MacWorld SF 2005 Rumor Roundup

Steve Jobs will deliver the MacWorld San Francisco 2005's Keynote Speech on Tuesday, Jan 11th 2005. Contrary to previous years, it appears there will be no live broadcast of this event. In fact, according to a small (unconfirmed) blurb on Keynoteuser, it's claimed that Apple may not allow the press to post any live newsfeeds of the Keynote at all.

This year's pre-expo hype has been accentuated by a number of actions by Apple Legal. In December Apple filed suit against three developers for posting early versions of Tiger (Mac OS X 10.4) on the internet. Apple also subpoenaed three Mac sites for information related to leaks about an unreleased product (presumed to be 'Asteroid').

Most striking, however, is the reported Apple lawsuit against ThinkSecret for posting trade secrets as well as soliciting contractually-protected information. In the past, Apple has brought legal action against individuals for leaking trade secrets (Worker Bee, PowerMac Photos) but this is the first time that it has brought direct legal action against a rumor website.

The surrounding legal action, of course, lends credence to certain rumors, published at the ThinkSecret site. This roundup reviews the most likely rumors for the upcoming MacWorld Expo.

Flash iPod

Talk of a Flash-memory based iPod has been ongoing for some time. An October analyst report indicated that a Flash based iPod was in the works with a 3rd party manufacturer of controller chips (SigmaTel). More hints in the following months led us to a rumor of a Flash memory-based iPod to be introduced in early 2005. A recent article provides confirmation as well as additional details: the Flash-memory based iPod is expected to come in 1GB and 2GB versions and start at $149.

Asteroid

In November, Appleinsider posted information of an hardware audio interface for GarageBand users which provides two XLR/ TRS audio input connectors, two RCA analog output jacks, and a standard headphone jack. This device is reportedly at the heart of some of the previously mentioned legal action from Apple. In the initial report, this device was expected to be released at MWSF, but little additional information has been released.

New Apps

One of the most detailed reports of new Applications coming from Apple came from this ThinkSecret report which is one of the subjects of Apple's lawsuit. The article describes an iLife '05 update providing new releases to iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, and Garageband.

More significant is the rumored release of iWork '05 which will bundle two applications -- Keynote 2 and Pages. Pages is expected to be a word processing application to take place of Appleworks. It is unclear, however, if spreadsheet functionality will also be included.

Older rumors first labeled this application as "Document". Of uncertain significance, Apple also had previously trademarked iWrite in 2003. Finally, another historical rumor is that Apple reportedly acquired employees from GoBe, a BeOS productivity suite with an innovative design.

$499 Headless iMac

The most significant release from Apple at MacWorld SF may be this item. The $499 display-less iMac. The specs of the bare-bones machine is said to include a 1.25GHz G4 processor, Combo drive, and 256MB RAM.

The point for this machine is to lure PC users, already tempted by the iPod, to make a switch to the Mac platform (at least as a second computer system).

Other?

Most notable about the rumors leading up to MacWorld is the lack of rumors related to the other Apple hardware lines. Two hardware updates did occur last week -- Display Price Drops and Xserve updates, which ensures no further updates on those fronts.

Of the remaining hardware line, the PowerBook has the longest lead time since last introduction (April 2004), but no word on PowerBook updates have been heard.

Coverage

MacWorld SF 2005's Keynote kicks off at 9AM Pacific on January 11th, 2005. As always, MacRumors will try to provide live coverage for the keynote and/or provide links to the best available information.

Related Roundup: Mac mini
Buyer's Guide: Mac Mini (Neutral)

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