Well it seems my predictions were coming true… at least until Steve Jobs stopped early.

As I thought they went into more details about the iTV and they announced the iPhone! They also utilized that multi-touch functionality of theirs in a creative and useful way (for the phone). It seems to work very similarly to that video I linked to in my previous blog, in particular in how it handles pictures and how they can be sized.

Also as I predicted the phone included some unexpected features… It is fully touch screen compatible and comes with a number of sensors (including a proximity sensor) as well as means to prevent accidental touches. It makes calling and conference calling incredibly easy (you can touch the screen to add people to a call), and so on. This phone is going to drastically raise the bar and this is going to provide a solid kick in the ass to the other phone companies who have been very lackluster in terms of innovation (i.e. they haven’t innovated archaic things such as voicemail at all). And I don’t mean innovation as in adding new things, I mean innovation as in revamping and improving upon how things are already done.

Not to mention this phone carries the undeniably powerful iPod name, it comes with a version of OS X (which is an interesting way to get the OS in more people’s hands – often those who experiment with OS X switch shortly after), full fledged internet capabilities, comprehensive video and music capabilities, 2 megapixel camera and so on. This thing will make an impact for certain.

I’m even considering going back to Cingular even though we did not part on the best of terms (they gave me a whole bunch of BS fees when I switched to Verizon).

However that’s where the conference ended. Jobs and Co. brought John Mayor on stage for a few songs, concluded it simply, packed up and left. There wasn’t even the trademark “oh and one more thing…” this time around.

So which of my predictions didn’t see light?

– No new Leopard info

– No iSight or new monitor

– No iWork or iLife announcements

– No Tablet (though the multi touch in the iPod suggests we will see one)

We did however learn that Apple Computer Inc. was changing and shortening its name to Apple Inc. I suppose they’re dropping the “computer” to be more in line with their ever expanding electronic products. They are changing their horizons and taking on more avenues of the electronic market… They even showed a comparison graph which showed video game console sales. Is Apple planning on getting into the video game console market at some point? I actually hope not.

With all the crazy new stuff they’re coming out with, I hope they keep their emphasis and specialty on building great computers and fine tuning their operating system.

Peace,

Mike

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Well Apple has rolled out the big hype guns on its main page in preparation for Macworld coming up next week. I’m sure some people may dismiss the bold teaser as fuel for the hype machine, but the last time Apple did this was in 2002, where they went on to announce the flat paneled iMac, the 14″ iBook, iPhoto, OS X as standard boot, and more. Essentially they roll out the Macworld hype carpet only when they have some major changes to announce and I expect Apple is unveiling the big guns this time around because they really plan to deliver.

So here are some of the things I’m expecting to see, or at least hoping to see.

Leapord: Arguably the star of the show will be the full reveal of Apple’s new, updated version of OS X. Last September we were privy to many of its upcoming features but we were told there was still much that was top secret (for fear of Microsoft imitating them I believe was the stated reason). We can expect many of the same updates/software to be shown again here, perhaps updated or improved a bit. Spaces, time machine, the updated iCal, Address Book, and so on all look to be included and worthwhile. I’m particularly fond of the iChat modifcations, including the ability on video chat to show pictures and video live. I think iTunes 7 is indicative of some of the things we can expect from Leopard both visibly and functionally.

Most applications on Leopard have undergone a graphical overhaul, with Finder being a notable exception… Indeed Finder still carries that brushed metal look, and for this reason I expect that we will be given an updated Finder. I’m hoping it has tabbed browsing, and I hope they allow a form of Quick Look for the Finder to browse through picture files. The one thing I still like about Windows is that you can click on a picture and browse all of them in the folder by pressing the left or right keys, if Apple including something to that effect it would be fantastic.

Macbook Tablet: I may be alone in the blogging world on this, but I do think we will see a Tablet mac computer announced, if not demonstrated, at this upcoming Macworld. However, rather than just announcing a tablet computer I believe Apple will take steps to innovate the tablet computers and redefine what they’re capable of. Back in 2002 Steve Jobs dismissed the (then brand new) tablet concept as being the same thing except you could draw on it. With some of the touch screen patents and properties owned by Apple, I expect a tablet Mac to do things like this multi-touch demonstration (Apple evidently owns this technology) which will immediately set it apart.

iPod: May we finally be getting that touch screen video ipod? Might we see a model where the entire side is a video screen that you touch? I don’t know but that would be excellent. If nothing else I imagine there will be some iPod updates which include longer battery life, brighter screen, more interface improvements, and so on. Since there were some pretty substantial upgrades in September I’m not sure how much new we’ll be seeing on this front. I really don’t think the iPod shuffle can stand to get smaller without issues of losing it easily.

iLife: I think iLife 07 will be announced and demonstrated. I imagine iMovie will get some cool new features, making it an even more potent video editing software. iPhoto is liable to get a couple added features, along with Garage Band… the latter may get some new loops and interface changes making it even more convenient and easy to use. While many of the changes to these programs may be minimal, they will be welcome frosting on the leopard cake.

iWork:

iWork 07 ought to make an appearance with some updates as well. The main bonus to this version seems to be the alleged inclusion of a spreadsheet program similar to Microsoft’s Excel but naturally easier and more intuitive to learn and use. While still a rumor, there is some pretty solid backing to this. For one spreadsheets are a good thing to have and it would be a major selling point – especially to those who’d like one less reason to have the MS Office Suit

ThinkSecret has released this screen capture of the iWork Spreadsheet program:

The screen of iWork's new feature.

Now it could be fake, but Think Secret tends to be quite a reliable source. In any event I look forward to seeing what they do with iWork. Keynote is certainly superior to powerpoint, Pages is debatably better than Word, and I’d hope the iWork Spreadsheet winds up being more potent or useful than Excel.

Monitor with iSight camera built in: With the iSight apparently discontinued, there will be a lot of Mac Mini and Mac Pro users without the ability to engage in video chat (missing out on those new iChat features) or take pictures with photobooth… To deal with this I think future Apple monitors will have the iSight included as an incentive to choose those monitors over a cheaper Dell or Acer equivalent.

As for the singular iSight camera, I hope they are improved and reinstated. There were advantages of the iSight as a separate entity, such as the ability to maneuver the camera around and point it at different people and differnet directions, also the cord allowed some small measure portability… An iSight trapped in a monitor loses the maneuvarability and options afforded by the stand alone iSight, and a camera at the top of a large monitor may prove troublesome as it’s above the head of the user or the monitor would have to be otherwise adjusted.

iTV: This was quite the surprise last September, and I think we will see much more of it next week at Macworld. However I don’t really suspect it will be released until later in the spring, maybe in February.

Apple Phone: Saving the biggest (and most “controversial?”) for last, the oft rumored iPod phone. This seems to have been the major topic of bloggers and speculative articles on websites such as digg or cnet. There are so many rumors and speculation I don’t know where to begin. Will it have two batteries? Will it be touch screen? Will it interface with the computer easily? Will it play iPod games? Can it connect to the internet? Can you do run video chat on it? etc.

Now I can’t say for certain whether we will see this or not, but I am leaning towards a “big revealing” of a phone that will impress us with features nobody expected. I may be labeled an apple fanboy for this (and probably will be anyway for this whole article) but I think the Apple phone could be a big deal, particularly if the price point is indeed a mere $250 (which is significantly cheaper than many well featured phones)… The prospect of a phone that can play music/videos only partly appeals to me, but the notion of a phone that can interface easily with a computer (and, in the case of a Mac, sync with Address book, iCal, and others) and run a video chat conversation would be awesome. Hell, I’d buy a video cell phone just for that.

In any case, I’m looking forward to the news and announcements of Macworld 07 and I don’t think I’ll be disappointed. If Jobs and Co are true to form there will be something coming out of left field, some crazy new idea or technology. At the last bit Steve Jobs will do his, “oh and there’s one more thing” and go on to announce something interesting. More than anything though I am a bit curious to see what those top secret Leopard features will turn out to be…

-Mike

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