Macworld 2009: Last-minute rumor round-up

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Macworld 2009: Last-minute rumor round-up

San Francisco (CA) – Apple’s Macworld 2009 keynote is just hours way – reason enough to have one final look at the most persistent rumors what may or may not be announced by the company. Here are our favorites.

Software: OS X Snow Leopard/cloud-based iWork

This is a no-brainer. Phil Schiller is expected to demo the new OS that “pauses on innovation” and focuses on speed, thanks to OpenCL support and Grand Central technologies that tap into the hidden horsepower of modern GPUs. Out-of-the-box Exchange support, QuickTime X, full 64-bit support and a new Finder rewritten in Cocoa complete the spec list. Sure, Apple might surprise us with one or the other new feature, but don’t hold your breath as there were no leads in current developer seeds of the OS. A cloud-based iWork and iMovie that run on any platform inside a browser could also be part of the presentation. A rich user interface and advanced editing features are said to highlight iWork’s spreadsheet, presentation and spreadsheet applications and differentiate it from Google Docs.

One more thing #1: Ultra-thin, ultra-light $600 Mac netbook

A recession combined with an increasing popularity of cheap, sub-10″ notebooks and Apple’s absence from the sub-$1000 market make a Mac netbook the most likely “one more thing.”  If done right, the product could increase Mac market share without cannibalizing Macbook sales. Expect a $600 price tag.

One more thing #2: iPhone nano

A small iPhone with reduced screen resolution and no 3G or Wi-Fi seems to be everyone’s favorite Apple rumor. We here at TG Daily don’t quite get it. It promises to make up for its drawbacks with a mirrored display and an aggressive $99 price tag that appeals to people who otherwise couldn’t afford a $199 iPhone 3G with a 2-year service contract. The iPhone nano could be interesting if it is sold unlocked, but we doubt Apple’s agreement with AT&T would allow such a move. We may be wrong and an unlocked $99 iPhone nano might take Apple’s rivals by surprise.

iPhone/iPod touch upgrades: 32 GB iPhone/64 GB iPod touch, oversized iPod touch/Mac tablet

The arrival of 32 GB flash chips means we can expect twice the storage capacity on the high-end iPhone and iPod touch models (current models max out at 16 GB and 32 GB, respectively). If we look at the Mac tablet rumors, there are several reasons why it would make sense now. However, sources indicated that the much discussed Mac tablet might in fact be an oversized iPod touch (9″ compared to 3.5″ screen of the current iPod touch) with an ARM Cortex-8 processor and next-gen PowerVR graphics. The pitch? The ultimate portable gaming platform and content creation tool. We are sold already.

Mac upgrades: Mac minis and iMacs with Nvidia graphics and DisplayPort + HDCP

The Mac mini and the iMac are next in line to receive Nvidia graphics, in addition to a DisplayPort + HDCP interface. The updated Mac minis are rumored to support up to 4 GB of RAM, up from 2 GB. A new case redesign that resembles the iMac’s black and aluminum theme is also likely. The updated iMac will benefit from processor speed increases, more storage and perhaps more RAM. The rumored quad-core top of the line iMac (it is about time!) could appeal to creative professionals, video editors and others who are looking for Mac Pro performance in an iMac form factor.