Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ahhhh!!!! Macworld Keynote!

Okay people ... Macworld Keynote at 12:00pm EST ... the blogosphere is aflutter with rumors. 

I know ... I know - it is pointless for me to write about them since if you really care, you already have read all about them - but I will anyway.  I have given my thoughts and explanations on everything.  The sources are the following: AppleInsider: 1, AppleInsider: 2, TUAW.

As of 10:18am the Apple Store is closed ... OH I'M EXCITED!

* DRM-Free Downloads - This has been a rumor for a year or so now, but people are saying that this time it is real; Apple has successfully gotten the major labels to agree to lift DRM restrictions on all (or maybe most) of their tracks available.  I'm not sure how this will play out - will DRM-free tracks cost more, and what will happen to those of us who currently own DRMed songs ... something tells me we won't get the DRM-free version for me.  Even worse to think about, how will this screw up my play counts.  Either way ... if this is true, I think it is a great move by the music labels and will help everyone in the end.

* iTunes Music Store Price Structure - Apple has always insisted on $0.99 per song, no matter what; done and done.  The music labels hate that ... and would prefer that you pay more for newer/more popular songs and less for much older/less popular songs.  Rumor on the street is that Apple has agreed to this, as part of the DRM-Free plan - with most songs staying at $0.99, but some going as low as $0.79; there is no estimate on how high prices would be, but I would think probably $1.19 or $1.29

* Downloads over 3G - To be perfectly honest, I don't see myself using this that anyway - and really don't see a huge advantage.  I'm sure music addicts like H would disagree, and I'm sure it would come in handy now and again, but I won't be disappointed if I don't hear this.  I don't know what the pricing structure would be like for this, but I can almost guarantee that AT&T is not going to give it away under the current data plans - they are already complaining that iPhone users use way too much data.  I wonder how they would do it - would a per song fee be tacked on (I don't think Apple would like that), or would you just have a special plan that allows you to download a certain number (I'm sure Apple would prefer unlimited) of songs per month.

* iPhone Tethering - This is more AT&T news than Apple, but Apple might have requested to announce it - since they basically control AT&T these days.  This has also been a rumor for quite some time, but one that seems more and more likely.  It would allow you to connect your phone to your laptop and use its data network to access the internet over your computer.  I used to do this with my BB Pearl, and AT&T did not charge extra for it - but this time around they definitely will.  TUAW, via MacBlogz, suggests that it will probably be $30/month, with a 5GB cap.

* Unibody 17-inch Macbook Pro - The 17-inch MBP is still the only notebook that did not recieve a refresh ... who knows what the delay is.  I would expect to see this, if not at Macworld, sometime soon.

* iMac - A few blogs seem rather convinced that the iMac will receive a refresh, but I am not counting on it.  It is one of their most popular machines and seems to receive a refresh most frequently - so maybe.  If there is a new iMac I will certainly be excited, but I won't be disappointed if not.

* Big iPod Touch - I don't even know what this is all about.  Several blogs have indicated that there will be a 'large format' iPod Touch ... I'm not really sure what purpose this would serve.  If by large format iPod Touch, they mean tablet computer - then yes - but who just wants a big iPod?

* Mac Mini - A third party company yesterday released a press release referring to a 1TB mac mini, which does not currently exist.  The release makes perfect sense as the mini has not been refreshed in forevs, but is still a viable product as far as Apple is concerned - it is very popular for servers and corporate front-of-house environments where small, sturdy, powerful machines are needed.  The new mini would likely see a hard drive upgrade, and the option to purchase the machine without an optical drive, instead opting for two hard disks.  A refresh would likely include a new chipset (with upgraded graphics), a mini-DisplayPort, a USB-port or two more, and a few other things.  It will probably also get a styling update giving it a similar look to Time Capsule or Airport (with the lip around the edges), but probably more metallic.

* AppleTV - Considering Steve has said that the ATV is basically a side project for the company I am not expecting anything.  A software update would be nice, perhaps something that would allow Boxee - or just integrate with Hulu.  I'm not really holding my breath for this either, considering what Steve said.

* Media Server - I posted about this last week, and haven't seen anything in the blogosphere since; but could we finally see a Media Server from Apple.  This would hopefully go hand it hand with an improved Apple TV, or maybe they'd try to integrate it into the ATV (though I would not be pleased with that).  I would like to see a separate unit that serves as the home media server for all computers (and the ATV) to access.  Additionally rumors indicated that you would be able to access your media over the internet via MobileMe ... I don't know how ISPs would feel about that, but I'd love it.  If they do this, I'll be quite pleased.

* iWork Web - There has been discussion that the iWork suite would be moved to the web - to compete with Microsoft Office Online and Google Docs.  This makes sense considering MobileMe is essentially useless, but has the feature set available to support such a move.  I'm still not entirely sold on word processing over the web (I only save certain docs there when I need them readily accessible; but I still do editing on my home machine).  This seems rather likely, because MobileMe is just generally lacking.  UMMM ... this just in via Engadget, iWork 09 has gone up.

* Snow Leopard - The next version of OS X; Hopefully we will get a release date.

In non-rumor Macworld news ... Sling, maker of the Slingbox, announced their Sling for iPhone player is going to be shown off sometime during the conference.  Via TechCrunch.

In non-Macworld, but still Apple news ... Google released a beta version of Picasa for Mac yesterday.  Watch out iPhoto ...  Only time will tell if people are more comfortable using Picasa than they are iPhoto, I think I'm going to give it a try this weekend.  Via Google.  Via AppleInsider.

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