Macworld speculation focuses on ultraportable

Analysts and the media seem sure that Steve Jobs will unveil a new, ultraportable Apple laptop at Macworld 2008

As the Macworld expo gears up to open on Tuesday, the greatest amount of speculation about new products centres on a possible ultramobile MacBook laptop.

Analysts and the media have suggested that a new notebook computer, with half the thickness of currently available models, might be announced. This slenderness could be the result of a switch from traditional hard drives to flash-based storage, claimed Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster in an interview with USA Today.

Munster also theorised in an interview with IDG that the new laptop could boast a touchscreen, thus signalling "the beginning of the end of the mouse". According to his sources, he said, the screen could be as small as 11 inches.

Banners at the Moscone centre in San Francisco, where the event will be held, reportedly read "There's something in the air", seen by many as a reference to the possible inclusion of WiMax in the new MacBooks. The long-range wireless technology is due to make its way into many new notebook computers from this year, as the chipmaker Intel is heavily promoting such inclusion.

However, although Sprint will start rolling out a WiMax network in the US in the second quarter of 2008, the regulatory landscape in Europe is very different. In the UK, mobile WiMax’s future depends largely on the result of a spectrum auction due to take place early this year, and 3G technology also constitutes a much more entrenched rival to WiMax here than any in the US.

There is also speculation that Apple boss Steve Jobs will unveil a new version of the iPhone, boasted 16GB of storage rather than 8GB, a move that the Telegraph suggested might annoy those who bought the 8GB version. A 3G version of the device, which currently uses only relatively slow Edge networks for data connectivity, is also rumoured.

On the consumer side, Apple is expected to launch movie rentals through its iTunes store.

MacWorld banner

The slogan on the Macworld banners has been seen by many as a reference to the inclusion of WiMax in the new MacBooks


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