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Macworld San Francisco 2006 Rumor Roundup

With Macworld San Francisco (MWSF) quickly approaching, the Mac rumor scene has been buzzing with rumors and reports. As usual, MacRumors provides this Rumor Roundup as a summary of major rumors circulating around the Mac Web before the big event. In last year's roundup we discussed Flash Based iPods (-> iPod Shuffle), New Apple Apps (-> iWork), and a $499 Headless iMac (-> Mac mini) during the pre-show roundup.

Intel Macs

The big news this year was, of course, Apple's announcement that the Macintosh will be moving to Intel processors. Understandably all eyes are on this possibility at this year's Macworld, despite official promises that the first Intel Macs would be shipping by mid 2006.

Interestingly, the first rumors and speculation about the Intel Macs came from Intel's processor roadmap. Immediately following the announcement, MacCentral sources pointed to Intel's upcoming low-power dual core Yonah processor as the likely candidate for the first of the Intel Macs.

First actual hints at a timeframe came in November with an early report from Appleinsider that the first Intel Macs would be appearing "much sooner" than mid 2006.

There has since been a flurry of disjointed rumors about various Intel Mac models appearing in January -- Mac mini (Forbes), iMac (Appleinsider), iBook (ThinkSecret).

Amongst them, however, ThinkSecret appeared most confident with a report from "reliable sources" that Apple is planning on introducing both Intel iBooks and Mac minis at MWSF 2006.

The new iBook is expected to be a widescreen model with a 13.3" screen 1280x720 screen. This correlates with an earlier report from Appleinsider noting a similar 13" widescreen look to the upcoming iBooks. And indeed our Buyers Guide shows that the iBooks have had the longest lead time since their last update.

Meanwhile, the Mac mini is expected to evolve into a digital media hub with support for DVR, an iPod Dock as well as an updated Front Row media application. We've also received hints that Apple is planning on adopting Intel's Viiv platform which promises to help provide much this functionality.

iPod

With back to back releases of the iPod nano and the 5G iPod before the 2005 shopping season, there are few expectations for updated iPods in January.

Only the iPod shuffles are expected to be updated, but with few details on the changes.


iLife '06

Apple typically updates their iLife suite of applications each year at Macworld San Francisco. This year appears to be no different after a small mistake on Apple's website Thursday morning. Apple's site revealed links to iLife '06 as well as a new application called iWeb.

There's been very little information about upcoming iApps from Apple this rumor season, but Appleinsider claims that the new application will be a Web design application with "easy drag-and-drop capability for a variety of Web-optimized content and media types."

Other?
There has been surprisingly little buzz about brand new products from Apple. One potentially interesting rumor of an Airport Express for Video appeared in early October and was coupled to an accurate report of the 5G iPod. Though no further rumors about this product have since surfaced, it would fit in conveniently with a media center Mac mini.

Finally, Appleinsider also reported that Apple is planning new iPod "companion" products -- one of which will be an iPod Boombox unlike "anything Apple has released in the past".

Coverage

Apple will not be providing a live Quicktime stream of the event. Instead a replay will be posted following the keynote address. MacRumors.com will be providing live coverage if at all possible.

In the meantime, you can read an insiders perspective on Steve Jobs' lead up to the keynote and all the preparation required:

Steve starts his preparation for a keynote weeks in advance, reviewing all the products and technologies he might include.