January 8, 2007 - With some 24 hours until Apple CEO Steve Jobs takes the stage at the Moscone Center in San Francisco to kick off Macworld Expo, Think Secret presents a compilation of information we have received and reported over the last number of months concerning Apple's anticipated announcements.
"iPhone" (90% chance) - Presented in quotes, because that is not the device's name nor sole functionality, Apple is poised to rock the consumer electronics world tomorrow, the majority of which is gathered in Las Vegas this week for the Consumer Electronics Shows (CES). Recent word suggests Apple's new device will deliver capabilities far beyond melding phone and music capabilities with a slick Apple interface and external case.
The New York Times reported Monday that the "iPhone" may be more capable than most have expected.
"Industry executives and competitors believe that Apple has developed the first of a new generation of devices that are closer to personal computers in pocket form, meaning that they will easily handle music, entertainment, productivity tasks and communications on cellular and other wireless networks," the TImes wrote.
Think Secret sources have since suggested that the Times story accurately represents the direction Apple is seeking with the device. In addition, unconfirmed reports suggest the device is expected to be powered by a more capable operating system than one would expect in a fusion phone/media device, adding that Apple is working hard to make the new system a viable player in the system-on-a-chip segment, and may license the technology to third-party hardware vendors down the road in its attempt to break through in the space. Details of such plans are not expected to be discussed tomorrow, however.
While an announcement is expected tomorrow, an exact release date is less known. Sources have said production of the device is slated to start shortly or just recently started, suggesting a release down the road is most likely. At the same time, given the device's global appeal and different geographical markets Apple will be entering, coupled with the logistics of negotiating terms with phone carriers, release dates may be staggered around the world.
Mac OS X 10.5 Details (95% chance) - On the heels of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates CES keynote Sunday, where new features in Windows Vista—set to ship in three weeks to consumers—were first demonstrated, Jobs is expected to further divulge new details of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, including, very likely, a more exact release date and price tag. Apple has previously said the new operating system, code-named Leopard, will be ready in the Spring.
iWork '07 (85% chance) - The newest version of Apple's productivity suite will feature a new spreadsheet application and significantly improved version of the word processor and document layout software Pages.
Recent tips point to a prospective release date closer to March, however, as sources report new features planned for release have extended development time. Accordingly, an announcement may elude Macworld Expo—announcements made there traditionally concern products ready to ship within 4-6 weeks—but given the keynote audience and significant portion of previous keynotes that have been composed of demonstrating new software, Jobs may still take the wraps off the new software.
iLife '07 (85% chance) - Details surrounding the next version of Apple's media software have largely alluded sources, with the exception of substantial tips previously passed on regarding iWeb 2, which is slated to see possibly the most substantial upgrade of any application the suite.
iPod (65% chance) - Details are scarce, but at least one source with a reasonable track record says an upgrade or addition to Apple's iPod line will arrive tomorrow, although there remains the possibility that this announcement is being mistaken for Apple's more substantial new device announcement.
Mac Pro (65% chance) - At CES Monday, Intel announced its new Quad-Core Xeon 5300 processor, which is said to deliver a 50% performance improvement over the Dual-Core Xeon 5100 processor, featured in Apple's Mac Pro line of desktops. Apple is expected to transition its Mac Pro systems to the new chip, which is shipping now, with the likely release of an eight-core Mac Pro system, given that the Quad-Core 5300 chip currently tops out at 2.4GHz, while the Dual-Core 5100 processor goes to 3.0GHz.
Displays (50% chance) - An announcement may manifest itself as a simple price adjustment, but supplies and availability of Apple's displays are currently tight in the channel, suggesting an upgrade may be imminent. Details have escaped Think Secret sources, but reasonable speculation suggests the inclusion of an iSight camera may be part of the new feature set, while the 23-inch Cinema Display may be replaced with a 24-inch model that uses the same glass as Apple's high-end iMac.
Sources who previously tipped off Think Secret to the larger, 24-inch iMac's existence prior to its announcement have also said Apple has actively pursued displays larger than the current high-end 30-inch offering in the past year. Whether a bigger screen be announcement tomorrow is unknown, however.
Other announcements - Apple is also expected to given an update regarding the iTV set-top device, announced late last year. An upgrade to Apple's AirPort hardware, adding support for the faster 802.11n draft specification, has also been suggested, especially given Apple's recently adoption of wireless chipsets that support the protocol in recent Macs.