Everyone is making their predictions for the traditional music Apple keynote this Wednesday 1st September at the Yerba Buena centre, I've written a list of the things that I would like to see on stage. Apple first introduced the iPod in these music events and has unveiled its following incarnations right in the middle of the "back to school" campaign after getting rid of all stock with the classic "buy a Mac get iPod for free" offer.
The deal is clear to me: Updates in the cheapest products the company sells (iPods) to refresh the line-up for the holiday season. In fact, I expect Jobs to close his presentation with a sentence in this line. I don't think he will touch the macbook range just yet, perhaps there will be new changes before Christmas. The Macbook Air is a likely candidate for a "One More Thing," but this is only an AppFreak torrid dream that could round up the very bland event this week.
As hardware goes, the big suspect is the upgrade that would put the iPod Touch to the level of the iPhone 4. I would like to see a much thinner form factor, although Chinese case leaks, which were quite accurate in the past, point out that the new device could will have at least the same length and width as the current model. When the first iPod nano was launched, I think nobody could believe how thin this thing was, so for me an iPod Touch Thin is on the table. I would like to see all the hardware goodies seen in the iPhone 4, but manufacturing costs could make Apple release two separate versions. While front+back cameras and gyroscope are very likely to be featured, I'm not so confident about the Retina Display. That's why I'm talking about a low end Wi-Fi iTouch and a better Retina 3G and the ARM Cortex-A8 Apple A4 processor to run games at good pace. Adding FaceTime to both would be a great addition that I and many teenagers expect.
I want a FaceTime-capable iPod with 3G, a good processor for gaming and the gorgeous Retina Display. Should I go and get an iPhone 4 instead? I wish it was thinner and... cheaper
The "Touch" would be dropped because it doesn't make much sense. It would disappear. The legacy iPod with clickwheel is a thing of the past and even nano sales have dropped substantially in the last year. It has gone from a fat-nano to the slimmer and older shape, which is quite a slow evolution for an Apple product. Again, rumours suggest that the new nano would be a square-touch based music player, which brings the issue of the OS running in this machine. Since a small nano could not run apps as we know them today, I wish the click-wheel gestures can be at least integrated in the new device. This would really be a hybrid of the iTouch and the shuffle, which wouldn't make much sense either if Apple manages to mark a really low price point that is required in recession times.
Most or the blog's speculation has been around the new Apple TV. I would like to see a better OS for iTV, regardless its technical specifications. If Kevin Rose is right, Apple would manage to bring more revenue to the platform thanks to apps, and probably more TV studios making their own apps. This would make a lot of sense to justify development and deployment costs, plus contracts to make this available to consumers worldwide. I expect people prefer an iPad over a killer set-box that will be very limited anyway, specially because many of us have better alternatives already. I wish it would be an amazing product, but I'm afraid it will continue to be "just a hobby" if Jobs haven't found out how to make more money out of it.
As software goes, we could see the much anticipated debut of Game Center (Does anyone like the look of it?) and, of course, an iOS update for all the new devices. Gruber is quite right to predict that the iPad will be left out once again, since they haven't released any beta for developers yet. An Apple employee told me three weeks ago that the much needed iPad multitasking update was planned for Autumn this year.
So what are you expecting? I haven't bought an iPod since I got my first iPhone, so they'd better release a kick-ass gamers machine to convince me. Do you like the prospects of the iTV or is a Mini still better?