My own Macworld 2009 predictions (updated)

Hey, you don’t have to be a paid pundit to play the Apple prediction game — anyone can play. Here are my own predictions for this year’s Macworld, as I tweeted them a few hours before the keynote.

Please note that, unless specifically called out in the prediction, I am not predicting any ship dates or prices, though everything will be out before September 2009.

Now updated with my results.

  • 17″ unibody MacBook Pro, sealed battery. Battery must be sealed for structural integrity of a super-thin/wide body.
    PREDICTION: People will bitch about the battery thing, but the thinness and sexiness of this model will shut most people up. And please — how many times do you really change batteries on your laptop each day? If multiple batteries are that important to you, then get the 15″ model and be done with it. Or get an outboard battery. Clearly you are an unusual case.
    RESULTS: Nailed it! Sure, they didn’t talk about structural integrity, focusing instead upon space constrictions. But I consider that close enough. And don’t take this away from me — I’ll need this win later as I lose on several more predictions!

  • Apple TV and Time Capsule merge into a single media device for iTunes library hosting plus their existing features.
    PREDICTION: Somewhat wishful thinking here. Why there isn’t an iTunes server made by Apple yet has puzzled me for years, given that third parties make them, so that’s a natural. Plus the Time Capsule is just too damn expensive to be justifiable today. This gets Apple attached to the TV, the stereo and the computers all in one fell swoop. By the way: new iTunes version to support this.
    RESULTS: Bombed out on this one. No love for the Apple TV yet. May still happen this year, but not in the keynote today.
  • No new iPhone of any kind.
    PREDICTION: Maybe some software, maybe some features, but no new handset hardware. The $99 iPhone mini rumors are just stupid. If you can afford a $60+/month phone contract, you can afford a $200 phone. The market for a cheap phone only makes sense if there are cheap plans to go with it. Besides, the 3G only came out last summer. Give ’em a year of sales first, people.
    RESULTS: Nailed it!
  • No subnotebook or “netbook” or “tablet” device of any kind.
    PREDICTION: I’m with those that predict an oversized touch-screen mega-iPhone somewhere down the line, but not yet, and not a netbook at any time.  If they do the mega-pod thing, it’ll either be by October 2009 or delayed into 2010. No mention at this conference.
    RESULTS: Nailed it! Though I can’t really take too much credit for this. Everyone knew this wasn’t going to happen, despite any amount of wishing.
  • Snow Leopard to launch at WWDC in June, beta ships by April, we see features today.
    PREDICTION: The new OS is not a dramatic reveal, but they’ll announce release dates and they’ll want this thing put to bed by WWDC. Might be some unexpected features in the demo, but more likely the features themselves will be mundane but their execution via the new OS will be stunning.
    RESULTS: Blew this one. No Snow Leopard demo, no discussion, etc. Perhaps the new Apple strategy of announcements and PR is to keep the nerdy stuff at WWDC.
  • No Steve Jobs at the event, but he might iChat in during a demo.
    PREDICTION: The guy is a bit ill, but should get better. He’s trying to get Schiller and others established bit by bit. If he upstages Schiller, he undermines his own plan. The most he’d do is a cameo iChat appearance, just to stick it to the naysayers.
    RESULTS: Didn’t “nail it,” but was still right. No sight or sound of Jobs. This was the right thing to do because I’m sure he looks a bit ill and he needed to let Phil Schiller fly on his own.
  • Revised Mac mini in general, but now will have ports/features and marketing to make it an “Apple TV+” device.
    PREDICTION: My God the Mac mini is old. So it’s time for a revamp. But the chassis will be new and Apple TV-style features will be built-in. Lots of people by Mac minis to make media centers, and this will be as close to a finished media center box as Apple can get, outside of the new Apple TV itself.
    RESULTS: Kaboom! Nothing here. I and the Mac universe blew this one. There’s still time in 2009, to be sure, but nothing in the keynote or other announcements.
  • Average speed/storage/feature bumps on iMac line, but no quad processor model yet, and nothing bigger than 24″ yet.
    PREDICTION: I’ve seen some rumors touting a 28″ iMac with quad core processing and super high-end graphics. I don’t buy it. Not yet. The need for quad cores isn’t there in the consumer market yet. The only possibility would be if they establish a product the straddles the Mac Pro line and the iMac line, but that just sounds un-Apple like. Still, some minor feature bumps might appear for the iMac line.
    RESULTS: Well, I was right about no quad processor model, right? The rest of it was wrong, however. In this case, I was bowing to some rumor peer pressure for no good reason. The current iMac line rocks and needs to boost just yet. Find me a Windows box that’s made as well as the current glass-and-aluminum iMac line.
  • Speed/feature bumps on Mac Pros, but no major overhaul.
    PREDICTION: Been a while since the Mac Pros got a bump. Seems like now might be a good time. May not make the keynote, though.
    RESULTS: Wrong on this one. I bet Apple moves this kind of product announcement to the WWDC or some new annual desktop Mac revision window.
  • No change to Xserve line (that will wait for shipment of Snow Leopard Server).
    PREDICTION: I’d love to see Apple spend more time/effort on the server platform hardware and software and marketing. But it’s not their core market and this is not a hard-core business show. So any Xserve updates will be reserved for WWDC or whenenver Snow Leopard Server ships.
    RESULTS: Nailed it — no changes.

Overall Results

  • 10 predictions
  • 5 right
  • 5 wrong

Which means that I’m as good as any Mac predictor out there, I suppose.

However, I should mention that I obviously paid no attention to iLife, iWork, iTunes or MobileMe in my predictions. Given the keynote today, this was obviously a mistake. It just slipped my mind as I was compiling my list at 3 in the morning! Did failing to predict them at all — either way — constitute a “miss” on my part? You’ll have to judge.