WWDC 2003 Rumor Roundup (970s, PowerBooks, Panther, etc...)

The rumors have been flying as Apple's 2003 World Wide Developers Conference approaches.

With only a week left before the event (6/23/2003), MacRumors.com provides this Rumor Roundup as a summary of the major rumors circulating around the Mac Web. This roundup is subject to change... as last minute details tend to leak out in the days prior to the event.

So stay tuned, but in the meanwhile, here's what to expect...

The Processor Announcement

The first indication of something brewing appeared in August 2002 with a topic description for the 2002 Microprocessor Forum quietly appearing on their site. This blurb described the introduction of "a new 64-bit PowerPC microprocessor" by IBM at the October, 2002 conference. This description, as well as a description of a 160-instruction vector unit, spawned speculation that this new processor was destined for use by Apple.

When the IBM 970 details emerged in October 2002, it became clear that the new chip was perfect for use in future Macs -- with its 32-Bit PPC backward compatibility and Altivec compatibility.

Amidst rumors and speculation of the 970's future use, Apple announced that this year's World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) would be postponed from May, 2003 to June, 2003 in order to provide developers a preview of Panther (Mac OS X 10.3). Rumors, however, quickly emerged that claimed WWDC's delay was due to the ongoing development of PowerPC 970-based PowerMacs.

PowerMacs

Most of the early rumors regarding upcoming PowerMac updates originated from MacBidouille.com -- a french news and rumors website. This MacBidouille rumor summary provides details of their reports as of May 7, 2003.

While initial reports indicated a demoing of the 970 PowerMacs at WWDC, later reports claimed that mass production of the 970 PowerMacs had begun with plans of immediate availability at WWDC. Another site (MacWhispers) also claims that 970 PowerMacs are currently in production. Contrary to both of these accounts, however, are reliable reports that 970 PowerMacs will not be ready for shipping by WWDC.

Even if not shipping, PowerMac 970 technology introduction and demonstrations are expected at WWDC.

Motherboard

Motherboard technologies in the new machines described by MacBidouille include Hypertransport, DDR400, USB 2.0, and AGP 8x. These specs have been corroborated by other rumors, as well as a CNet report.

Case

Hints of case designs have emerged, with the most detailed description arising from a cryptic Appleinsider report. The new machines are described as "silver and graphite in color" with "4 handles but they are thinner and less extrusive" and "the front of the machine is flourished by this mesh metallic surface".

PowerBooks

Speculation and rumors about 15" PowerBook updates have been ongoing since the introduction of the 12" and 17" PowerBooks in January, leaving the 15" PowerBook's design a bit dated in comparison. (PowerPage.org, Kodawarisan, Page 2). The most ambitious report comes from MacWhispers with claims that 970 PowerBooks are in production at this time. In contrast, MacBidouille expects a 2004 target date for 970 based PowerBooks and historically has been a more reliable source of information than MacWhispers.

Panther

Surpisingly few details about Panther have been leaked over the past few months, despite being the only confirmed product demonstration at WWDC. eWeek provided some details on Panther, describing features putting the "User at the Center" of the OS. Features confirmed/described include a Fast User Switching feature (MacOSRumors), Piles (Patent), and more database structures to the filesystem (MacBidouille).

Other features described by Looprumors include increased use of Metal, Themes, iChat 2.0, Safari GM, and other minor improvements... along with doubts that Piles will make it into the complete Panther.

Other Info

- WWDC's Keynote will be shown at U.S. Apple Stores with theatres. No word yet on a webstream.

- New iChat, and Apple Camera reports from ThinkSecret were pulled by Apple early this month. Similar features were confirmed previously, along with recent hints at a communication device.

- Special attention should be paid to the 1 Inifinite Cantina article -- as this article likely represents an accurate source of information.

Final Notes

With one week left before WWDC and the Keynote speech... it's best to remind our readers to have some perspective prior to the big event -- especially for new readers and recent switchers.

As a rumor site, MacRumors gathers and reports on the entire range of rumors and possibilities for the expo. While we try to focus on more accurate/reliable reports, rumors always tend to span the entire range -- from the mundane to the impossible. The actual truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Expectations should be grounded in realism... with a bit of hope for the unexpected. As with all expos, there will be groups of users pleased, ambivalent, or outright angry with the outcome.

Related Roundup: Mac Pro
Buyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Neutral)

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