Apple's March 21 Event Will Have a Surprise Announcement

For several weeks now, just about every Apple observer has written the same thing about Apple's March 21 event: A new 4-inch iPhone (iPhone SE? iPhone 6c?) and a new 9.7-inch iPad. No new Apple Watch 2. But if that's all we get (and don't get), the event is going to be fairly boring. What might Apple have up its sleeve? I have an idea.


First off, here's the best article I've found that explains what we'll probably see on March 21st. From the awesome Andrew Cunningham at ars technica, "Let us loop you in: What to expect from Apple’s March 21 event."

However, I believe that Apple just about has to include a discussion of the MacBook line. Andrew echoes the rumors that an update for the lower end MacBooks and MacBook Airs that would use recently available Skylake processors is unlikely. "Chances are slim."

I think the source leaks to that effect are a deception by Apple. The capitulation to the rumors overlooks the notion that Apple doesn't need to have product on hand, ready to ship on March 21. Apple always has the liberty to make an announcement and ship a little later. Not too much later.

The stronger Skylake CPUs for the MacBook Pros won't be available until later in the year. So, yes, no new MacBook Pros. And yet....

One scenario that I like is to announce an updated MacBook and simply announce lower prices for the MacBook Air with a mind towards better competing in the low end and K-12 education markets.

It makes no sense to me to update the MacBook Air line, keep the price artificially high, and ignore the idea that the MacBook (and MacBook Pros) are the future. After all, if you watched Tim Cook being interviewed by ABC's David Muir, it was a (apparently space gray) MacBook on his desk.

Also, there's been a flood of new USB-C peripherals lately. The viability of the MacBook is now enormously greater than when it first shipped last year. Just like the original MacBook Air which had too few USB ports, if Apple were to add a second USB-C port on the right side of the MacBook and speed up the processor, they would fly off the shelves at light speed. And, recall, the original MacBook has always been insanely popular, selling very, very well. This would put the 2016 MacBook in hyperdrive.

And so my money's on all the items discussed in the ars article, but I'm looking for a new, exciting MacBook that will provide a little spice and a pleasant surprise over and above what we've been (yawn) expecting.

Will Apple add Rose Gold? I'm not going that far!

Next page: The Tech News Debris for the Week of March 14th. By your command! Google's robots self destruct.

Page 2 - The Tech News Debris for the Week of March 14th


I'm always amused by technology myths. But I think I understand how they happen. My theory is that people grapple with complex ideas, create faulty mental models, and share them with friends. Like the party game of telling a joke down the line of people to see how it comes out the other end, technology myths morph in a community until they take on the cloak of a comfortable semi-technical-euphemism and apparent common sense. Then, a company like Apple struggles to set the record straight, and we don't even believe the technical explanation. And so, here are some of those. Enjoy "11 common tech myths you should stop believing today."

Jason Hiner at ZDNet reiterates something I"ve been saying for awhile. Apple is a very big company, and so it's product line has to achieve new goals: appeal to a broader range of people and plug marketplace holes to block competitors. This isn't a new idea. Apple used that strategy with the iPod over a decade ago. The compay flooded the market with ever smaller, better iPods at a dizzying pace. No competitor could catch up technically or secure a more competitive price point. Yet, the lessons of the iPod that are still being used today are annoying to some people who watch Apple's iPhone strategy. Here you go (and ignore the title.) "How Apple became Samsung, and why Steve might have approved."

Next. At Computerworld, Jonny Evans writes:

For sure Apple isn’t making every PC, but it seems to be making all the ones that matter, at least reading between the lines of the Adobe Digital Index team’s latest Apple Announcement Report.

The report includes data on Global Desktop OS Visits, and these seem to show that OS X users now account for more site visits than Windows users. Now this could be a statistical anomaly as it is only evident in the first few weeks of the year, but given Apple’s continued growth in terms of its slice of overall PC sales, it seems credible.

For more on his intriguing discussion, see: "Adobe data hints Apple has won the PC wars."

Google has been known recently for experiment with robots. The latest example of that was the notable, what I call "Cylon" video of Boston Dynamics Atlas picking up a 10 pound box. (Boston Dynamics is, for now, owned by Google.)

Demos like that makes it appear that Google has been taking a strong lead in the technology of commercial and then personal robots. And we asked, where is Apple in all this? Perhaps Apple believes the order should be 1) Electric car, 2) Autonomous electric car, 3) personal robots. Or maybe Apple isn't interested in robots at all for cultural, legal and/or technical reasons.

Now we've learned, thanks to Lance Ulanoff at Mashable that maybe Google's experimental work with robots, in general, hasn't been going so well. That demo video of Atlas was, apparently, a last gasp PR stunt designed to entice a buyer. But consider. If you can push the poor thing over with a hockey stick, why would the U.S. Army or even Amazon be interested?

In any case, the long, sad, inside story of how things have gone with Google and robots follows. It's a sobering tale. "Google backs away from human-looking robots."

On the other hand, as I've said before, if you plan to support yourself in college delivering pizzas, you may want to reconsider where the industry is headed with other kinds of robots. See: "Domino’s is trialling an autonomous pizza delivery robot."

Better brush up on your iOS and Swift coding instead.


Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro's observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed by a discussion of articles that didn't make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holidays.