MacWorld San Francisco 2004 Rumor Roundup [Updated]

With MacWorld Expo quickly approaching, MacRumors provides this Rumor Roundup as a summary of the major rumors circulating around the Mac Web. As always, stay tuned, as last minute leaks and revelations are common.

The Event

MacWorld San Francisco 2004 kicks off on January 6th, 2004 with Steve Jobs giving the Keynote Address. The speech starts at 9am Pacific time, and has traditionally been covered by Satellite, Quicktime Webcasting, as well as Apple Store theatre coverage.

Curiously, Apple has made no official announcements with regard to any of modalities. What appeared to be an official MWSF 2004 streaming page did appear about two weeks ago, but then quickly went offline.

As always, MacRumors plans -- if at all possible -- to provide live coverage of the event both on this site as well as on IRC.

Mini iPods

The most widely publicized rumors before this event are those of the "Mini iPods" -- which are rumored to represent cheaper and smaller versions of the current iPod.

Steve Jobs had stated in an interview in October that they would "love to have a $100 iPod" but that they just didn't know how to do it at that time. Rumors of a cheaper iPod, however, began creeping out in the following months... first from MacRumors' Page 2 and then Apple Turns.

First details of the new iPods came from this Page 2 report which promised 2GB "mini" iPods in a variety of colors coming as early as January. AppleInsider, ThinkSecret and reliable MacRumors sources filled in some other minor details. Confirmation of colors (one being gold), stripes and 2GB and 4GB sizes came from these reports... as well as a starting price "around $100US".

MacRumors has heard mixed reports about starting prices but consistent expectations that pricing will be significantly lower than current models. According to some, Apple has been targeting prices from $100-$150 for the lowend.

Such pricing would be extraordinary in the current MP3 market... and has lead at least one writer to doubt the release of such a product. This author's doubts, however, are based in speculation rather than any particular insider knowledge.

PowerMac G5s

Where have the PowerMac rumors gone? At the widely anticipated release of the 2.0GHz PowerMac G5 in June, Steve Jobs boldly stated that they would reach 3GHz PowerMacs within a year.

It's no secret that IBM will be presenting information about the 90nm PowerPC G5s in February. Current PowerPC G5s are manufactured with a 130nm process. The improved manufacturing (90nm) should yield performance increases to the PowerMac processor.

Appleinsider has been the most vocal about the release of updated PowerMacs at MacWorld San Francisco. A December 4th report claimed that speeds of 2GHz, 2.2GHz, 2.4GHz and 2.6GHz processors were currently being produced by IBM with expectations of the release of new PowerMacs at MacWorld SF 2004. Later, "collaborating information" from the same site claimed PowerMac (and Xserve) updates with speeds up to 2.4GHz would indeed be coming at MacWorld SF 2004.

ThinkSecret has dashed some of these hopes/rumors. In their rumor report, they claim that no desktop or laptop announcements will be made at MacWorld SF 2004.

Readers should remember that product release in the weeks immediately following MacWorld is not unusual. Last year, Apple released PowerMac updates 3 weeks after the January 2003 Expo.

Software Updates

As reported by ThinkSecret, it appears this expo will be focused on software updates. ThinkSecret expects iPhoto, iMovie 3.5, iDVD 4.0 and iTunes updates at MacWorld Expo.

Reliable MacRumors sources previously noted: iMovie 3.5 will only bring minor improvements to the consumer video application; iTunes will bring improvements related to "Purchased Music, iPods and Music Store Availability"; iPhoto will see "support for Photo Albums and Photo Print services to "some" countries outside the United States."

As well, Final Cut Express 2.0 has already been sited at CompUSA's stores and should also be announced at the expo.

Update: Announcements and demonstration of the next revision of Microsoft Office and Virtual PC are expected to be announced at MacWorld San Francisco.
New Application?

A reliable report of a new Application coming... with many uncertain rumors since:

Apple Trademarks 'iWrite', New Audio iApp?, Apple DVD Authoring and Optibase, New Pro Audio App?.

Xserve

The Xserve remains long overdue for an updates. Appleinsider and ThinkSecret consider Xserve announcements likely, but can offer few details.

Other

January 2004 marks the 20th anniversary of the Macintosh. Notably absent in recent weeks are more details regarding the rumored return of the Apple Cube. Sources of this rumor were not particularly accurate, and with no further details or rumors arising, should be taken with a grain of salt.

Most recent hints of LCDs suggest we may have to wait until after PowerMac releases, despite previous unconfirmed hints at LCD updates at MacWorld.
Summary

Mini iPods and across the board software updates appear most likely for this Expo. As always, there are hopes for the unexpected.

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