I think that it's time to address the elephant in the room: the Apple plasma story that I floated in the run up to Macworld Expo. The story was based on a tip that I received from a source that was reliable in the past and after checking it with a few other industry peers it seemed plausible albeit a little out of the scope of Apple's traditional products.
After further research with some publishing peers I discovered that others had also been leaked the plasma display story but that it was from someone that they didn't know. The story was based on some bad intelligence that I received (sound familiar?) and I made the decision to run with it. Perhaps it was a little irrational exuberance on my part or my perennial optimism, but either way, I was sold. While Apple hasn't released anything in this category, it could easily be an extension to the iMac line. The cottage industry built around Mac mini home theaters further fueled the fire. I also got swept up in the excitment of plasmas shipping with Intel ViiV digital home technology. The timing seemed perfect with Intel having just announced ViiV a few days prior to MWSF.
A few details made me skeptical. Why would Apple choose Plasma technology over LCD? Plasmas can burn-in when displaying the same image (i.e. a computer desktop) for extended periods and they grow dimmer over time. Plasmas are much less expensive at larger screen sizes whereas LCDs get exponentially more expensive at 42 and 50-inch sizes. However, it stands to reason that Apple might choose LCD technology over plasma for a very large computer display. The price points were also suspect. $2,600 and $3,300 are low prices for decent plasma displays, but impossibly low for plasmas with computers built into them.
But don't rule out the idea of Apple plasmas entirely, at least not yet. Some have speculated that Steve changed the product lineup the night before his keynote address and that he had other products up his sleeve, just in case. PBS' Robert X. Cringely mentions that Apple may release a plasma-based computer in his 2006 predictions:
Apple will eventually announce all the products they were supposed to have announced at this week's Macworld show, but didn't, including a bunch of media content deals, a huge expansion of .Mac to one TERABYTE per month of download capacity per user, a new version of the Front Row DVR application, and two new Intel Macs with huge plasma displays, but with keyboards and mice as options -- literally big-screen TVs that just happen to be computers, too.So there you have it. The story was based on bad intel pure and simple. All's not lost though, I did nail a few of my Macworld 2006 predictions - even if the odds were a bit off.
What can I say? Sometimes you're the bug and sometimes you're the windshield.