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The Back Page
by Bryan Chaffin

MACWORLD Predictions: What We Said vs. What Really Happened
July 23rd, 1999

Two weeks ago I wrote a column predicting what would and would not be announced at MACWORLD. At that time I promised to grade myself on how those predictions worked out and that is just what this column is all about. I will also take a look at some of The Mac Observer’s other MACWORLD related rumors and see how we did on those as well.

The Big One: I predicted that the P1 would be announced and that it would be called the iBook.

Reality: Well, this was a no-brainer of course. The P1 was announced as expected, but I am pleased that I nailed the name. More specifically, I was pleased to see Steve Jobs use the same reasoning I used to explain why it would be called the iBook. There was no prescience here, so it must be that great brains think alike. :-)

Other related P1 predictions: This is more of a rumor coup for The Mac Observer. We posted a list of P1 specs as handed to us by someone who had seen a spec sheet, or at least someone who told us they had seen a spec sheet. Since one particular item from this spec sheet was independently confirmed by us in way that had nothing to do with rumors, we decided that our source was legitimate and printed the list. Those specs included:

  • A weight that was higher than the Lombard, but lower than the Wall Street
  • A width ranging from 1-2"
  • Ports that included USB, 10/100 Mbps Ethernet, 56K modem, 11 Mbps wireless card that worked up to 150’, audio out
  • AC Power with 6 hour battery life
  • 24X CD-ROM
  • 12" TFT 800 X 600 (with 640 X 480 a scalable option)
  • Two or three colors that we withheld (but were given to us as Tangerine and Blueberry).
  • The lack of a latch
  • Bundled software

Reality: Needless to say, our source was in fact legitimate. Every single one of those specs was correct except the scalable monitor resolution. This included the colors which we thought were wrong (and therefore withheld it), but we did print the fact that there would be two colors.

Please note that this even includes the specs on what we now know is called AirPort. If you wanted to know what the P1 was going to include before it was released, you had to come to The Mac Observer to get it.

Faster iMacs: I predicted that we would see a speed bump to the iMac along with other possible improvements and maybe even those elusive color changes.

Reality: Doh! No such luck. I was flat out wrong on this one with no ifs, ands, or buts. Apple is due to announce some kind of bump to the iMac however. Look to see that at Seybold or in a press release.

Apple Launching An ISP I said that that while it was possible that Apple could be planning this, that it would not be mentioned at MACWORLD.

Reality: I was right; there was absolutely no mention of Apple launching an ISP, though it still may be a possibility, I think these rumors stemmed from what we found out was called QTV (QuickTime TV). Many rumors stem from some grain of truth, in fact, many people might say that most rumors have a grain of truth to them. In this case, I really think that the QTV plans are what made their way to the rumor mills as "Apple is launching an ISP."

The reason why these two concepts are related is because of the deal with Akamai. Akamai has a worldwide network of servers that Apple will be using to mirror QuickTime TV content so that viewers can get a server that is relatively close when viewing streaming content. As an aside, that same network could conceivably turn into an ISP backbone.

Faster Blue & Whites: I said we would not see a speed bump to the Blue & White series.

Reality: In all lack of modesty, I was right here too.

Apple4Sale: I said that whether or not there were plans to sale Apple, we would not see any such announcement at MACWORLD.

Reality: There was, of course, no mention of Apple being sold. It is still possible that such a deal is being worked on, and Apple is more attractive than ever from a financial/Wall Street perspective. I just don’t see Apple or Mr. Jobs heading in that direction right now.

Miscellaneous: I will admit this is vague, but I said that we might get a couple of surprises.

Reality: We did in fact get a couple of surprises, although one of them we actually broke ahead of time without realizing it. We just didn’t see the importance of the wireless specs in the above-mentioned spec sheet for the P1. I am being honest in that. Had we looked closely enough at what that spec sheet held in the wireless realm, we may have put 2 and 2 together. As it is, that one slipped by and AirPort came as a surprise to most of us.

QuickTime TV was also a surprise, though once again, I think it was the source of the Apple ISP rumors.

Financial: Wes George, the Apple Trader, said that this could be the MACWORLD that bucked recent trends for Apple stock to rise before MACWORLD only to have it fall right after Steve Jobs’ successful Keynote address.

Reality: He was correct. Apple rose almost 2 points the day of the keynote. The stock did fall the following day, but that was tied to Alan Greespan’s briefing to Congress that warned of an impending interest rate hike and an overvalued stock market, more than a retreat from Apple itself. As of this writing, the stock is back up again today.

Summary

7 right out of 8 predictions, including iBook specs, is not so bad. In fact, it’s pretty damned good. What is going to be hard is figuring out what comes next. The vision as laid out in public by Mr. Jobs when he first took the reigns at Apple and the time since then has largely been fulfilled. Apple has their 4 product lines and is financially fit. The stock is doing well and things just look plain rosy. Not a bad spot to be in, but tough for rumor mongering prognosticators (such as myself on occasion). And that’s a good thing.

Your comments and hate mail can be sent to backpage@macobserver.com.


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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