Rumors’ live coverage of Macworld San Francisco begins now!

Though the new team that has taken the helm of Rumors has been very busy with the new Web site and other behind-the-scenes projects, we are now focused like a laser beam on Macworld Expo coverage! We have more roving reporters and sources covering the Expo than any other newsgathering entity, and several other major Web sites have hired out our team to provide coverage for their publications as well.

We think it is going to be a very exciting day indeed as Steve Jobs takes the stage once again to give us a preview of what 2008 will look like for Apple, Inc. and its loyal fans…..but a lot of the pre-keynote buzz has been way off the mark. Read on for our predictions, and don’t forget — is always your #1 source for up-to-the-nanosecond coverage of all Apple Events….stay tuned for our intense live updates from Steve’s keynote address and later from the show floor!

There has been a series of highly suspect, last-minute “leaks” and a lot of the usual over-reaching leading up to this week’s Expo….and most of it, as usual, is hot air. We do believe that Apple is ready to begin manufacturing (if they have not already done so) of the new “Macbook Nano,” sometimes also referred to as the “Thin” or “Mini”…..but there is as yet no reliable confirmation, of the kind we would expect if things were really so close to the day when the new ultraportables begin shipping that an announcement tomorrow would be a certainty……it is most definitely possible, but those who say it’s a sure thing, or those who put too much stock in last-minute “leaks,” are obviously not seasoned rumor-mongers.

We’ll say this much, though, about the “new” Macbook rumors; the new ultra-thin Apple laptop will almost certainly not replace the existing entry-level Macbooks — but rather, be a mid-range model in between the two current laptop families. Our sources do have some things to say with certainty: there will be no preview of Mac OS X 10.6, though that project is well under way….this year’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) in late spring is a far more likely time for us to get our first sneak-peek at the next Cat…..There will be at least one updated Mac family….given the timing of the other product categories, and the recent update of the Mac Pro, it is certainly easier to envision a new Macbook Nano than it is for the relatively recently updated Macs in other categories. If any other Mac products are updated, it will probably be the Macbook Pro…..with the original Macbook a distant second. Both couldbe updated to create a better overall fit in the new three-family laptop lineup, but we’re not quite that over-optimistic about what will be announced.

Beyond Mac-related news, which we think will only be half — if that — of the big headline news coming out of today’s keynote…..we are looking to new and updated iDevices to be the real heavy-hitters of the keynote. Some are predicting a new 16GB iPhone; that is certainly within the realm of possibility given recent shrinking of Flash memory chips by Apple’s suppliers….but we don’t think that would be all, by a long shot. The many features of iPhone firmware v1.1.3 will no doubt be touted (and quite possibly released within a couple of hours after the keynote address). The hottest rumor crossing our Inboxes today dwarfed things like a bit more/faster storage and a new firmware update; though much of the most exciting dirt is embargoed until after the keynote, we can say that we think Steve will be unveiling not only one but possibly two separate new iDevices! One which will be shipping soon, and another which may not arrive for several months — not quite as long a wait as we had for the original iPhone after last year’s MWSF, but close.

Independent sources seem very confident that these will be a fork of the AppleTV into two devices: one basically the same as the current device but with modest upgrades…..the second, a dramatically upgraded device with an optical read-only drive (Blu-ray/DVD-ROM), a far more powerful processor, more onboard memory, and a full-size 3.5-inch 7200RPM desktop HDD instead of the 2.5-inch drives used in current AppleTVs. This high-end set-top iDevice will attempt to be an “all in one” that is “the only TV-box you will ever need” with considerably more/faster storage, a high-definition optical drive, and 1080P HDTV support. It is not yet known whether the standard/entry-level AppleTV 2.0 will also sport 1080P…..but one way or the other, sources in Cupertino tell us that the AppleTV will most definitely reach full 1920x1080P HDTV resolution within the next 3 months at the outside.

Given that manufacturing-sector sources confirm the new devices are being rolled off the assembly line as we speak, we’re fairly confident that we’ll see this long-awaited feature tomorrow.Though details are not as well-confirmed as we would hope, there has been a huge amount of buzz on the grapevine about new touch-input products being previewed during tomorrow’s keynote. This could just be a roundabout reference to the iPod Touch/iPhone update rumors, and it could also reference the recent speculation about a small touch-input control screen that would span the front face of the high-end (Blu-ray/3.5-inch HDD) AppleTV. It could also be a confused re-interpretation of the persistent reports detailing a Macbook Thin type laptop with an OLED based keyboard/trackpad and touch-input display. Some have even taken the rumor so far as to add a “convertible tablet” element: i.e., the laptop display could be rotated 180 degrees on a dual-axis hinge and then folded over “backwards” to create a touch-input tablet. This would, however, require a glass display which would in turn create a number of design issues from weight to shatter-ability.

Ultimately, all we can really do is wait and see which rumors prove true, which had a grain of truth but were off the mark, and which were dead wrong. This will mark our 26th Macworld Expo, and we’ve been in this game longer than anyone else. We’ve learned a lot about what goes on behind the scenes in Cupertino leading up to and during a Jobs keynote, and this time around our lead reporter at the keynote & on the show floor is a former Apple employee who just so happens to have had a high-level role in the Expo preparations for the past 10+ years. We’re excited to see what he digs up…..and to see what Apple has in store for us this time around.Stay tuned to Rumors for live streaming coverage of the Expo, and lots of post-Keynote analysis! Join us for live keynote coverage starting just before Steve takes the stage, and stick with us for ongoing coverage throughout the week!

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  • Sven Ljungholm

    I certainly hope they do not demo the next OS for about 3 years. 10.4 had all kinds of issues that were never fixed. 10.5 and especially 10.5 server have issues as well. They need to make one version actually work before selling the next one. Reminds me of Microsoft.

  • Alasdair

    Good to see you guys back in action. Just one comment on the new site design – could you introduce a few tags in the body copy? It’s a bit hard on the eye to read 100 lines without paragraph breaks!!

  • Jchico

    in line for the keynote now. A good crowd on a gorgeous morning.

  • MIchael Verruto

    Good luck with the new site guys!!! I’m a-watching your coverage at least 😉

  • Panoramabob

    Switch to BLACK on white text. Make it easy to read.