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On The Flip Side
by Michael Munger

Something Big Is Brewing For The WWDC
April 5th, 2000

Folks, I have the impression that something big is brewing in Cupertino. That naughty little devil is on my shoulder, whispering that we are bound to hear big news from Steve Jobs at the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) from May 15 to May 19.

I base my assumption on three criteria.

First, we haven't heard any buzz from Cupertino since MACWORLD Tokyo. Sure, Apple's communications department didn't suddenly disappear and things have happened, but we haven't seen any product line changes or noteworthy announcement since then.

My second argument is that we haven't seen anything big in a while. After the iBook in July at MACWORLD New York, the G4 in late August at Seybold, the iMac DV in October during an Apple event... we haven't see anything new in a while. After all, the latest hardware improvements and the G4 speed bump were just natural (especially since Apple was catching up with the latter) and the iBook SE isn't much of a change when compared to the examples I gave above.

We're used to something big every once in a while and we haven't seen anything really big since October 5, which means almost 6 months as we print this. Sure, we were shown Mac OS X, but that doesn't really count in my opinion since it wasn't actually released. It was really just Apple's way to calm its users down and make them hungry for the next operating system.

So, we're due for our regular announcement, and we haven't seen anything big in a while... those are the normal conditions for Steve Jobs to impress us with a keynote.

But wait, there's more.

Have you noticed how hard Apple has pushed to raise the interest in this year's WWDC? They started with a lot of advertising. In fact, you may be seeing a sidebar ad featuring the WWDC event on this very page. Apple is advertising it aggressively.

There is also the WWDC Door Prize Extravaganza that the company has announced. 450 door prizes a day, after promising 100 only a week earlier. This includes a full page of advertising in MACWORLD magazine and MacHome journal. That's impressive bait that certainly raises the stakes for this event. And then they say "Be sure to watch this page over the coming weeks ... we'll be adding to it at a fast and furious pace." Whoa, I thought there were already a LOT of prizes offered! All I was able to find about last year's conference was 54 Macs given away during drawings.

In addition, Apple uses Mac OS X ("Immerse yourself into Aqua!") as a teaser to get as much attention as possible for the conference.

Correct me if I am wrong, but the WWDC is a known annual event that gathers a lot of developers - they are numerous these days - and catches the online user's attention easily. The fact that Apple pushes it so much makes me think that something's up. Something worthwhile. Something that could knock our socks off.

Ok genius, what will happen?

Well, I like to think that it would be something entirely new and unexpected. We all know that's the way Apple thinks. Apple likes to foil the pundits and introduce something that nobody predicted.

Of course, you can count on Jobs to discuss Mac OS X. After all, the audience at the WWDC is the developer community and Mac OS X represents a major migration for them. It's as logical as it was to show the G4 at Seybold, where the participants come from the design and publishing circles.

I'll go ahead and state for the record that I am hoping that we will see something entirely new and never seen before. Apple can produce more than hardware and a look back at all of Jobs' keynotes in the last couple of years will prove me right.

This remains speculation. For those keeping score after my recent criticism of rumor mongering, I'm not spreading rumors or pretending to know something that comes from "reliable sources within Apple." The present state of affairs with the platform tells me that we will come back from the WWDC with something exciting. Otherwise, Steve Jobs will have to make your eyes literally pop out at MACWORLD New York!

Your comments are welcomed.

Michael Munger is a French Canadian living in Montreal. He discovered the Mac in 1994 while studying journalism, the profession he loves and practices. He also studied history and communications. In addition to his work at The Mac Observer, he authors the iBasics tutorial column at Low End Mac, and cofounded MacSoldiers in 1998.

You can find more about him at his personal Web site.

You are welcome to send me your comments or you can post them below.

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