I don’t have any special access to Apple (which is to say that I have none and read the rumors like everyone else), but I do have logic, history and wishful thinking, so here’s my take on what’s going to come out of Macworld.
Snow Leopard: We’ll get a demo and release date. Some people are saying that Apple will release OS X 10.6 during Macworld, but I have to call bullshit on that. Based on what I’ve heard coming out of NDAland says that 10.6 is not done yet. Close, but no way in hell are disks getting pressed yet. Probably a late spring or June (WWDC-ish) release.
Display Port: Everyone’s getting it. Monoprice says that its mini DP adaptors are coming on 1/16/09. That’s a whole four days after the Phillnote. I think they know what’s up. Additionally, the iMac and Mac Mini will be getting new graphics (the Mini will probably get the 9400M, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the 9600).
Mac Pro: Clearly, the Pro’s going to be the first Mac to go Core i7, but the question is when. My gut says not at Macworld, but in the next month or so, via press release and an hour long store.apple.com outage that makes some MacMacs wet themselves. I’d like a new case for the i7 Mac Pros, simply because I never liked the cheese grater G5 case and because the iMac and laptop Intel transition cases are all gone.
iMac: Same case, Display Port, new graphics, minor updates (bigger default HDD, RAM, etc). I don’t think that the iMac will be getting any HTPC features like a TV tuner or HDMI port. What’s the point of hooking up a 24″ iMac to an HDTV, right?
Mac Mini: I think the 2009 Mini will be a totally different beast compared to what’s currently shipping. I’m going to combine logic with some wishful thinking here and say that the new Mini’s going to be Apple’s real push into the living room. The rumors say that it’ll have two video outs, a mini Disply Port and a mini DVI. I’m going to call bullshit and remind everyone that DVI is now dead to Apple. I say mini Display Port and HDMI. Since DP supports ACDP just like HDMI, the DRM’s not an issue, which leads to a Blu-ray build to order option. Combine that with an updated Front Row and HD rentals all in a new good-looking case, and that’s a winner.
iWork/iLife: 09 updates are a pretty safe bet. New templates, new features, probably no new apps. Takes Phill less than 10 minutes to get through.
iPods: Phill brags about how great the holiday season was, record sales, massive iPod Touch market share, etc. No new hardware. Duh.
iPhone: Same deal: Record sales, kicked WinMo’s ass, RIM better sleep with one eye open, etc. No new hardware, including the Nano. iPhone apps are not resolution-independent, and a smaller screen would break a lot of apps and make everything look like crap.
Maybe an iPod-based dumbphone for the cheapskates, but I highly doubt that.
One More Thing: the fabled xMac. Kinda. I think Apple realizes the value of the home server. The problem is that a good home server is an expandable box that I can put a bunch of ever-larger hard drives into, like HP’s MediaSmart WHS box. I can kind of see Apple making a box two or three times as tall as the new Mini, with a removable back plate that you can slide SATA drives into, a la the Mac Pro.
Such a machine will either run vanilla OS X with some specialized server software or, more likely, an embedded OS X with all the admin functions based on an app on the client machines.