply can’t download another movie until my window has expired for at least one of my rented movies. Once that window expires, my movie is deleted and my next movie downloads in the background.

    I would watch the vast majority of movies in this manner, and then there are some movies I would want to buy (movie that I’ll want to watch over and over) and the ability to buy a movie which comes with an HD digital file would probably tempt me into a blu-ray player.

  20. Mike D. says:

    Brian: Well, I’m biased towards hating both BluRay and HD-DVD, but I don’t see how popping in BluRay makes any of Apple’s machines much more compelling. Of course if it’s just an option that people can pay for, then why not, I suppose. As for the 24-hour window thing, you’ll probably already get a bit of what you want on that. It will work much like Amazon’s great Unbox service: you download the movie and your 24 hour window doesn’t start until you hit play. I’ve been using Unbox for several months now and the DRM window really isn’t that onerous at all. 48 hours would be better, but even at 24, as long as you watch the movie all the way through when you start it or the next day, you’re fine.

  21. Brian Ford says:

    Well, I’m biased towards hating both BluRay and HD-DVD, but I don’t see how popping in BluRay makes any of Apple’s machines much more compelling.

    Well, if blu-ray discs contain an HD digital file that any blu-ray equipped computer with iTunes can “rip” — a MacBook could be hooked up to a TV, or any computer with iTunes could stream that content to an Apple TV, and you’ve got HD content on your HDTV without having to buy a blu-ray player.

    I’m also thinking that any announcement about rentals points to an announcement about an upgraded Apple TV. Surely, if they’re going to push rentals, they’re going to use that as a way to sell more Apple TVs — and if they want to do that, I would think they’d at least make some sort of announcement (bigger hard drive, possibly 1080i/p capabilities) so that people will make the connection and actually consider buying one. It’s been forever since they’ve done anything with the Apple TV anyway.

  22. Ryan McCue says:

    Just thought I’d point out (again), that your iPhone header isn’t a header. :P

  23. Ruben says:

    Mike, I guess I don’t see the strategic imperative to invest in virtualization. While you see a question of picking which player to join, I see the choice of SWSoft or nothing. So VMWare in that context is not an investment option, but rather a formidable competitor if Apple were to enter the field.

    Personally I think Apple enjoys the competition in this market. Two players investing heavily in virtualization to steal market share from each other. By this account, Apple already wins without investing one dime.

    You should definitively try Fusion BTW…Parallels crashed on me once a week before I made the switch. (Killing the WIndows OS is an unpleasant experience when you’re running MS Money.)

  24. Mike D. says:

    Brian: Hmmm, possibly… I would think that the “ripping” of any BluRay material would be pretty much off limits though. I could be wrong, but one of the reasons the studios like BluRay and HD-DVD is that they are, at least in theory, copy protected. I’m not up to date on this subject and could totally be wrong, but I’m not aware of any sanctioned procedures or agreements which let people rip high definition DVDs from studios. But as you say, they “could” do it, and maybe Apple’s the company to make that happen. Who knows. Personally, I think Apple would rather just deliver you the bits via IP.

    Ruben: Yep, you’re probably right on that one. I definitely follow your logic. My thinking is that the move would be less of an imperative and more of a defensive thing. As in, what would happen if both VMWare and SWSoft made it into the wrong hands? Unlikely I know, but if you can buy yourself some insurance for $20-$50 million, maybe it’s worth it to.

  25. jackson says:

    I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned new Cinema Displays. These are quite possibly the most outdated and over-priced items in the whole Apple product lineup.

    Com’on new displays!

  26. Ross says:

    Mike, why no reply to Drew’s post about the new mac pros…

    I think your predictions are right on except for leaving out the mac pro update. Do you think people will be able to buy them right away?

  27. Mike D. says:

    Hi Ross. Oops, sorry. Missed that. I think I agree. It wouldn’t suprise me to see both the MacPros and the MacBookPros updated, since both seem to be getting a little long in the tooth, as far as form factor goes. Apple’s pro stuff is just so far off my radar screen these days because their consumer-level stuff is so damn good (MacBooks, iMacs).

  28. Brian Ford says:

    Mike: My theory about bundling fairplay encoded content is from the initial financial times report which broke the news about the rental agreement (now behind a registration barrier):

    A digital file protected by FairPlay will be included in new Fox DVD releases, enabling film content to be transferred or “ripped” from the disc to a computer and video iPod. DVD content can already be moved to an iPod but this requires special software and is considered piracy by some studios.

    Of course, they could simply be completely wrong about that aspect of the agreement.

  29. Mike D. says:

    Brian: Cool, well we’ll see. I don’t think that’s hi-def content they are allowing the ripping of, is it?

  30. Brian Ford says:

    Well, it doesn’t really say. My suspicion is that it will either be DVD quality or maybe 720p. Both are a bit underwhelming, at least to me.

  31. […] Mike Davidson – MacWorld 2008 Predictions (tags: apple mac) […]

  32. Jason says:

    My biggest hope will be an iPhone update to address some serious “whoops” items. Particularly 1) Picture messaging/MMS 2) Ability to send an SMS to multiple recipients (and forward an SMS) and 3) Video capture. A nice #4 would be an easier way to delete multiple emails at once.

  33. […] this year’s MacWorld. Mike Davidson seems to have a solid sense of what is going on with his latest post but honestly, all I really care about is an overhaul of the Macbook Pro. I’ve been wanting to […]

  34. Roy T says:

    I think any iPhone App download service will be done through itunes. The technology is already on the iPhone in the form of the WiFi music store. I suspect an “App” tab will be added and you can browse from the phone, similar to the AppTapp Installer program. However, I can only hope and pray that the SDK will bring free apps.

    My one concern for the SDK is that it will remove some of the pressure off of Apple to keep developing inovative software to put in firmware upgrades. One of the best features of the iPhone, one that no other phone has, is the amount of firmware upgrades provided by the manufacturer. With other companies doing the work and a new source of revenue, I fear Sir Jobs will shift his gaze to other areas, like his possible record label with Jay-Z:

  35. Great predictions – if I remember correctly you were spot on last year.

    Do you think they might show off the new OLED Keyboard they just filed a patent for? I haven’t followed it a whole lot, but it’s a neat idea, although, I would never buy one until it’s the same price as a normal keyboard.

  36. Bill says:

    Unfortunately for Apple I think an announcement about downloadable rentals via AppleTV would be too late to take any kind of quality market share away from NetFlix.

    They just announced plans of their own

    A lot of people already use NetFlix and unless LG’s player is grossly overpriced I can’t see AppleTV becoming a NetFlix killer. Not by a long-shot.

  37. Mike D. says:

    Roy T: I think you’re right. App downloads done through iTunes.

    Steve: I think the OLED keyboard is still a ways off, mainly because Apple just refreshed their keyboard line not too long ago (the slim silver ones).

    Bill: I actually think the opposite about the Netflix service. If I shorted stocks, I would be shorting Netflix right now. The Netflix box kind of reminds me of MovieBeam, Disney’s failed dedicated set top box for movies. Additionally, the initial cost estimate for the Netflix box is $799. $799!!! Exactly zero people will pay that much for such a device, and therefore, it will need to be subsidized by Netflix. If you make the box $500, I still think it’s zero. If you make it maybe $200, I think you might get 10% of Netflix subscribers to buy it. If you make it $99, I still think less than 50% of people try it. I guess the reason I have higher hopes for Apple’s version is that it will have the Apple shine to it and it will do other things besides stream movies. Even so, it must be kept inexpensive. $199 tops.

  38. Stefano says:

    Mike (and Steve): instead of an OLED keyboard it would be more easier to put a touch screen where the keyboard actually is, to free the main screen from interface and allow us users to switch from full keyboard to numpad, from icon/command-board to gamepad, or whatever else.
    This would be revolutionary, I think.

  39. Kurtis says:


    Nice writeup, odd that you didn’t mention VMware Fusion, VMware’s version of desktop virtulizatoin. Version 1.x of Fusion is already running more cleanly than Parallels, with many more IPO R&D dollars ahead to make it feature rich and solid.

  40. 3G iphone hopeful says:

    I have no idea how likely the 3G IPhone update will be, but I’m dying to get this new device! I’ve been waiting since the first one for the second, and a few times its been that I’ve nearly made the investment. I’m sticking to my plan and waiting for the next gen. with more memory and 3G speed. PLEASE Steve, I beg!

  41. Ross says:

    Looks like they came out with the Mac Pros before the conference… I wonder why. I got one this morning, been waiting a while for this one, spent too much money… BUT saved a bunch because of your memory post! Thanks Mike!

    I hope I am right on the assumption that pairing the memory cards as 2 x 1GB and 2 x 4GB will work ok to give me 10GB. Maybe down the line I can afford to get 32GB (that is just crazy…). Note: as your blog said, 32GB from mac $9100, 32GB from macsales $3250…

  42. African Boy says:

    I think Apple is going to go into the gaming business. Afterall, that’s the only place they don’t seem to be existing in yet.

  43. 3G iphone hopeful says:

    Oh, they’ve tried the gaming scene. It didn’t turn out so well… Although I wouldn’t mind to see it again, heck I would buy it!

  44. […] – “Macworld Software Highlights: Better Leopard, New Office, HD iTunes” (Wired) – “MacWorld 2008 Predictions” (Mike […]

  45. African Boy says:

    But they could re-invent the whole concept of gaming machines with a mnimalist device that plays PS3, PC and Wii games, but not Xbox games. Also, it could perform other functions not usually seen in gaming devices.

  46. Christian says:

    So Time Capsule ends up being how they solved the AirPort Extreme wireless debacle. Not too bad. I might try one!

  47. Amy says:

    Looks like you did pretty swell with the predictions. Kudos.

  48. […] said, I think the show this year was a success (and mostly in line with my predictions), with the surprising exception of the one product I was most excited about: The MacBook […]

  49. […] I predicted in December that Apple would take a dual path strategy towards supporting both open-standard enterprise protocols like IMAP/iCalendar and proprietary Exchange protocols, and it appears this is now coming to fruition, but in all of the announcements today, there was no mention of the desktop version of […]

  50. […] for MobileMe, I was six months early in my call here, but most of the details are on target. Concurrent Exchange/Non-Exchange workflows, […]

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