For years, Apple's announcement events have been the must-cover shindigs of the season.
All of us pundits, commentators, bloggers, reporters, and analysts each look into our own crystal ball and predict, prognosticate, handicap, illuminate, and adumbrate (and make stuff up) about what we think Apple is about to do next.
We had the joy of writing about the iPhone 5s and 5c announcements last month, and Apple quietly announced a spec-jump for iMacs. What does that leave?
Apple is following with another announcement tomorrow, I'm jumping on the adumbratin' bandwagon and making some of my own predictions.
Here, then, are the various products and my educated, but still probably pretty much unfounded guesses about each of them.
Mavericks: It's pretty much a given that Apple will announce a release date for OS X Mavericks, given that the golden master has been issued and even updated. Whether you're getting Mavericks this week or this month is the only question. This rabbit's got bunny ears.
Smart watch: After months of speculation about Apple introducing a new smart watch, Samsung came out with the Galaxy Gear and sucked all the enthusiasm for the category down a deep, dark black hole. Since the Gear hit the street with a thud, nobody's been talking Apple watch. This rabbit don't hop.
Smart TV: For years, Apple has been rumored to be working on something amazing for the living room, beyond the Apple TV. Could it be some way of cutting out the cable companies and going direct, allowing viewers to selectively watch and buy the programs they want? Could it be another living room TV? Frankly, this rumor is old and stale. This poor bunny has seen better days.
Apple TV: Compared to the iPhone, the Apple TV is merely a hobby. But the little hockey puck is a billion dollar product all on its own. It's possible the puck will get a spec upgrade, but it's more likely that more media providers will be added. It's unlikely we'll see a completely new offering this iteration, but we have been surprised before. This bunny is napping.
4K display: Will Apple leave money on the table. After announcing that the new Mac Pro (see below) will support up to three 4K displays, it seems relatively obvious that Apple will introduce its own 4K display. But whether that's a this-week intro or a next season intro is probably dependent on whether the 4K technology meets Apple's rigorous supply chain requirements. I'm guessing Easter. This rabbit is painting eggs.
iPad: Well, hello? This is the Big Daddy of the announcement rumors. We almost assuredly know that Apple will introduce the iPad 5 (possibly called "iPad" again). We're looking thinner, lighter, 64-bit, and most likely including a fingerprint sensor like on the 5s. Will there be a gold iPad? For those rabbits with champaign dreams, I give a tip of the top hat to "yes".
iPad mini with Retina: In my mind, the iPad mini is one of the big questions of this event. It's got question marks lined up on multiple vectors. Let's first take the Retina vector. To produce the mini with Retina, Apple would have to beef up the battery (although iOS 7 helps). A beefed up battery might make for a bigger machine. This one is a complete unknown. On this vector, the rabbit is hiding in its hole.
iPad mini with fingerprint scanner: While Apple clearly sees the security benefits of adding "what you are" authentication, they're not willing to sacrifice their margins to provide it, as seen in the iPhone 5c sans reader. My guess on this one, given that the iPad mini is already overpriced compared to its 7-inch brethren is that either (a) the mini will break mini-s and mini-c or (b) there will be no reader. Heck, bunnies don't have fingerprints (but their little toes are often covered in fur).
iPad mini in lots of colors: Here's one that's just chock full of possibilities. What if Apple kept the iPad mini pretty much as-is, but added lots of colors? The iPad mini is clearly Apple's mass-market tablet, and Apple has often punched up products with color (going all the way back to the fruit-flavored original iMacs). Color sells, and sells well. This rabbit is painting its eggs in a rainbow of colors.
iPad mini for cheap: Since Apple has been known to sell last year's model for less than this year's, expect the original iPad mini to sell for somewhere between $229 and $249. This rabbit may hop right over the fence.
iPod touch: Apple refreshed the iPod line relatively recently, but did not upgrade the iPod touch past about iPhone 4s levels. While the iPod is declining in sales compared to the iPhone juggernaut, it's still big business. If I were laying odds, I'd say you can expect to see iPod touches using 5c technology and colors. Let's do the bunny hop.
Smaller iPods: Will the smaller iPods get an upgrade? Well, the obvious answer is adding apps and the app store, but the straight iPod music player doesn't really need apps. My guess is this bunny will sleep through the season.
MacBook Pro: Now we move on to the Mac. It's quite likely that the MacBook Pro will get a spec bump to the battery-friendly Haswell architecture. Fingerprint reader? Doubtful, but possible. Bunnies are a'hoppin' for Haswell, but droopy ears for fingerprint sensors.
Mac Pro: Okay, let me be blunt: I want one. The spec list has me salivating. I love power and this thing seems to be dripping with raw energy. There are two real questions: when will it be shipped and how ungodly expensive will it be? I'm guessing shipping by end-of-year, and possibly November. The big question is price. Apple could surprise us with a price mere humans can afford, and that would rock the house. But my guess is we're talking serious work pricing that that floats us well up into the "what are you smoking?" stratosphere. This bunny wears a Rolex.
Mac mini: Ah, the Mac mini. My favorite Apple product and the one I've bought most. This is a fine product. My most fervent hope is a spec bump as well as the ability to run 32GB RAM. One other neat feature would be a move from SSD flash drives to on-board flash storage, which the Mac Pro will support and provides a big speed bump. The rumor mill has been completely silent on the Mac mini, and I'd guess we're really looking at a Spring announcement, along with the next MacBook Air. This rabbit will be back for Easter.
There you go. A baker's dozen (plus one) of predictions, some founded in quality rumor-mongering and some completely unfounded in anything at all. We'll all know tomorrow.
In the meantime, give your bunnies some love. The House Rabbit Society suggests feeding your rabbit one cup of veggies per 4 pounds of body weight. Wow, if I was a rabbit, you'd need to feed me with a dump truck of veggies. It's a good thing I like steak.