[Update: After observing some live-blogging of the announcement, I think I can say even Mac fan-boys are scratching their heads at how anything titled, “Let’s Rock,” could be so mellow and tame. The event focused on incremental enhancements to current products. Granted, some cool features but nothing to write home about. (Or even to write a blog post about.)]
As everyone who reads this blog probably knows, there is a planned Apple announcement this morning. It’s called Let’s Rock and is likely related exclusively to iPod and iTunes announcements. However, anytime Steve Jobs appears publicly, it is preceded by a flurry of predictions from what Kara Swisher calls, Apple’s “psychic friends network.”
As a long-time observer of these things, I can tell you that very few prognosticators of Apple announcements ever get it right. And more often than not, it’s the fan-boy psychic friend guessers who come closer than the investment firm industry analysts who check his or her “contacts in the supply chain.”
Actually, it’s getting harder-and-harder to separate fan-boy guesser predictions from analyst predictions. Yesterday, for example, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster sent an e-mail to clients saying he had “no inside information,” but assumed that Steve Jobs wouldn’t be appearing unless if he didn’t feel and look better than he did during his last public appearance — so Jobs’ mere appearance today will be a “slight positive” for the stock. That’s the kind of insight that gets you on the cover of Institutional Investor.
Two years ago (almost to the day), I decided to make a list of guesses and a few wishes and list them as all the Apple rumors you’ll ever need.
One of those rumors remains an evergreen prediction: Rumor #3. I was predicting (hoping for) an iPod-like device that has a screensize large enough for it to be a practical auxiliary or compliment to (but not substitute for) ones desktop or laptop computer: A device to take to class or on business travel, but not something that has enough power or storage or features to be ones primary computer. Such a concept now is a boiler-plate rumor before almost any Steve Jobs appearance, and the device has many nicknames: iBook Touch, iPod TouchBook, iPad, you get the idea.
This time around, however, few are predicting such a device will be announced. I wonder, why not? If you’re going to guess, why not guess boldly. If you’re going to predict, why not predict something you’d actually enjoy having. And it’s an extension of the iPod product line.
In the spirit of the day, here are a few things I’d like to predict that will be announced today. They are based on nothing more than total guesses and come from my evergreen list of rumors:
1. A wireless iSight camera: When the first iSight was released, it could be pointed in any direction. Today, the iSight camera is only available as something that points at the person operating the computer. A wireless iSight camera can have lots of practical — and non-practical — uses. Whenever I’ve blogged about it in the past, someone always emails me and says Apple can’t do this because of some regulatory issues in Europe.
2. Steve Jobs will announce he is retiring: Actually, I take that back: no way would he upstage any product announcements with such page-one news. However, in the not to distant future, he’ll announce a very long transition period during which he will be turning over CEO responsibilities while he focuses more on product development and Yoga.
3. An iPod TouchBook.
4. Bonus non-product prediction: I predict that whatever Steve Jobs announces will drown out (on the tech blogosphere) anything presented at any conference taking place today.