Apple's news event: What's the likelihood that rumors are accurate?

Once again, on the heels of an Apple news event, the blogosphere is buzzing with speculation about what the company might introduce on Wednesday. We handicap some of the rumors as we wait for the big event later this week.
Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive

Once again, on the heels of an Apple news event, the blogosphere is buzzing with speculation about what the company might introduce on Wednesday.  The general consensus: a new MacBook Air - thinner and sleeker, of course, with a smaller screen and enhanced disk storage of some sort. Oh, it could be cheaper, too.

And then there's that image of a lion - yes, as in King of the Jungle - hidden behind the Apple logo on the invitations. The lion would, of course, represent a new operating system that could be part of the event. I've also read that iLife will get a makeover, iWork might also get an upgrade and iDVD might get the boot.

These tidbits of information have been confirmed through various unnamed sources who have insight into the event's agenda, inside information from someone close to the announcement or someone who caught a glimpse of a prototype. But none of it has been confirmed by Apple, as is the standard practice.

Even though we clearly need to wait until Wednesday to know for sure, I have to say that I'm eager to hear what Apple will announce. Personally, I'm due for a Mac revamp. As regular readers know, I'm a "Mac." And this buzz about the new Macbook Air has caught my attention.

Maybe that's one of the reasons I had been trying to steer clear of the rumor mill. I didn't want to get sucked into unrealistic expectations on any of these rumors. So, instead of pinning my hopes on what I'm reading on the Internet, I've tried to put my own handicap on the likelihood that these rumors are accurate - just for fun, of course. Here goes:

A new Macbook Air: Sure, I'll buy into that. Apple is due for an upgrade to the Macbook Air, which was dubbed the "world's thinnest notebook" when it was unveiled in January 2008. At the time, the device - what with no optical drive, for example - was something revolutionary. Now that the iPad has stolen the spotlight, the Macbook Air becomes more like a product that transitions the non-early adopters from full-fledged notebooks to the world of tablets. Sure, it's still a notebook but it's also thin and sleek enough to have the portability of an iPad. I think this has a pretty good shot. I'll give it an 90 percent likelihood.

A new operating system: I certainly do hope the buzz about a new version of the OS is accurate. Leopard has been around for a while now and Snow Leopard really wasn't as much a new version as it was some major patchwork to Leopard - kind of like what Windows Me was to Windows 98 before XP came along. Technology has improved since Snow Leopard hit the scene and I'm excited to see what Apple will unveil and how much it looks like previous versions of OS X, compared to how much it might have been influenced by iOS. With the picture of the lion in the picture adding weight to the likelihood. I'll give it a 95 percent chance.

Software updates: It would come as no surprise to me if both iLife and iWork were upgraded - both are overdue. However, from Google Docs to Pandora, productivity and media software suites are increasingly becoming cloud apps. Sure, Apple is big on delivering content - music, movies, TV shows - over the cloud. But what about the apps themselves - Pages, Keynotes, iMovie, iWeb and others? Do they have a home in the cloud? That's what I'd really like to hear from Apple. As for iDVD, it makes sense that its days would be numbered. Again, keeping people tied to DVDs keeps them away from downloadable content over the Internet. I like the buzz of an iLife update more than the rumors of an iWork update. I'll give iLife an 85 percent chance of being upgraded and iWork a 75 percent chance.

There's one big problem with speculating about what Apple might announce later this week. Everyone could be wrong - though I'm sure some of those unnamed sources being "quoted" out there might be right on the money with their information. In terms of my likelihoods, there's nothing scientific about them - beyond my own insight into the product life cycles and the company's previous announcements.

Until Wednesday, it's anyone's guess anyway. Right?

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