Friday, 16 January 2009

Apple.pro rumor adds credence to larger Macbook Air prediction

A couple of weeks ago, this blog predicted that Apple would release a 17-inch Macbook Air. Some scoffed at this idea at the time. Interestingly, however, today AppleInsider reports on a posting by Chinese-language blog Apple.pro, who are predicting the release of a 15-inch Macbook Air model.

Not such a stupid idea after all?

Sunday, 4 January 2009

The new 17-inch MacBook Air [mockup]


Both 9to5Mac and MacRumors are citing sources claiming that the new 17-inch MacBook Pro will feature a non-removable battery. This is not an atypical design choice for Apple - it would be consistent with their approach to the iPod, iPhone and MacBook Air. What is strange, however, is that the new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBooks have regular batteries. So why would non-removable batteries be reserved for the Air and the 17-inch Pro, but not the two sizes in between? It surely implies that they have something in common.

And it doesn't take much imagination to work out what that thing in common might be. Especially if you've spent much of your life lugging around a 17-inch notebook. They're just too heavy. Sure, it gives you a bit of a workout, but it can also give you burn marks where the shoulder-strap of your laptop bag has eaten into your flesh.

And introducing a 17-inch sheet of glass to the mix isn't going to do anything to help with the weight problem. So perhaps Apple has something else in mind for their 17-inch model - something to set it apart from its smaller cousins, and something that may explain why it's spent a little longer in development.

Adding a 17-inch model to the MacBook Air line would introduce yet another category of mobile product. Something that worked out very nicely for Apple with the original Air - seemingly growing the overall segment rather than cannibalizing regular MacBook sales. As svelte 17-incher could be very popular with creative types like myself, and showy business exec types who want something to flash around in the airport lounge.

This is just speculation of course. If Apple was to take this approach, they may choose to introduce the 17-inch MacBook Air instead of, or in addition to a new 17-inch MacBook Pro. Next week's Philnote just got a little more promising.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Could the new Mac mini and Apple TV be the same product? [Mockup]


When the first Mac mini was launched, it came with Front Row, which was not a part of Mac OS X at the time. The last major revision of Front Row then came with Leopard, which brought it in line with the newly launched Apple TV. Since then, Apple TV Take Two has been released, with major functional enhancements that have not made their way back into Front Row. Perhaps the launch of the new Mac mini will see Apple finally updating Front Row - if not for all Macs, then at least for the version bundled with the new mini.

And by merging two underperforming, but strategically important product lines, (the mini and the Apple TV), perhaps they'll finally hit upon a formula with some traction. As previously predicted, all that would be required in order to achieve this is the ability to set the machine to automatically boot into the Apple TV environment at startup.

As usual, click on the image to see it in all its high-res goodness.

Correction: Thanks to Paul for pointing out (in a comment below) that the first Mac mini did not come with Front Row. I should have said the first Intel Mac Mini, which did come with Front Row, before the release of Leopard.

iWork on MobileMe - read before you write!

9to5Mac published an intriguing rumor that they say comes from their "best source." Given that 9to5Mac has been a pretty reliable source of rumors over the past year, we should therefore pay close attention. (Albeit their predictions, like those of Cassandra, can be notoriously tricky to interpret).

This latest prediction concerns iWork and MobileMe. This blog has been predicting for some time that Apple would develop a version of iWork for iPhone, (and we still believe that will happen), but this idea makes a lot of sense as well. Adding Pages and Numbers functionality to me.com would add a lot of value to Apple's MobileMe package. Web apps like Google Docs have proved to be popular, and there's no reason to suppose that iWork for MobileMe wouldn't be a similar hit, enabling users to open, edit and save their e-mail attachments.

But in an uncharacteristic oversight, MacRumors misconstrued 9to5Mac's prediction, claiming that Apple would release web versions of iWork instead of the current Cocoa-based suite. Whilst web versions in addition to the Cocoa apps makes a lot of sense, scrapping the Cocoa apps would make no sense at all. And the limitations in terms of what might be possible for a web-based version of Keynote makes it hardly worth bothering, (beyond offering support for viewing presentation attachments online).

MacRumors messageboards are going crazy with negative votes and and doom-monger posts. Hopefully, when the MacRumors team recover from the night before, they'll update their post to clarify.

Update: MacRumors have now clarified their post