THE APPLE EVENT IS HERE! THE APPLE EVENT IS HERE! Things are going to start happening to me now! Putting aside “The Jerk” quotes for a moment, what can we expect from Tim Cook and his Apple cohorts today? Now with after events comments about all the things Apple got wrong as compared to what I said they would do!
Probably one of the worst kept secrets since guessing what Steve Jobs wardrobe was going to be on any given day (blue jeans, black turtleneck, white sneakers) is the iPad Mini being rolled out. Pretty much a given considering it’s all various blogs and podcasts (including the MyMac Podcast) seem to be able to say any with any certainty. The only unknown seems to be price. OK I can play that game too. Apple will price the base model aggressively (not so much in the agressive price category). It won’t be cheaper or the same as the Kindle and whatever “me too” Samsung device is at $199 but as it will be considered a premium product no one really should expect it to be. Also, this isn’t Apple reacting to sales of smaller tablets; it’s an extension of what they have done in the past with other Apple products. The iPod spun off the Mini, the Nano, and the Shuffle. In some ways the iPhone really spun off the iPod Touch, not the iPod line. Chances are if the iPod Hi Fi (best left forgotten) or iPod socks (shudder) had been hugely successful, we’d have different product segments for those too. This is what big, successful companies do. Or at least those who aren’t grasping for the crumbs left by those big, successful companies do (something tells me at $199 or less, they’ll still sell a lot of tablets).
Apple doesn’t take the shotgun approach that so many others do. Like the Cylons they have a plan and so far, it’s worked well over the last ten years. Nearly every product Apple has out now has defined the segments those products are in. The iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, even the Macintosh back in 1984 is what the rest of the market has strived to make not long after Apple released them. That’s not to say that there haven’t been a few clunkers along the path, sometimes with the best of intentions, but usually because the tech inside was too early for what they wanted it to do. The Newton is a good example of that. But much like I do on the podcast I’m going off topic (SHOCKING I know). Back to the Apple event…
Here are my predictions. Yes Virginia there will be an iPad Mini (or whatever they end up calling it). Here are my predicted price points:
iPad Mini 8GB WiFi $249 (no 8GB model)
iPad Mini 16G WiFi $299 (I’m off by $30)
iPad Mini 32GB WiFi $399 (I’m off by $30…again)
iPad Mini 64GB WiFi $529 (Didn’t think they’d release this one at all)
I don’t think for this first round there will be an iPad Mini 3/4G (wrong, Wrong, WRONG! $459, $559, $659). I think Apple will keep it simple and assume that most people getting one will be for the home with established WiFi networks or schools with the same (Yeah right). The education market will go crazy over the iPad Mini as it’s nearly perfect for book size and won’t be in danger of becoming obsolete like so many of the Android tablets are, abandoned and forlorn because they didn’t sell as well as expected. You’ll notice there’s no 64GB model in my predictions? I think Apple believes if you need that much storage, you want a larger display and $399 is about as high as I think the market will bear for a smaller device (Can I go back in time and pretend I didn’t say this? Please?). No Retina Display either (FINALLY got something right) and it wouldn’t surprise me Apple doesn’t put their latest processor in it as well (And they didn’t. It’s an A5 chip). The form factor will remain like it’s big brother at 4:3 (feeling smarter now). Just makes sense as it will require little in the way for developers to make Apps for it.
So what else might we expect? I think a revised industrial strength iPad (the 9.7-inch model) with a Lightning connector but not much else changed will be announced (Well, except for the faster chip that blows the 3rd gen away from only 6 months ago…not that I’m bitter or anything). No need to speculate much beyond that, but it also just makes sense that they’d like to move the whole line to the new connector as much as possible. New iMacs with a slightly different case design wouldn’t be a surprise. Thinner I’m sure though it really doesn’t need it (and thinner it is, Does anyone really care how much thinner iMacs get? Optical drive is gone too which I didn’t predict here but have said on the podcast). A new Mac Mini with a different case design and moving to Quad-Core chips across the line at the same price points as before (almost got it, the low end Mini is still dual-core). For those with lighter needs, tomorrow would be a great time to hit the refurb store for those Dual-Core I-5s and I-7 Minis at a terrific price. Use those savings to beef up the RAM and you’ll have one great little Mac that will last you for years without the premium cost. Same with the iMacs. I expect a Quad-Core last gen 21.5-inch iMac will be under $1000 (yep).
iTunes 11 will also be announced and I think Apple will finally address how convoluted, confusing, and slow iTunes has become. Or at least I’m hoping that’s what they’ll do. (No new iTunes so it’s still the same bloated pig it was before YAY!)
No love for the Mac Pro this go around (Sad face for Mac Pros ). That will be coming in 2013 (which I predict will happen within 12 months! (I stand FIRMLY behind this prediction)) and I don’t think we’ll see Retina 13-inch MacBook Pros for now either (well you can’t win them all…or sometimes any).
That’s what I’m guessing for this announcement. In just a few hours we’ll see how well I did, but naturally I think I’m SPOT ON! Oh and of course Apple will announce that they will allow Mac Clones again too…with rainbows and Unicorn tears.