When the crescendo of rumors about upcoming Apple products gets really deafening, it’s usually a sign that the company is about to hold a press event to unveil something (or several somethings). And it’s true again: Journalists have received invitations for an event at Apple in Cupertino next Tuesday, and to nobody’s surprise, that event involves notebooks:
The rumor mill on new Apple notebooks has been running for a remakably long time–years, actually, since the company’s portable lineup hasn’t changed much in recent years, with the notable exception of the MacBook Air. (The current MacBook Pro design has its roots in the 2003 PowerBooks, and the MacBook is more than two years old.)
We dont know whether next Tuesday’s event involves one new model or a refresh of the entire line, but I suspect most Apple watchers would guess that it’ll be fairly sweeping, with replacements for most or all of the current line. (Even the Air might get a CPU upgrade or other incremental tweaks.)
Herewith, some of the rumors and speculation out there about possible Apple portables:
–Apple has invented a way to carve notebook cases out of a block of aluminum with lasers and water jets. I don’t have a clue whether this is true, but it’s a cool idea.
–Apple will release an $800 laptop. That’s what Duncan Riley’s Inquisitr is reporting today. You always have to be careful about rumors that involve Apple making cheap computers, since it has such a long history of not going anywhere near the bargain basement. But in the Windows world, $800 is cheap but not incredibly cheap, and Apple could likely make an $800 MacBook that felt like a Mac and still left room for a profit margin. Perhaps it’ll be much like the current plastic-cased MacBook, with the $1100 price point going to a new mid-range MacBook with an aluminum case.
—Apple will put the 13-inch MacBook into an aluminum case. Hey, that’s a long-standing rumor, too! One which possibly lines up nicely with the $800 one. (I’m assuming that an $800 Mac is going to be swathed in plastic.)
–Apple will release MacBooks with touchscreens that have LCDs built in. Another rumor that’s been bubbling around for awhile. If it involves tiny color LCDs, it sounds really expensive. But maybe it’s something like Synaptics’ dual-mode touchpad, with controls that light up on demand.
—Apple will upgrade the MacBook Air. With a Penryn CPU and bigger hard drives. This will happen sooner or later, and it may happen next week. If it does, it’ll likely be the first product Steve Jobs talks about, before moving on to discussion of portables that are more significantly new.
–Apple will release a tablet computer. I’m doubtful about this one–Windows-based tablets rank among the most over-hyped flops of recent years, and I don’t think any tablet computer will be a hit without handwriting recognition that’s close to perfect. But lots of people have said Apple is definitely working on one. You never know–although a super-slim tablet that runs the iPhone’s version of OS X rather than full Mac OS X might be more intriguing than a more standard MacBook tablet.
–Apple will build WiMax wireless capability into notebooks. Actually, this was rumor/speculation about last January’s Macworld Expo that turned out to be false. But with Sprint’s rollout of its Xohm network happening and multiple major laptop manufacturers releasing WiMax models as we speak–here’s Toshiba’s–the timing might make sense. But Apple hasn’t even built 3G wireless into a portable yet, and I have a hard time seeing it doing so right now given that Xohm is only live in Baltimore.
–Apple will release Macs with Blu-Ray. Really old rumor; will surely come true eventually. I haven’t seen anyone say that Blu-Ray is imminent lately, but it would certainly be a logical feature for a top-of-the-line MacBook Pro.
Whew! That’s a lot of rumors. If all of them come true on Tuesday I’ll be flabbergasted…but it would be equally surprising if none of them did. I’ll be in Cupertino for the event, and will report back with the facts next Tuesday morning.
Until then, how about a T-Poll?