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Summary:

I believe 2007 will be yet another exciting year for fans of Apple. Undoubtedly we’ll see a handful of new hardware specs announced that will set our mouths-a-salivating, and our wallets-a-weeping. I’m guessing the iPod roll-out schedule will stay on par with 2006 (so what’s that, […]

I believe 2007 will be yet another exciting year for fans of Apple. Undoubtedly we’ll see a handful of new hardware specs announced that will set our mouths-a-salivating, and our wallets-a-weeping. I’m guessing the iPod roll-out schedule will stay on par with 2006 (so what’s that, like a new iPod announcement every 6 weeks?), putting us at like 8th generation units by Christmas time. And most certainly we’ll be inundated with more wild and crazy Apple rumors in the next 12 months. (Please, PLEASE let something happen to kill all the iPhone talk!!)

Yet Apple has a way of making announcements – whether anticipated through a known venue such as a MacWorld Expo, or a surprise media event – that blow everyone’s mind with some awesome new product, service, or feature. Three things have come to mind that I think may be plausible in the coming year. Granted, my thoughts are based on very little evidence of anything, but it’ll be interesting to see what may come to fruition and what falls flat.

ONE: A Shift in Naming Conventions
Apple’s Operating System, OS X (read, Ten) has historically taken-on code names based on Cats. Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, what may be next? I feel like the next OS upgrade announcement will be lacking a Cat name, and will go in some new direction. I mean, truly, what decent cat names are left? Andean Mountain Cat. Flat Headed Cat. Kodkod. Maybe Margay or Ocelot? Ok, so I’m being a bit silly – they could still roll with Bobcat, Cougar, Lynx, or some other variation, but I doubt it. The cat names just feel like they’re getting long in the tooth (no pun intended).

Additionally, I think [hope] we’ve seen the last of the ‘i’ names. Obviously the iPod and iMac will hold out because of their market popularity, but nothing new will be introduced as an iProduct. (There’s not going to be an Apple iPhone!!) In fact, I wouldn’t be too surprised if application suites like iLife and iWork were migrated to another moniker. Maybe I’m going too far with those two, but oh well. Look for it – or rather, watch for the lack of iCat names coming from Apple in 2007.

TWO: Apple Touch Screens
The Newton was born before its time. There have been many a dark year (ok, at least a decade’s worth) that Apple has been absent from the touch screen market. It’s been another one of those rumors that won’t die. An Apple Tablet has to be in the works. I refuse to believe that such a product would continue to be overlooked by Steve and his people, as there’s just too much coolness waiting to be unleashed on that segment of the industry by our beloved Apple. So yes, I’m predicting that we’ll finally see what an Apple Tablet is going to look like, and will be wowed by the features and capabilities that haven’t made it to market on the Windows side of the coin. Likely we’ll see touch screen capabilities in near-future iPod releases.

Taking it a step further, I’ll be pleasantly not-too-surprised to see some of the cool Haptics technology make its way into the interface design of some of these products. If you’re not up to speed on Haptics, you may recall the viral-ish video from someplace like MIT that showed resizing of photos on screen by using your hands in a certain motion and touch sequence. Think Minority Report, but in 2007.

THREE: 10 Hour Power for MacBooks
So the 10 hours is just a number I put to it. But I believe we’ll hear an announcement – sometime in 2007 – from Apple that they’ll be moving their portable line of computers to fuel cells. We’ve been hearing about fuel cells for years now, but is sounds as if next year may be the year they make it big in the consumer market. I don’t necessarily expect to see fuel cells in 2007 Apple hardware, but I think we’ll hear something about a move to them, possibly in 2008.

Sure, this one’s probably on the outside of things, but I’m going big here. My MacBook rocks a pretty solid 3+ hours on a full battery, but I’m very ready for the day when it could run all day without a wall socket and MagSafe power cord.

What do you think we’ll see – or hear – from Apple next year? Think outside the box. Go big. But whatever you do, don’t comment with iPhone or I’ll be forced to nix your comment from the records…

  1. Apple has already used Cheetah as a codename for OS X 10.0.

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  2. Dang I thought it sounded familiar, but I wasn’t on the Apple bandwagon in those days. :D I’ll edit that little tidbit out….thanks for the catch

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  3. The only touchscreen device that I want to see from Apple is a $200 touchscreen remote for the iTV that combines Apple’s ease of use and design sensibilities with the programmability and code database of the Harmony remotes.

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  4. I predict that sometime in 2007, Apple will introduce a combination monitor/HDTV monitor (no ATSC tuner). I’m hoping for a 24-26″ Cinema Display with HDCP-DVI, HDMI and HDCP-Component, PIP and of course a built-in iSight for no more than $1000. It’s also very possible they may drop a 42-inch display for the iTV to connect to.

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  5. Surely we can’t stop before something called Lion ships?

    And, given that that would give us a Lion and a Tiger, well, perhaps we should switch to bears after that? ;-)

    reinharden

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  6. I think the phone idea is a bit off. I think it has to do something with iChat. A portable iChat machine, with video communication (iChat gets an video answering machine in Leopard right?) Probably some wifi connection, or maybe somekind of network of their own (probably not). It wil not run on the AIM network but on Jabber or something

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  7. Reinharden – Oh my!

    I like it. ;)

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  8. I’m still pulling for an Apple Tablet, and since the “i” moniker will be leaving I’m guessing it won’t be called an “iPad”.

    14″ or bigger legal sized ultra thin tablet running 10.5 with the newly enhanced pen based input system.

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  9. we will so not see apple’s tablet or fuel cell batteries in 2007.

    fuel cell may come eventually, but with the next product generation of laptops, which will not come out before 2008. it’s basic economic thinking – they want to get the most out of the current generation before making expenses introducing the next one.

    and it would be so not applish to come out with some kind of iMethanol extra batteries.

    and tablets… you see the reason why most of us don’t click around on tablets in offices is that they are not so convenient after all. touch screen is a fancy feature but not from the point of view of ergonomics.

    moving out from iNames is apparent though.

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  10. [...] The Apple Blog (these predictions are for all of 2007, not just MacWorld) [...]

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