Oh crystal ball, what will Macworld Expo 2009 bring?

San Francisco – Ah, Macworld Expo. Don't you just love this time of year?
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor
Oh crystal ball, what will Macworld Expo 2009 bring?
San Francisco – Ah, Macworld Expo. Don't you just love this time of year? Thousands of Mac faithful descend upon the fair city by the bay for a week of excitement, nostalgia and imbibing.

The buzz in San Francisco's downtown is palpable, especially in the bars, restaurants and hotel rooms within walking distance of Moscone. People are yammering about this Mac or that and what Tuesday might hold. But it's not like it used to be.

Perhaps it's because I'm here a day early (I usually don't arrive until Monday) or because I'm still on east coast time, but there isn't quite the buzz I usually see in San Francisco this year, at least not yet. Don't fret though, things are bound to ramp up as we get closer to the StevePhilnote on Tuesday.

After getting chided for calling this the "last Macworld Expo" I'm determined to be more positive about the show and to make the most of it. I'm actually quite excited to see how Phil Schiller performs during the keynote address under the hot glare of 6,000 calculating, judging eyeballs. This is Phil's job interview for the CEO position, isn't it?

That being said, here's a rundown of what Apple is likely to announce here on Tuesday...

Mac mini – (517 days old, 188 day average update) – The odds-on favorite to grace the stage Tuesday is a new Mac mini that will include a Mini DisplayPort, Mini DVI connector, FireWire 800 port, and Nvidia MCP79 GPU. (Tip: AI) Previously rumored specs about the new Mac mini, dubbed "Macmini3,1," include, aluminum case and greener components, no Blu-Ray, 2GB and 160GB. Apple should really really just merge the Apple TV into the mini.

iMac – (253 days, 211 average) – While not a lock like a new Mac mini, Apple's workhorse Mac, the iMac, is also due for a face lift. "iMac9,1" will most likely take its design cues from the new Apple 24" LED Cinema Display and build on the aluminum and black, ultra-glossy design motif Jonmy Ive seems to have standardized on. The new iMac will also ship with a Nvidia GPU and no Blu-Ray, but you knew that. DigiTimes reports that Apple has already ordered shipments of 800,000 per month.

MacBook Pro 17-inch – (582 days old) – Originally slated for released in October, the delayed 17-inch version of the unibody MacBook Pro will most likely be announced on Tuesday. AppleInsider says that the new MBP17 will be shipping "this month" and (scandal!) 9To5Mac reports that it will have a fixed, although longer lasting battery. A huge surprise considering the PR hit that Apple took for fixed batteries in the MacBook Air and iPhone. The new "aircraft carrier" MacBook will also reportedly adopt the Nvidia GPU (like the mini and iMac).

A 32GB iPhone is now possible thanks to single chip 32GB NAND memory being available. Apple also swept in and purchased most of Samsung's flash memory which bodes well for higher cap iPhones. It all comes down to what kind of price Apple can negotiate for the denser chips.

If the iPhone goes 32GB, a 64GB iPod touch shouldn't be far behind, because while the iPhone only has one memory slot, the iPod touch has two. And I'm sorry to report that the red and pink iPhones are fake.

On the software front, iWork is destined for the cloud, although it has some without unlimited bandwidth (which is all too common outside the U.S.) concerned. I'll add another vote here for iPhone editability for Pages and Numbers docs.

Let's not forget about Snow Leopard (a.k.a. Mac OS 10.6). There's a possibility that we may hear more about the mysterious cat and even a release date on Tuesday but it's not ready to ship, that's for sure. Let's hope that Phil give us a really killer demo of it. Please?

Even though I'm resigned to the fact that Phil's giving Tuesday's keynote address, I'll bet that Steve Jobs makes an appearance. I'm not sure if it'll be for "one more thing" or as a demo buddy but I'm betting on Steve showing up in some capacity. Jobs keynote is an institution at Macworld and he'll say a few words.

Check back, this article can (and will) be updated right up until Tuesday. As always, please chime in with your own Macworld Expo 2009 predictions in the TalkBack below.

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