However, after the keynote hubbub settles and attendees wander onto the show floor, a revised sense of the Mac market may come into view. Among the booths filled with professional and consumer photo and video content creation tools and iPod gear—all expected and familiar Expo fare—will be an invasion of software and hardware solutions solidly in the small and midsize business camp.
Many industry analysts predict that Jobs will dedicate a large portion of his Jan. 9 keynote address to describing in greater detail the so-called iTV device, which he previewed in September. However, recent postings on some online Mac enthusiast sites warn Jobs may pass on the iTV media server.
A similar bifurcated prediction is seen about the iPhone, or iPod phone. The possibilities of the nature of the iPhone and its revelation keep climbing.
In addition, Mac users hope for more details of Leopard, or Mac OS X 10.5, which was introduced to developers in August at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. At the time, Jobs said the company would wait to reveal a number of its features until closer to its release, which is expected in the first half of 2007.
With Windows Vistas feature SKUs and feature set fixed, perhaps Apple will show off more of Leopard and provide a check list for PC customers who are deciding between a Windows upgrade and switching to OS X and the Macintosh.
In October, Apple disclosed a few more enhancements due for Leopard: Xray, a real-time application performance tool based on Sun Microsytems OpenSolaris DTrace framework; and resolution independence for displays, which decouples the resolution of OS elements, such as windows and menus, from the physical pixel density of computer screens. Neither of these features has been demonstrated to the public.
Apple has also been mum on the Macs support for another interesting Sun technology: ZFS (Zettabye File System), which is included in Solaris 10. In December, a Mac site showed Leopard screen shots showing ZFS running on Leopard.
This pooled storage file system would provide a wide range of useful storage capabilities, such as intelligent management that lets users avoid many problems with partitions, provisioning and wasted bandwidth as well as built-in replication, RAID and self-healing data verification.
According to Think Secret, Apple will announce an new version of iWork, the companys productivity package, including a new spreadsheet application. The site says iWork 2007 will update the Keynote presentation application and Pages word-processing/layout program.
All of these programs follow a sophisticated, templated, style-sheet approach to productivity applications, making it very easy for novice users to quickly create complex, professional and effective documents. The applications are integrated and scriptable.
Ive always felt that the Keynote application is best of class in the presentation field, especially running on one of the Intel-based Mac notebooks. Users can easily animate individual elements to present data in a very powerful and emotional way that resonates with viewers. Its class from the bottom up, and you dont need to be a graphic designer.