Apple’s Tuesday Notebook Event: Please Don’t Call These Predictions

By  |  Monday, October 13, 2008 at 2:57 pm

[SHAMELESS PLUG: Technologizer will be liveblogging the Apple notebook event on 10/14/2008 @ 10am PT. Please join us.]

Apple predictions? I think I’ve declared more than once that I’m done making them–Apple is just too good at confounding expectations. So let’s call the thoughts I’m about to share about tomorrow’s Apple notebook event something else. Scenarios, speculations, stabs in the dark–whatever you please is okay with me.

For no particular reason, I’ll provide a predic–er, an informed guess about the likelihood that each of the following things will happen tomorrow, in the form of a percentage.

Shall we begin?

First of all, I think it’s a pretty safe assumption that the event will begin with Steve Jobs entering the room and rolling off some impressive stats about Mac sales in general and MacBook sales in particular. He’ll likely say something about Mac sales shifting more decisively to mobile more quickly than the industry as a whole. [90% likelihood of happening]

Unless someone other than Steve does this Stevenote. [.000000001%]

No, it’ll be Steve. [99.999999999%]

I’m thinking he’ll then say that he’s pleased to tell us that Apple is replacing its entire mobile line with new models. [70%]

At some point in here, he may throw in a bit of mobile news that isn’t a new notebook. Improvements to MobileMe, maybe? [40%]

On to the new MacBooks. Starting with a new MacBook Air that really isn’t all that new–but which has a new Intel CPU and larger hard drive options. And either better specs at the existing price or comparable specs to the current one for $100-$200 less. [70%]

Next, a new MacBook Pro. It’ll dump the aging current industrial design in favor of something that looks closer to an aluminum-clad version of the current MacBook, with the sunken keyboard, latchless case, etc. [80%]

It will be available in 15-inch and 17-inch versions with better CPUs, twice the RAM, and larger hard drives than the current MacBook Pros for the same as current models or $100-$200 less. [90%]

It may feature an NVidia motherboard and chipset. [Oh, I don’t know–40%?]

It will offer Blu-Ray as an option. [33.33333333%]

It may be carved out of a solid brick of aluminum with lasers and water jets [this is either 0% or 100%–I can’t tell]

Oh, and there’s a new MacBook Pro–one which essentially replaces the MacBook. It has a 13.3-inch screen and an aluminum case. It starts at $1200, $100 more than today’s 13.3-inch MacBook, but has faster CPUs, double the RAM, and bigger hard drives. It may also include discrete graphics. [65%]

At this point, Steve looks like he’s wrapping up. But there’s…one more thing. [70%]

It’s a Mac portable at a price point you’ve never been able to get a Mac portable at. [80%]

But he won’t mention that price point just yet. [90%]

Steve will begin talking about netbooks, saying they’re a good idea, but then pointing out all their downsides–tiny screens, cramped keyboards, weak specs. [40%]

He’ll say people want a bigger screen, a great keyboard, and more performance. [40%]

And then he’ll introduce an all-new Mac notebook. [75%]

One that might be called just the MacBook [50%]

Or if not, MacBook plus some new modifier. [50%]

It will look somewhat like today’s MacBook, but at least somewhat thinner and lighter. [60%]

Most of its specs will be similar to today’s MacBooks; the basic configuration will sound somewhat skimpy, but there will be a better model and an even better one. [70%]

It will have an Atom processor. [10%]

Or maybe a dual-core Pentium. [15%]

No, let’s say a Core 2 Duo. [75%]

It will have a 13.3-inch screen. [60%]

Or if not, a smaller one, but no smaller than 12 inches. [40%]

It will dump FireWire and be the first USB-only Mac in a long time. [85%]

It will not have an optical drive (Steve will recap his explanation from the MacBook Air launch at January’s Macworld Expo about why you don’t need one). If so, the machine will definitely be thinner and lighter than current Macbooks. [50%]

All in all, the specs will be better than those of any netbook. Steve will recap why. [80%]

He’ll compare the new machine to a fairly pricey netbook, like one of the better-equipped configurations of the HP Mini-Note.

The price will be…$800. [85%]

Or a little less. [10%]

Or a little more. [5%]

Whatever the price is, the crowd will cheer and applaud. [99%]

Steve will say how proud Apple is of all the new products, and he’ll thank us for our time. [99%]

Not every one of the new models will be at the Apple Store instantly, but they will all be available within two weeks. [80%]

But there is…just one more thing. [18.5%]

I don’t know what it would be, but it will be amazing. [33%]

Or just interesting and pleasing, but not amazing in any respect. [47%]

Or unimpressive. [10%]

Steve will, once again, thank us for our time and say there are no more announcements. [100%]

But there will be a musical number by a famous person. [3%–this is a staple of iPod events, not Mac ones, right?]

Chances that everything I mention above will happen almost exactly as I lay it out: 5%

Chances that absolutely none of it will happen in any way that even faintly resembles any of the above: .03%

Chances that I’ll come back to all this stuff and compare it to what really happens tomorrow: 95%

Unless I’m so far off that it would be too painful: 5%

Chances that if you’ve read this far, you’ll leave a comment with further thoughts: 100%–I hope…

[UPDATE: Daring Fireball’s John Gruber has a post with lots and lots of detail about the Tuesday announcements. He seems very confident of most of it, and he’s the opposite of a rumormonger. If you happen upon this post before all is known and don’t mind spoilers, check it out.]


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9 Comments For This Post

  1. Andrew Mager Says:

    But I want these new Macs today, not tomorrow 🙂

  2. Kevin Says:

    Great article! I really enjoyed it.

    I sure do hope that Apple releases a sub $1000 notebook tomorrow.

  3. thehumanyawn Says:

    I’m hoping for something that resembles the PPC notebook lines, with three sizes of MBPs, and two sizes of MBs, with better graphics for both lines, support for more RAM, lower prices, and faster processors

  4. Brock Says:

    I’d love to see this compared side by side with a liveblog of tomorrow’s event.

    What are the chances that the new laptops will be in stores tomorrow? I’m picking up a MacBook Pro finally, and I’d love to pick it up in store.

    Also, great read.

  5. the Innocent Says:

    Getting rid of the Macbook doubtful…but the nvidia chipset highly likely. We all but know what the macbooks are going to look like

  6. disbeilef Says:

    I feel sooooooo awfull, just bought the Air, ridiculous, however, i’m so willing for tomorrow’s presentation, just want to see all those shiny babies!!!!

  7. mailman Says:

    maybe “the spotlight turns to notebooks” means that it will not be a macbook but there will be a new name for the line. such as the macbook did to the ibook.

  8. Clint Ecker Says:

    Awesome post. I’m personally waiting for the day that Steve just busts out onto stage completely nude and gives his talk like nothing’s wrong.

    I’m going to be in the photo pit tomorrow snapping shots for Ars Technica. All our stuff is going to be live here:

    Looking forward to my first new laptop in a while! 🙂

  9. macboys Says:

    Hilarious! Too good too good! Much better than all those prediction thingies that people have nowadays.

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  1. apples-tuesday-notebook-event-what-would-you-ask | Says:

    […] that tomorrow’s announcements are at least vaguely along the lines that people expect, with significantly new MacBooks and a sharply lower entry price point. What would you ask Steve Jobs? Throw out some ideas; if I like any of ‘em and have the […]