It’s been a week now since Phil Schiller’s first and last keynote speech for Apple at MacWorld, and now that the hype has come and gone, we can look at which of the supposedly “hot” rumored products surfaced, which didn’t, and which might yet see the light of day.
The biggest rumor had to be the iPhone Nano. There wasn’t a peep of it mentioned during Apple’s presentation, despite the furor that had been going on on the Internets just hours before. All that fuss and nonsense came from two case manufacturers who had previously been pretty reputable, and had leaked specs for their iPhone Nano protective cases–XSKN’s is shown here.
Was this a mistake or some half-assed PR stunt by those two manufacturers? Hard to tell. If Apple did make the Nano–presumably keeping as many elements of the big iPhone inside, in keeping with the one-type-fits-all design meme–and priced it at a lower level, it would undoubtedly sell like hot cakes. But it would dilute the prestige of the high-tech iPhone, may be fiddly to use with it’s smaller screen, and would draw members away from Apple’s design team. And they are, presumably, terribly busy beavering away at the iPhone version 3. We’ll chalk it up as a “might turn up late this year, if at all” rumor.
An updated Mac Mini also didn’t show up. That leaves the machine as the runt sibling of all the other Macs–it hasn’t been updated now for 525 days according to the MacRumors Buyers Guide. And it looks like this supposed leaked image, with design elements borrowed from the Time Capsule, was just a fake. But there is hope for the device yet: A press release from SeeFile specifically mentioned its support of “new Apple Mac Mini hardware” which purportedly will come with 1TB of storage. It’s perfectly possible this machine will turn up in one form or another fairly soon–maybe it didn’t show up at MacWorld simply because it’s currently being finalized.
The “even smaller” iPod shuffle did not make an appearance either. We’d rated that particular rumor as only 30% probable anyway–the Shuffle is a classic bit of design that’s approaching the minimum possible size in terms of ergonomics.
OS X Snow Leopard wasn’t even mentioned at all–we’d placed a 70% chance on it showing up in Phil’s speech as it’s supposedly near finalization. Obviously Apple is waiting for the OS to get its final spit and polish before revealing it to the public. That way it can deliver the maximum press and publicity attention to the launch, without having some of the limelight stolen by a pre-emptive showing at MacWorld.
So what did turn up as a true rumor?
The iLife/iWork packages becoming cloud-based actually was kinda true. Though it’s specifically for iWork, and it’s limited to collaborative package sharing, iWork.com is truly a cloud-based app. And it’s possible that it’ll get expanded over time into more than this functionality, with the infrastructure of MobileMe.com as a model. iLife got a significant refresh, but its connection to the “cloud” is limited to tighter integration with social apps.
The MacBook Pro 17-inch aluminum unibody refresh rumor was absolutely bang-on, of course. Apple’s in fact just detailed how buyers can get its non-removable battery changed, for around $180.
For sure Apple has new hardware on the way. Expect “surprise” special events when a new gizmo is finished to Apple’s satisfaction, and scheduled releases according to Apple’s internal product clock. Schiller directly referenced these, when explaining Apple’s departure from MacWorld: iPods in October, iLife in March, iPhones in June, educational season in late Summer and the Holiday season from November.