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The Back Page
by Bryan Chaffin

Grading My MACWORLD Predictions
January 14th, 2000

Boy howdy. MACWORLD was awesome. Record attendance, lots of stuff, more FireWire products than you can shake a stick at, and all manner of awesome things. My predictions were not so awesome, though I think it safe to say I did a tad better than some. :-) As promised, this is the week that I grade myself and own up to my own bad calls. I am afraid I had a couple of them.

Without further ado, I will list my predictions from my pre-MACWORLD column along with the reality of what actually happened.

New 17" iMacs

Rumors were rampant that a new 17" iMac would be released, and I said this was absurd. I was right. In fact, I believe I said that those who said this may have smoked too much crack. I stand by that. It is just too soon for a new iMac when Apple is focusing on Desktop Video production and iMovie and the accompanying iMac DV. Apple made no new hardware announcements at all, much to many a Mac user's chagrin.

Bottom Line: Bryan was right.

A New PowerBook

I said that Apple would release a new PowerBook. I was wrong. The Register and a couple of other rumor sites have said in the last week that a problem with the next update to Mac OS 9 may have been the culprit, and that Pismo was in fact scheduled to be announced until the last minute. I am not sure how much stock I put into this, but I really expected a new PowerBook as the current one is long in the tooth. Supposedly Macworld Magazine is scrambling to come up with a new cover for the next issue because the current one has the now unreleased PowerBook plastered all over it (Apple works much more closely with Macworld than they do the online publications). Sucks to be them.

Interestingly, I said in that column that I trusted Jason O'Grady's reports that Pismo (the code name for the next PowerBook) would be released and I received all kinds of mail telling me that trust was misplaced. Hmmm...

For the record, I think we will see the new PowerBook at MACWORLD Tokyo.

Bottom Line: Bryan was wrong.

A New iBook

I was officially wishy-washy on this prediction. I should have stuck to my guns, but I will own up to the lack of conviction now. There was no new iBook of any sort. I think we will see an update to the iBook at MACWORLD Tokyo also. The Japanese have totally taken to the iBook, so what better venue? The timing will be right too, in that the current model will be about 8 months old at that time.

Bottom Line: Bryan was wishy-washy and can't claim to be right or wrong.

Apple's Internet Strategy

I said Apple was going to announce something, but I had few specifics. I claimed there would be a new dial-up service. This was kind of true, but only in that Apple was going to plunk US$200 million into Earthlink. I said there would be a new portal and Mac.com is that. I really feel I can only get half-credit on this one though. Mac.com is really just an e-mail service right now with most of the new portal-like services going to apple.com. I also said that Apple would announce something that was really cool and totally unexpected. I think that the iTools package fits into that category, along with iCards, and the more important iReview.

Speaking of which, what is up with the lack of sites under the "Computers" category?

Bottom Line: Bryan was close enough to being right for government work.

Faster PowerMac G4s

Alright, I am stunned on this one. I said Apple would announce faster PowerMac G4s. They didn't. I am very surprised about this as Apple lags so far behind the Wintel world in the MHz wars. With Motorola and IBM supposedly back on track with 500 MHz G4s, I really thought we would get the originally announced speeds of 400 MHz, 450 MHz, and 500 MHz models. Nope. Not a thing in sight. Apple really needs to move to faster processors as soon as they can. I imagine at this point that any announcement will be handled via press release instead of a Media Event. If I am wrong on that too, then lets look for something at MACWORLD Tokyo.

Bottom Line: Bryan was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Rebranding the Apple Brand

There were stories of Apple rebranding their image in some way circulating at some of the rumor sites. My thoughts on this from my predictions column (and I quote):

Whatever. This is nothing but more crack being smoked by those whose claim to fame is making up crap.

The bottom line: nope, nada, nothing.

Hmmm... Looks like I was right. 'nuff said.

Bottom Line: Bryan was right.

But What About The Things You Missed?

I kind of missed a little thing called Mac OS X. It completely escaped my radar screen. There were several Observers who wrote me asking about this after my column came out, so it didn't escape everyone's radar. This was something I am glad to be wrong about as Apple needed to make this announcement. Mac OS X is going to be an awesome tool in Apple's arsenal.

The Bottom Line: Bryan completely missed this.

The Tally

Right Wrong Wishy-Washy Utterly Missed
  • No New iMacs
  • New Internet Strategy
  • Rebranding the Apple Image
  • New PowerBooks
  • Faster PowerMac
  • New iBooks models
  • Mac OS X

This is not my best performance in the prognostication business. I will bone up a bit more before I do it again. Thanks to everyone for the tons of letters on this issue. I think I enjoy writing these grading columns after I have been totally correct, but I will just have to take my lumps on this one. :-)

Your comments are welcomed.


began using Apple computers in 1983 in a high school BASIC programming class. He started using Macs in 1990 when the Kinko's guy taught him how to use Aldus PageMaker, finally buying a Power Computing Power 100 in 1995. Today, Bryan is the Editor of The Mac Observer, and has contributed to the print versions of MacAddict and MacFormat (UK).

You can send your comments directly to him, or you can also post your comments below.

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