WWDC '06 Predictions

I don't know if it's just me or does no one else think that announcements such as an iPod mobile phone, iTunes movie rental service or a new iPod nano would be simply inappropriate for the keynote of a "Worldwide Developer's Conference"? I mean, seriously, have you looked at the kind of news Apple has announced at the developer conferences before?

Since I have the pleasure of hosting about ten gigabytes of Apple keynotes on my hard drive, I can list these for you:

WWDC 2002
  • Apple previews "Jaguar" and declares the death of Mac OS 9
  • Apple previews iChat
  • Apple previews QuickTime 6
  • No product announcements
A few days later Apple announced the Xserve, although that news wasn't exactly shrouded in secrecy.

WWDC 2003
  • Apple previews "Panther"
  • Apple introduces Power Mac G5
  • Apple previews iChat AV (as a Panther technology) and iSight (as a companion product)
  • Apple introduces Safari 1.0
  • Apple introduces Xcode
  • Apple previews "Panther" Server
WWDC 2004
  • Apple previews "Tiger"
  • Apple introduces new Cinema Displays (20", 23", 30")
Hard to believe, but that's all Apple did for the 2004 WWDC. The Tiger demo constituted about 80% of the keynote.

WWDC 2005
  • Apple announces switch to Intel processors
  • No product announcements (unless you're counting iTunes 4.7 with Podcasting)
Now, WWDC keynotes, as you can see, have ranged from extremely product-announcement-laden ('03) to almost-no-new-products ('05). I mean, we didn't even have the demo of a new Mac OS X in 2005! Also, if you notice, no new iPods were ever announced at the WWDC, nor any kind of unrelated products with the exception of the iSight's product announcement, and honestly, it would have been simply stupid not to announce iSight alongside iChat AV.

If there has been a venue for announcing iPod and iPod-related products, it has been the less hardcore Macworld or an Apple Special Event. Let's look at the dates of iPod announcements, in reverse chronological order:
  • iPod with Video 5G - 10/2005
  • iPod nano - 9/2005
  • iPod with Color Display - 2/2005
  • iPod shuffle - 1/2005 (Tink! Macworld)
  • iPod photo - 10/2004
  • iPod with Click Wheel 4G - 7/2004
  • iPod mini (Second Gen.) - 1/2004 (Tink! Macworld)
  • iPod with Dock Connector 3G - 4/2003
  • iPod with Touch Wheel 2G - 7/2002
  • iPod with Scroll Wheel 1G - 10/2001
The astute reader might note the absence of the iPod mini (original). Apple did not specifically mention it on its Specifications website. Anyway, if you like pretty charts better, here:
This shows how generally spread out the iPod announcements are and how Apple doesn't worry about Macworlds and WWDCs when it comes to announcing them. Rather, it's more incidental when they happen to collide. Only two iPods were ever introduced at Macworld, none at WWDC and all the rest in Special Events. This does not make it impossible for an iPod to be released now; in fact, I expect they should release one on Monday or sometime soon thereafter because it's been a long time since they we've seen new 'Pods. However, all I'm trying to say is that "expecting" iPods at a WWDC is a bad idea.

The products that I think are more probably going to be announced are these:
  • New Macintosh workstation
  • New Cinema Displays to go with new workstation if they did a redesign of the case
  • New Macintosh server
  • Updated MacBook Pros with Merom chips (granted, this is more 'hoping' than 'expecting')
That's it. As for the rumours that other people are spreading, I don't really care about the iPhone, the iTunes Movie Store or any of that stuff. 

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