11 January 2006

A jovial look back at the Hobsblog Predictions...

In a couple of posts here, before I review the announcements in detail, let's look objectively (if I can) at my performance leading up to the announcements.

First, we'll consider my 10 MacWorld Expo predictions. I had predicted the following:
1. More iTunes video content announcements (more tv and maybe full length movies)
2. New 1GB iPod
3. Intel-based iBook
4. Intel-based Mac mini
5. iLife 06 (oh, I think I've been trumped on this one!)
yes (hardly earth-shattering)
6. Wireless video distribution device (AirportExpress2?)
7. iWork 06 (plus new spreadsheet package?)
yes - but not a full spreadsheet app
8. Mid-range Intel-based dual core laptop
9. iPod accessory - audio or video recorder; wireless add-on?
yes - fm tuner/remote but not earth shattering
10. Just one more thing....
well, i guess iMac (since I did somewhat guess the MacBook)

So, I would give myself a score of 50% and a verdict of pretty poor on the basis that a monkey and a dartboard would probably score the same.

What about the rest of the blogging Mac community? From a rumours perspective Apple did pretty well - at wrongfooting most people!

I think there were some deliberate leaks ahead of time that were just wrong and sent people on the wrong track. Such rumours (Mini and iBook for instance) quickly became almost-fact. It is especially interesting that rumour sites such as ThinkSecret and O'Grady's Powerpage were especially wrong. These sites were both sued by Apple over reports made a year ago. Jason O'Grady's report of plasma displays which were picked up by lots of sites (not that fanciful really - dell and hp both sell plasmas), is particularly embarassing. I think there was more than just poor guesswork here - some deliberate misinformation got sent their way. It is also interesting that Steve Jobs made fun of the rumour sites in his presentation with the 8lb iPod joke.

From my own perspective, I am disappointed at falling for the rumours (facts) about the mini and iBook. I hadn't been able to reconcile these releases business-wise as you can see if you review the blog entries on myth/reality. And I couldn't understand sites reporting that such machines would be dual core, when all evidence pointed to dual core machines being in pricing territory at least 2x the mini/iBook range. I had concluded they would be single core releases. And I still stand by this (for low-end models). It always made perfect business sense to do the iMac and the PowerBook first - these are the bread and butter products. I'm sure the powermac would have been done too if it wasn't for Intel not having the 64bit chips ready for that (64-bit matters much more there).

The evidence which sent me the wrong way was the sheer number of reports on mini/iBook, interpreting too much from revisions to both iMac and PowerBook very late last year (very unusual, but in hindsight another ploy to confuse?), and also the belief that the iMac wouldn't go "backwards" from 64-bit computing to 32-bit. Again, though, if we're honest, not many (any?) of the 64-bit computing for the iMac has been utilised. Most iMac users won't give 2 hoots.

On the whole though well done Apple on a few counts:
1. Wrongfooting most of the rumour community to the last.
2. For the engineering effort of producing the important machines first ahead of schedule.
3. For dressing up MacWorld (the Steve RDF) to make it seem so much more when what was really announced was that 1) Didn't we do well last year and 2) We've successfully changed the engines in two of our cars which have loads more power though the cars are essentially the same.

Next up... How do the announcements stack up against the Myth/Reality analysis I did?

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