by Charles Ying

Archive for December, 2008

Macworld 2009 Predictions

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

Macworld 2009 is just 6 days away. It’s a Philnote instead of a Stevenote, and Apple’s last Macworld. Let’s get to it.

Apple Tablet | Netbook

  • Multi-touch one piece form factorSources, dating back to 2005, have spoken of a one piece form factor tablet running Mac OS X. The guts may have changed since 2004-2005, but the form factor is likely the same.

  • 720 x 480 screen – Widescreen for movie playback. Easy to source these components. The real question is pixel density, which depends on the form factor.

  • ARM + GPU processors – ARM processors are fast; more power efficient (longer battery life); can be supplied by multiple chip vendors including Apple’s new semi-conductor division; and Apple’s already got a OS X and app stack tuned for this form factor. A GPU is necessary for hardware accelerated web browsing and the graphics intensive apps and user experience. I’d love to believe that this is an Intel machine, but Apple and Intel’s partnership has been tentative this past year and with the chip division purchase, the roadmap seems clear.

  • OS X variant – If it has an ARM chipset, it won’t be full Mac OS X. Existing apps might work with a re-compile. It’ll play iPhone games, though. I could be wrong. Many things have pointed to sizing Mac OS X and iPhone OS X to converge, but I’d give it another 12 months.

  • $599 – Steve only shows up to earnings calls to spread dis-information (lie) and gauge market reaction (smart) prior to releasing new products. He did this for the iPod Nano, the iPhone, and he’ll do it again for the Apple tablet. “We don’t know how to make a computer for $500”. Fine. “All this for just $599”. (Plus a $699 upgrade)

  • Q1 2009 – Debunking today’s Fall 2009 timing rumor. Reliable sources at Apple also told me just prior to the iPhone 3G launch that it would not ship until 9 months later. They work on hardware, they cited realistic technical challenges getting a 3G chip in place. I’m betting it’s bunk.

  • Name? – iBook, MacBook Touch. No idea. Some combination of Mac, i, Book, Pad, or Touch. “Notepad” would be hilarious, but unlikely.

  • Is it a MacBook? – I’d like to call an audible on whether this is a full MacBook multi-touch notebook or an Apple tablet. An Apple tablet makes the most sense now. In 2005, this product was a full blown MacBook.

Mac Mini 3.0

Apple will merge Mac Mini and Apple TV together, dropping one of the lines.

Safari 4.0

  • 3D – Hardware accelerated 3D Web graphics with CSS Visual Effects. The specs exist, they’re implemented on iPhone, and definitely coming to Mac.
  • Video – You can already do alpha blended, transparent, reflected video playback on WebKit nightlies.
  • Speed – Benchmarks showing how much faster Safari 4 is over Safari 3 (also in a WebKit nightly near you).
  • UI – Apple is cooking some interesting UI upgrades, which I’m looking forward to.

One Last Thing

While this is a Philnote, I believe that the introduction of a major new product will still guest star Jobs.

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Final Apple Macworld Keynote

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008


Apple® today announced that this year is the last year the company will exhibit at Macworld Expo. Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, will deliver the opening keynote for this year’s Macworld Conference & Expo, and it will be Apple’s last keynote at the show.

Link: Apple Press Release

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Nokia Finally Answers the iPhone

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

When Lilia Martinez-Coburn, my colleague at hi5, first told me about the upcoming Nokia N97, I was skeptical. I’ll eat my words today.

Nokia is certainly rising to the challenge and seems to be on track to be a BMW to Apple’s Mercedes-Benz in the new “internet in your pocket” generation of mobile phones. Consider these key ingredients:

  • Cinematic UX – Finally, someone has successfully xeroxed Apple’s Core Animation’s GPU + implicit animation model and who better than Nokia. The implicit animation model is key in making great UX with minimal pain and bugs. I suspect the UX polish is focused on the main “phone top” idle screen, but it’s a great showing.
  • Web BrowserIt’s WebKit and Nokia already has a decent port.
  • Industrial design – N97’s form factor is great. Nokia is no slouch when it comes to ID, and they’re very close here. N97’s a fair amount thicker, but not too shabby.
  • A twist – a physical keyboard and Flash + video support. Apple’s mobile web efforts have promise, but people sure do ask for Flash a lot.

But there are details that we won’t know until the N97 ships and are key to making sure Nokia doesn’t pull a “Prada”. Those are:

  • Performance – Touch interfaces need to have minimal to no latency. Graphics needs to be fast, and I have no doubt a GPU is sitting in that N97. Hopefully S60 5th Edition is up to speed here.
  • Software Ecosystem – Will Nokia provide an app store? Will there be refinements to S60 to let 3rd party developers finally make great apps? And can these developers make money? Nokia certainly is integrating with partners on the social networking front. But …
  • Nokia Maps? – Well, I’m certainly skeptical of Nokia’s ability to out innovate Google on mapping technology, but I wish them the best of luck. Competition is always good, and I hope Nokia finds the game changer in building their own mapping service.

I have two closing thoughts for now – 1) MacWorld is in January. I can’t wait to see that Apple tablet. 2) Finally, a new “internet communicator” with potential… though it hasn’t shipped yet.

2009 is going to be an interesting year.

Update: Additional coverage from Engadget, Robert Scoble, Gizmodo

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