Macworld 2008 Predictions: You Can’t Win ’em All

You probably saw my Macworld Keynote predictions. Well the keynote has taken place and all of the new products have been announced.

What I got right

I was correct about iTunes 7.6 and movie rentals. You can now (as of today) rent movies through iTunes ($2.99 for older titles, $3.99 for newer) and watch them on your iPod, iPhone, HDTV (via Apple TV), PC, or Mac. You download it, then you have 24 hours to view however many times you like. The rental will be completely transferable to any of the devices I have just mentioned, even midstream. So if you have rented a film and watch half of it on your computer. You can then transfer it to an iPod or iPhone or similar Apple device and watch the rest of it. Sounds very cool and will actually give me a reason to download a movie from iTunes. Like most people these days if I am going to own a movie, then I want the DVD so that I can have special features. But for the films I just want to watch once and then get rid of, iTunes rentals may be the ticket. This new feature of the iTunes store will be most appealing to Apple TV and video iPod owners and maybe a few laptop-using road warriors.

What I got wrong

I was right when I said that we could expect a change to the Macbook line of laptops. But I was wrong when I said it would be an update to the Macbook line. There as actually an addition. And it was an addition that I said would not happen. Steve Jobs introduced the new Macbook Air (Michael “Air” Jordan would be proud). Stupid name, but it is a nifty machine. I am not sure it is what I need at this time but it will benefit a great number of folks. Despite my doubts, the Macbook Air is an ultra-thin, ultra-lightweight laptop that does not have a DVD/CD drive. You can purchase a separate optical drive for $99 or you can do without. This is what Jobs would like to see people do. He would like to see folks watching movies via iTunes on their Macbook Air or on their television via Apple TV instead of on a DVD. As for installing software from a disc, well you would need another PC or Mac for this. Using a feature called Remote Disc you can tell your Macbook Air (MBA) to access or borrow the optical drive of another machine. Put the disc in the other machine’s drive and the MBA will download the software wirelessly from the disc in the other machine’s drive. Of course the MBA and the other machine must be on the same network. So this is most ideal for folks who have multiple computers set up as a network in their home. But what about burning CD’s? Well Jobs’ solution for that was a little strange. Though his exact words were “we have a much better way than burning CDs — most of us have iPods in our cars”, what it basically amounted to was “get an iPod!” I am not sure that is going to go over well with average consumers who are not all-out tech geeks.

The MBA comes with an 80GB hard drive with the option to get one with a 64 GB Solid State drive option. They have changed over to a smaller 1.8” hard drive to conserve space. It’s amazing how thin hard drives can be. I mean, just look at the iPod Classic.

Finally a product I did not anticipate was Time Capsule. Time Capsule is meant to work with Mac OS X’s Time Machine backup utility. Time Capsule is basically an external hard drive with a built-in wireless router so that Time Machine can back up the information from all of your Macs on your home network to this one hard drive (assuming you have enough available space on Time Capsule). But I will admit, this product was not even a blip on my radar screen.

Other things I was wrong about include upgrades to the iMac (there were none), upgrades to iPods (zilch) and the release of the 10.5.2 update for Leopard (though that may still happen via Mac OS X’s Software Update utility this week even if it was not formally announced).

Well this little experiment settles the question once and for all: The Smoak House is definitely not the place to go for Apple speculations and rumors. I was wrong on all but one prediction.

Remember. You can not make fun of me.

Josh H.

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