Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Macworld 2008 Predictions and Reality (Tooting my own horn)

The long anticipated Macworld Steve Jobs keynote has come and gone. Now is the time when people go back to last week's columns and review the accuracy of their prognostications. Since my article was right on, I am happy to do so.

A fairly large part of the speech, and a good number of my predictions involved Apple TV. Indeed it is gaining the ability to buy and rent movies directly, and the price was also reduced (to $229, squarely in the middle of my $199-$250 prediction). The answer to the question of content was surprisingly positive. Eleven studios signed up! That's far more than anticipated. I also did not expect the availability of HD content, but I know this will be applauded in many quarters. Unfortunately, no announcements about non-purchase TV shows, but maybe those networks will fall into line if movies take off. One other great selling point with the Apple TV and iPod/iPhone paring is that movies rented will transfer between them, even remembering a pause location.

Next up, I predicted mention of the iPhone SDK and possible third party app announcement. We did get a mention of the release of the developers kit and then new software updates including GPS-like functionality on Google Maps. As expected there was no new iPhone model or pricing announced.

About new laptops I said, "Make it slimmer, lighter, maybe update the color design.... A fairly minor new feature that could dramatically change the usability of the laptops would be the incorporation of the iPhone style multitouch to the MacBook's trackpad," and, "If, as rumors suggest, it does not have a DVD drive or conventional hard drive (using Flash instead), this would make for a very slim, light system indeed." The MacBook Air announcement was right on the money, if I do say so myself. The solid state drive is optional (and very expensive), but available.

The Mac Pro was actually updated before Macworld, and hasn't received a visual makeover, but otherwise this prediction also came true.

The unexpected announcement was the Time Machine, an Airport Base Station with a built in hard drive. Priced at $299 or $399 for a half or full TB, this should prove to be a popular product.

Overall, my expectations were met and slightly exceeded. The biggest disappointment was what happened to "One more thing"?

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