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What's new for '09

December 29, 2008 - Dave Hecei
It’s the end of December, which means that there are only a few more weeks until MacWorld Expo 2009. Just a few weeks ago, Apple announced that Steve Jobs would not be giving the keynote speech this time that this would be their last MacWorld Expo. This news doesn’t mean that the show should be a huge disappointment. While some Mac fanatics may feel a wave of depression, if Apple show the right cards during the Expo, most will forget this ending of an era.

New computers are always a good thing to show. Many recent rumors point to a possible new iMac and/or Mac mini. While the iMac is not really due for a major update, there are interesting pointers to iMacs upgraded with the newer nVidia video chips. There could be a speed bump, a slight increase in CPU speeds, but it has been rumored that the new iMac may have the new Core 2 Quad Intel processor. If so, this would be the first consumer Mac with four processors.

The Mac mini, Apple entry level computer, has been around the longest without any major update or even upgrade. To get ready for the new Mac OS X, Snow Leopard, Apple seems to be trying to get better video systems in all Macs. The mini is the only Mac that still has Intel integrated video chips. The mini uses the Intel GMA 950 video, which is fine for basic video performance – DVD playback, HD video playback, 2D graphics, and simple 3D gaming - but terrible for the newer 3D games or higher end video functions - like those supposedly in the new Snow Leopard.

There are differing rumors on what will happen to the mini. This ranges from: the mini being finally discontinued, the mini getting the same GeForce 8400 video as the MacBook, or the mini being completely redesigned and updated as a new product line. I am a mini fan and hope that Apple keeps the mini in their lineup. I would hope that it at least gets better video, but if they can create a new mini that does more, then sweet.

Software will likely be a big part of the keynote. OS X 10.6, Snow Leopard, should be shown, possibly a big demo. Snow Leopard should be available sometime in 2009. Some rumors show that the new OS X will not have any new major features or technology, but will have big parts of the OS rewritten for 64-bit operation and component apps – iChat, mail, preview, etc. – have been rewritten, some taking up much less drive space. This will make them load faster and in some instances, will run faster. There has been little heard about the next iLife and iWorks, both should be up for new versions. We might see demos of the next gen of these apps.

Some of the more outlandish rumors have Apple making an LCD HDTV with an Apple TV built-in. While this would be a very cool item it’s hard to believe that Apple would try to get into the TV business. I think Dell tried this and failed miserably. Ever since the iPhone was first released there have been rumors of an iPhone Nano, a much smaller lighter version of the iPhone. This rumor has hit it big again with supposed photos on a case manufacturers website that are for the Nano. Lastly is the rumor, or just high hopes of some Mac fans, of a netbook style device. Some say that this will be more of an iPhone/iPod Touch on steroids, or even a tablet style ultraportable laptop. Remember that these are outlandish rumors, some are even just wish lists for Apple to ponder.

The MacWorld Expo 2009 runs from January 5th through the 9th. The Apple Keynote is on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 starting at 9:00 a.m in the Moscone Center - West Hall.


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