Unlikely. There are many other likely contenders for Apple‘s final goodbye to Macworld Expo. A number of rumours as well as expectations from enthusiasts on what Apple could announce have being doing the rounds for the past few weeks, including some really weird and outrageous ones.
Personally, I have mixed emotions about Apple’s participation at Macworld. I am a recent adapter to Apple’s products and although I was aware of Apple’s presence at Macworld, I was a tad bit ignorant about the fact that new products are announced in every event. I have only realised the importance of these events to Mac enthusiasts after my last Apple purchase.
I got my first 5th generation, uninsured white 30 GB iPod in August 2006 which was stolen from right under my nose after 11 months of life. Within a week of loosing it I replaced it with another iPod and a month after my purchase, Apple restocked the entire range of iPods with a newer version. Then in December 2007 I bought an iPod Touch which was upgraded with new features in February 2008. In October 2008, I treated myself to a Macbook Pro, only to see a newer Mac come out a few weeks later. I have been keen on buying an iPhone for a while now, but I had decided to hang on with my otherwise brilliant Blackberry Pearl until the Macworld Expo. Just when I was adapting to the Apple Community, Apple decides to bunk Macworld.
Strategically, the reasons Apple’s decision to move away from Macworld Expo could be various. While Steve Jobs’ health has often been rumoured as one, I would like to believe that trade shows simply do not fit into Apple’s future vision. Also, it has always affected the company’s sales during the peak Christmas period, with a vast number of consumers staying away from Christmas purchases with an expectation of an announcement of improved Apple products during the event. The company has a loyal customer base and the social influence of its customers is unmatched in comparison to any other product in any niche. As per the company’s own statement, it is reaching out to customers in more ways than ever before and probably doesn’t need trade shows to strengthen its brand. Apple is a financially sound company with large cash reserves and has done exceedingly well even under the current economic conditions world over.
However, given the turbulent and dynamic environment, it needs to reassess it’s strategies and I guess by pulling out of Macworld is one of the many decisions the company had to make. As an event, Macworld, supported by customary keynote by Steve Jobs, offered an incredible opportunity for third party developers and vendors to showcase their products and Apple’s decision seems to be severe blow to their prospects.
Also, it is a huge disappointment for thousands of Apple fans who have faithfully clocked in hundreds to thousands of miles for the event with high expectations. Coming back to Apple’s final participation in Macworld 2009, the company has confirmed that Phillip Schiller, Senior Vice President of Marketing will be stepping into Steve Jobs’ shoes for the keynote. So would this mean that there are no likely announcements for new products? There could be two ways about this. Either there is no product or there is something as a parting gift for all Apple disciples. If it is the latter, which of Apple’s products are on line for an upgrade? A couple of my personal choices are listed below based on rumours circulating in the web world.
The first of the biggest rumours hitting technology publication sites and blogs on the webworld is Apple’s purported entry into the low cost mobile industry with the launch of a 4GB Apple iPhone. It could well turn out to be a killer move for Apple as it could end up selling a lot more mobile phones than any of the industry leaders. Despite Nokia, Motorola, Samsung & Sony Ericsson’s iPhone like phones, they all tend to be in expensive brackets, which has to bought with a contract to offset the costs. A 4 GB iPhone could give iPhone access to the lucrative PrePay mobile phones market.
My personal favourite is a Product (Red) branded iPhone. (Red) is an initiative by U2 front man Bono and activist Bobby Shriver, to raise money for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. If announced, I might even forego my existing contract with Vodafone and move over to O2. Product (Red), despite it’s criticisms, for the campaign has cost nearly five times more than what it has raised so far, it appeals to me for its vision as well as it’s value as a brand.
Either that, or a 32 GB iPhone with HD capabilities. If announced, that’ll surely rock the event. Clearly, Apple already has a 32 GB iPod touch which is based on a similar NAND flash based memory used in iPhone. However, iPod Touch uses two units of 16 GB rather than a single unit used in iPhone, making the iPod Touch slightly bulkier than the iPhone. However, in the recent days, Toshiba, Samsung and other companies have released 32GB single unit NAND memories, which fits in easily into an iPhone. Technically, a 32GB iPhone is not far off. Just a matter of how long it would take for Apple to come out with one. I am sure to go either on a (red) iPhone or a 32 GB iPhone. It would be an incredible bonus if Apple launchs a 32 GB Product (Red) iphone.
Anyway, there are a number of other rumours, including an updated version of a Mac Mini, a new iMac and an extended range of Apple Cinema displays, as well as an improved version of Leopard, Apple iLife or even Snow Leopard.
As a parting note, the legacy of Apple brand continues to grow (literally) in uncharted territories. A Japanese farmer has grown a new kind of Fuji apples with Apple and iPod logos inscribed on them, by using stickers to shield the sunlight. More about that here and there’s a picture of Apple branded apples below (Courtesy: Gizmodo).