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Monday, 09 June 2008 07:00

Apple WWDC to open later today

Written by David Stellmack

Image

The world waits to see what Apple will show


Apple, being the masters of the hype machine, have the industry as well as consumers buzzing trying to predict what announcements will be made later today. The truth is that besides all of the free publicity that Apple has been able to obtain by not commenting, the media and analysts have shaken the trees and have predicted a variety of new announcements that we think will/might/could/should be announced. Let’s take a quick look at what to expect, along with our ratings on the likelihood that it happens.

3G iPhone – Better than 95% chance – The worst kept secret that will likely be announced at WWDC is the new 3G iPhone. Based on all of the rumors and the quality of the sources spreading said rumors, along with some good evidence to support the introduction, we are highly confident that Apple will announce the 3G iPhone.

Multi-touch MID – Less than 50% - With much of the computing world wanting to reach out and touch their products, it is no wonder that speculation has been fueled that Apple will announce a mobile Internet device (MID) with a touch screen at WWDC. While some might suggest that this is nothing more than Newton 2, we think that Apple will have to be very sure before thinking about wading into the tablet PC waters. Microsoft has never been able to make tablet PCs popular, despite trying a variety of tactics to do so. The advantage for Apple is, however, that they have an OS that is much better for this type of an application and they have already broken ground in this arena with the iPhone. While it is reasonable that this is a good application of the new Intel Atom processor, we just don’t think the timing is right yet for the launch. It may be in development, but don’t expect them to announce it at the WWDC.

Mac OS X 10.6 – Codename Snow Leopard – 75% chance to be announced – We think that chances are high that Apple will announce version 10.6 of Mac OS X. We don’t believe that the focus of this release will be in new features, however. Instead, the focus will be on optimizing and improving performance of the OS. We do think it will be targeted for launch in 2009 and it will be Intel only, jettisoning all PPC support from the OS. While a lot of people are suggesting that we will hear more about additional multi-touch support for in 10.6, we are just not sure that it is in the cards.

iPhone & iPod Touch 2.0 Firmware – 85% chance – Apple was targeting a launch for the 2.0 firmware for the iPhone and iPod Touch for the end of the month, so we do think that they will announce that its release is coming. The big news about this, of course, is the ability to run 3rd party apps on the iPhone and iPod Touch. We think that if announced, there will be a better than 98% chance that Apple will tell us that they are going to charge for it.

iPod Nano with 16GB memory – Less than 30% - We have not really been hearing much about this, but several sources continue to suggest to us that Apple will announce a special edition 16GB version of the Nano. While it would, of course, cost more, many iPod users like the small form factor, longer battery life, and lack of a hard drive as the big reasons that they chose a Nano over the iPod Classic. While the iPod Classic has shrunk in size several times, it still isn’t as small as the Nano. The problem with the Nano is that you just simply don’t have enough storage room on it. While we think a 16GB (or better yet, a 32GB) Nano has to be on Apple’s radar screen, the fact that the iPod Touch is already shipping in 16GB and 32GB models may make Apple a bit cautious about cutting into their iPod Touch sales. The problem is that people who want the small size are not going to buy an iPod Touch. We suspect that a 16GB version is in the pipeline, but that it will be announced closer to the holiday season.

CUDA Support – 60% better than average – After an interview with Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of Nvidia, suggesting that Apple had more than a passing interest in Nvidia’s CUDA technology, the rumors started that Apple was going to add support for this technology because of the ability to offer unique parallel processing abilities that could be useful in applications such as video transcoding. We think that Jen-Hsun let the cat out of the bag, and chances are good that Apple will announce support for CUDA.

OS X 10.6 will run on PCs – Less than 15% - Well, we have to admit that with Apple changing some of their branding to make it more platform agnostic it has fueled speculation that this is going to happen; and the fact that it has been suggested that 10.6 is focused on “optimizations” leads some to believe that Apple will make this revolutionary announcement. We just don’t see it happening yet. Apple is making too much money selling Macs to change their strategy, but with all of the unhappiness with Vista, PC owners are ripe to want to consider switching so they have the hardware that is able to run OS X very well, and in many cases much better than the average Mac. We doubt it, but we still believe that it will happen one day, but that day just isn’t today.

Last modified on Monday, 09 June 2008 12:58

David Stellmack

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