The Nine Day Keynote or MacWorld Disappointment

by Chris Seibold Dec 14, 2006

For the true connoisseurs of all things Apple, for those that place no small amount of personal satisfaction on the successes and failures of the Cupertino based computer and consumer electronics design firm there is nothing so anticipated, so talked about and so interesting as MacWorld Expo. It is the Mac fans version of Lollapalooza only with circuit logic and slick interfaces replacing drugs and easy sex. Which brings up an obvious question: Who would trade drugs and easy sex for a mass of capacitors and vibrant discussions of screen sizes? Only Mac fans one supposes (side note: I’ll be attendance, be sure to say “hi”).

As with any anticipated event, the actual event can’t live up to the hype. Let us use Christmas as an example. Kids go to bed dreaming of Playstation 360’s, Nerf guns that launch black mambas only wake to the next morning only to find sugarplums… Well, sugarplums went out with invention of Lemonheads but the idea is the same. When an event is as hyped as MacWorld or Christmas the dreams inevitably outweigh the realities and disappointment is bound to follow.

This year is no different, the rumors are more common than annoying talent less hacks walking around sans undergarments and often as outlandish as crop circles supposedly made by visiting aliens. Of course, letting reality get in the way of a batch of MacWorld rumors is like buying a lottery ticket safe in the knowledge that you won’t win, there just isn’t any fun in it. Keeping that in mind a look at the current crop of rumors is order and take it one step further by imaging how the keynote would be impacted.

This is the classic combo device, the one everyone says has to happen. Why not, the Motorola RAZR went over pretty big and the popularity was completely style based. Imagine an Apple phone, how cool would that be? Not only could you replace your phone, you could lay your iPod to rest. What are the specs? Who knows but one tasty rumor is that the iPhone will have two batteries, one for the phone one for the pod. An interesting solution to an oft-voiced objection, the only problem will be: How will Apple justify keeping the phone battery user replaceable while putting the iPod battery off limits? An introduction of this magnitude will take at least an hour.

The iTV is preannounced, a rarity for Apple. Even though everyone knows it is coming the excitement level ranges from “Wow” to “wah?” Will the iTV have a hard drive? Will it support hi def? Will it stream at some heretofore unknown speed? Can it double as a router? All these things will need answering plus Steve will have to actually show the thing in action. It could be that he runs through the features while a 1080p video of Leave it to Beaver streams in the background but the presentation will still take some time. Budget 40 minutes for all the Apple goodness that is iTV.

If you ever run into to Steve Jobs at a dinner party or something and he says “How is it going?” as soon as you the “I” part of “It’s going” Steve will interpret that as an “i” and jump headlong into an presentation about iLife. Steve loves iLife and it is a yearly thing. This year will, of course, bring a slew of supposed enhancements (perhaps the Blair Witch Effect for iMovie) and Steve won’t be able to stop talking about them. Ten new squishy faces in PhotoBooth? Ten minutes. A new template in iWeb? There is no telling. While everyone is thinking “Get to the hardware” Steve will be telling the assembled attendees how great iLife is. Another hour, easy.

A gaming console:
When you look at that great Apple puzzle game that came on the original Mac and compare it to the games that are built in to the iPod you’re likely thinking “Holy crap, the first Mac game was so great Apple couldn’t make a better game in thirty freaking years!” Once that realization is made it is a given that Apple is building a gaming console. Who wouldn’t salivate at playing Breakout or Parachute on a 50 inch hi def TV? If you’re wondering about the developers worry not: Apple has started selling iPod games, they’re up to 9 (boring) offerings so the pipeline won’t be a problem. Estimate 1 hour for this, more if Steve can’t get the chalice past the black dragon.

A UI revamp
Steve Jobs is a design fanatic. Everything from round rects to fonts are pillars of the Mac experience. So a retooled UI will have to be explained, highlighted and praised. Showing of the eye candy takes time so tack on another 30 minutes.

The accumulated time needed is now (at a minimum) 3 hours and 10 minutes. That doesn’t include the errata associated with the keynote. Steve has to explain Mac sales (why they are so great) has to explain how OS X is doing (great) how the iPod is selling (awesomely great) how many tunes iTunes is plowing through (a great number) and how bright the future is for the company (greatly bright*). Couple the usual rundown with the new products and even before the “one more thing” gimmick the kidneys of well hydrated Keynote goers will be exploding. As attendee after attendee experiences unintended renal failure the keynote will have to end and there will be plenty of stuff that people wanted left out. Where is the Mac tablet? What about a small form factor Mac Book Pro? The Dual Quad core processor based Mac Pro? A wide screen iPod? The list could go on and on but the point remains the same: there are purely logistical reasons that everything can’t happen at MacWorld, so don’t get your hopes up. There will still be plenty of cool to go around.

*At a MacWorld keynote everything is always great!


  • Ahhh, Macworld Expo…I just love the rumour mill this time of year. Have you visited Digg in the past week?

    Here’s hoping I can finally retire both my 3G iPod and my Kyocera Smartphone with the coolest thing ever integrated since the toaster oven…

    And the iTV is on my bday wish list…cool!

    Robomac had this to say on Dec 14, 2006 Posts: 846
  • Finally, the reality of Macworld begins to circulate!  Is it any wonder that Apple’s stock goes down at Macworld every year.  The stock analysist will have a field day with “disappointment” columns and the resulting effect on the stock.  I wonder how many “shorts” will take advantage.

    Meanwhile, we can all hope that our favorite holliday wishes for our “one more thing” will come true.

    REB had this to say on Dec 14, 2006 Posts: 8
  • I am relatively new to Mac - but I formed the impression that Apple are quite good at restricting Mac events to Mac issues.  In other words, iPod & iTunes releases are held separately.  So if Apple hold true to form, there will be no iTV or iPhone announcements at Macworld Expo.  Perhaps we should look to some new Macs - maybe even an ultraportable Macbook Pro?

    iPhone, if it is real, will be quite capable of supporting an event all on its own…

    sydneystephen had this to say on Dec 14, 2006 Posts: 124
  • Sydney, I think you’re confusing the January MacWorld with the Summer Developers Conference. Apple has announced things like the iPod Mini and iPod Shuffle among other iPod accessories at MWSF.  Now, they probably won’t release a brand brand new product like iTV at the show, but MacWorld is what I think of as a Mac and iPod show.

    SterlingNorth had this to say on Dec 14, 2006 Posts: 121
  • @REB, Apple’s stock jumped over 10% after the las Macworld.
    @sydneystephen, it would take a newcomer to point out the obvious, you could quite easily be right.
    @SterlingNorth, you have a point too!

    Here’s my list:
    1. iPhone or I will kill Steve.
    2. Leopard full details, new GUI etc.
    3. iTV cause I want one.
    4. new Cinema disaplys (iSight built-in, IR etc.)

    Ireland had this to say on Dec 14, 2006 Posts: 11
  • *Sigh* Talent-less hacks walking around sans undergarments. There are some good things about MacWorld I miss.

    James Bain had this to say on Dec 15, 2006 Posts: 33
  • My predictions:

    1.  there will be a product with an “i” in front of it
    2.  Steve will predict that you will love whatever product he’s presenting
    3.  The audience will be easy, like porn-star on a prom-date easy
    4.  There will be a waiting list for some products and some will be available now
    5.  Some minor feature will be tauted like the second coming of Jesus
    6.  The rumor mill will start the micro-second the presentation is over about whatever was predicted before but was not announced this time around.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Dec 17, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • #7 all pessimists who are RDF proof will complain about the missing features that should have so obviously been included, and how that will consign product X to failure.
    #8 Said doomed product X will sell like hotcakes to those not immune to the RDF.
    #9 Some expected products won’t crack a mention much to the amazement (for the tenth year running) of many of the faithful who, year after year, still believe every rumor.

    Chris Howard had this to say on Dec 18, 2006 Posts: 1209
  • #10 Product X will also sell like hotcakes to those who are not subject to the RDF and who validly participate in the market and make their own choices as to their purchasing decisions

    Benji had this to say on Dec 18, 2006 Posts: 927
  • #11.  #10 will apply to almost no one at

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Dec 18, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • #12 Everyone who isn’t Beeblebrox will still suck

    Benji had this to say on Dec 18, 2006 Posts: 927
  • That’s not so much a prediction as it is a current fact of life, like predicting that water is wet or Bill Gates has money.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Dec 18, 2006 Posts: 2220
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