Saturday, January 11, 2003

Accuracy Report: MacOSRumors

Original Predictions from MOSR:
- New iMacs
- New eMacs
- New Xserve
- Updated iChat
- New flat-panel displays
- New iPod ("a shoo-in")
- An additional Digital Lifestyle Device
MOSR also predicted a new iApp, which they gave no details on, and charges for two existing iApps, which they didn't name. Since those predictions are too vague, neither will be counted in the scoring.

Accuracy...
Not a single one of their predictions came true at the keynote. That fact speaks for itself.

Score...
Base Score: 50
Correct Software Predictions:
None
Incorrect Software Predictions:
- Updated iChat, -10
Missed Software:
- Safari, -15
- iPhoto 2, -5
- iMovie 3, -5
- iDVD 3, -5
- iLife, -5
- Keynote, -10
- Final Cut Express, -10
Correct Hardware Predictions:
None
Incorrect Hardware Predictions:
- New iMacs, -15
- New eMacs, -15
- New Flat-Panel Displays, -10
- New Xserve, -10
- Updated iPod, -20
- New DLD, -20
Missed Hardware:
- AirPort Extreme, -20
- Powerbook 12" and 17", -20
Additional Points, + or -:
None

Total score: -145, from a base 50

What the hell?! (And what the score means)
To score below zero is sad, but when your score is off the base by nearly 200 points, it really says something about your rumor gathering skills. I doubt we'll see any scores even close to this low from any other site. I'd be willing to give pity to MOSR if they weren't a long-time staple of Mac rumormongering across the internet.

Next Accuracy Report: MacRumors (The only major site that predicted new Powerbooks)

Friday, January 10, 2003

Aqua lovers rejoice!
The Iconfactory has released the fourth installment of its widely popular "World of Aqua" series.
The new set features 17 aqua-licious freeware icons, among them:
A hedge labyrinth perfect for your poorly organized Home directory...
A few fun takes on basic OS X apps, including "ChalkEdit"...
A rather pointless cherry that looks so good, you could eat it...
Four Star Trek icons (too bad they're from the Shatner days)...
and many more, not to mention a perfect replacement icon for Safari ("Map App").

Generally, the set is a little more out there than previous installments (WOA 1 and 2 did feature a few unusual icons), and a little less practical. That said, it has some real gems in it, and easily compliments the icons from the entire series, which now spans seven icons sets.

Thursday, January 09, 2003

A note on the Accuracy Reports...
You might notice that the most recent subject of MacUnderground's Accuracy Reports (ARs) was LoopRumors.
Since this was their first expo, I gave them a 20 point handicap. This is also MacUnderground's first expo, but I won't give my own blog a few extra points, because that would be unfair, and I'm more than happy with 85 points.

MWSF Accuracy Report: LoopRumors

Two ARs in one day... Now it's time to have a look at newcomer LoopRumors. The scoring makes more sense if your read the first report (from yesterday).

Original Predictions from LoopRumors:

- iPhoto 2
- iMovie update
- iTunes update
- Video iPod
LoopRumors didn't go as far as to speculate what wouldn't be at the expo, but they also didn't predict any new desktop computers or LCD screens.

Accuracy...
This was LoopRumors first expo, so not much can be said about expectations. They underpredicted by quite a bit, but I'm sure they'll be better next time around.

Score... since this was LoopRumors first expo, I gave them a handicap of +20 points on their base score.
Base Score: 70
Correct Software Predictions:
- iPhoto 2, iMovie 3, +15
Incorrect Software Predictions:
- iTunes 4, -10
Missed Software:
- Safari, -15
- iDVD 3, -5
- iLife, -5
- Keynote, -10
- Final Cut Express, -10
Correct Hardware Predictions:
- None
Incorrect Hardware Predictions:
- Video iPod, -20
Missed Hardware:
- Powerbook 12" and 17", -20
Additional Points, + or -:
- "Year of the Laptop" sub-honor, for not predicting any desktop hardware, +15

Total score: 5, from a base 50, plus a 20 point handicap

What the hell does that mean?
It isn't good, that's for sure. The 20 point handicap was the only thing keeping LoopRumors from the shame of a negative score. I am, however, more than willing to cut the newcomer some slack this time, I can't say that I'll be so forgiving in the future...

Next Accuracy Report: MacOSRumors (I mean, "Inaccuracy Report")

MWSF03 Accuracy Report: Think Secret

Time for the second AR of the expo, if you need help understanding the scoring, see yesterday's report.

Original Predictions from Think Secret:

- $50 iApp bundle
- 802.11g
- Web browser
- iChat update (they gave it a 50% chance)
- Tablet
Think Secret got the scoop on no new iMacs, eMacs, or flat-panel displays when they posted an article defying the generally accepted idea of those releases. They also predicted no Powerbooks, iBooks, Xserve, Powermacs, or iPods.

Accuracy...
Think Secret is one of the most reliable sites on the web, and made incredibly accurate predictions for this year's keynote. They also earn a special bonus for breaking the no iMacs, eMacs, or LCD displays story.

Score...
Base Score: 50
Correct Software Predictions:
- Safari, +20
- iPhoto 2, iMovie 3, iDVD 3, +20
- iLife $50 package, +10
Incorrect Software Predictions:
- iChat update, -5
- iPhoto 2, iMovie 3 not available for free (they are), -5
Missed Software:
- Keynote, -10
- Final Cut Express, -10
Correct Hardware Predictions:
- AirPort Extreme, +30
Incorrect Hardware Predictions:
- Tablet, -20
Missed Hardware:
- Powerbook 12" and 17", -20
Additional Points, + or -:
- "Year of the Laptop" honor, for predicting no desktop hardware, +20
- Special bonus for first reporting on the lack of desktop updates, +20

Total score: 100, from a base 50

What the hell does that mean?
Scoring 100 shows real reliabilty, although we can't forget that Think Secret still struck out when they predicted a tablet over Powerbooks. Once put in perspective, I think we'll see that Think Secret had a very respectable score.

Next Accuracy Report: LoopRumors.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Teasing after the keynote.
Think Secret reports that Steve Jobs appeared on CNBC earlier today, already dropping hints left and right about Apple's product line-up.

The two most interesting quotes:
"Apple has a wonderful customer base. If we come out with innovative products, they're buying them."
"We've got some good things up our sleeve in the desktop area too."

It looks like MWSF was is just the tip of the iceberg.

MWSF03 Accuracy Report: MacUnderground

Here it is, MacUnderground's first accuracy report from this year's keynote. More to come... By the way, I've stopped using bullet points because Safari seems to have trouble with them (they turn to question marks after I post).

Original Predictions:

- Web browser released
- .mac Address Book (this feature was quietly added before the keynote, and therefor it neither counts for or against me)
- 802.11g
- $50 iApp bundle
- Tablet/DLD
No iMacs, eMacs, Powermacs, Xserve, iBooks, Powerbooks, iTunes 4, iPhone.

Accuarcy...
I was right on target when I predicted the release of a web browser (Safari) over a new version of iTunes. I also was right about the release of 802.11g wireless technology (AirPort Extreme) and the $50 iApp bundle, iLife (although I did not predict that iPhoto and iMovie would be available for free). With the exception of the Powerbooks, I was spot on with my predictions against almost all hardware updates. Finally, I did not anticipate Final Cut Express or Keynote.

Score...
Generally, I did pretty well, only predicting one wrong item and missing three others. My score looks like this. (Scores start at fifty and have no maximum)

Base score: 50
Correct Software Predictions:
- Safari, +20
- iPhoto 2, iMovie 3, iDVD 3, +20
- iLife $50 package, +10
Incorrect Software Predictions:
- iPhoto 2, iMovie 3 not available for free (they are), -5
Missed Software:
- Keynote, -10
- Final Cut Express, -10
Correct Hardware Predictions:
- AirPort Extreme, +30
Incorrect Hardware Predictions:
- Tablet/DLD, -20
Missed Hardware:
- Powerbook 12" and 17", -20
Additional Points, + or -:
- "Year of the Laptop" honor (goes to any site that predicted no desktop hardware), +20

Total Score: 85, from a base 50

What the hell does that mean?
Scoring more than 30 points above 50 is good, but leaves room for improvement, lots of improvement...

Next Accuracy Report: Think Secret.

Correction:
In my January 5 posted titled: "MacUnderground's Final Predictions" I accidentally said that I thought there was a 100% chance of an iPhone release, I meant to say there was a 100% of no iPhone release.
Don't believe me? My first round of predictions featured the position that we would not see an iPhone.

A welcome return...
I just wanted to mention that Apple site, As the Apple Turns, has returned with new installments of its unique brand of soap-opera meets Apple news after over three weeks on hiatus.
It's a welcome return to the Mac community.

This week:
Today I'll post my first Accuracy Report from the keynote predictions, it'll be for my own speculation here at MacUnderground.
Expect to see more Accuracy Reports throughout the week, and once I finish looking at the various sites, I'll award the 2003 Rumormonger of the Keynote Award!
Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

More fun with Safari!
If you've already downloaded Apple's web browser, Safari, here's a little trick I discovered:

Safari assigns keyboard shortcuts to your toolbar bookmarks!
The first bookmark is apple-1, the second is apple-2, etc., etc.

I can't believe Steve didn't mention that during his keynote!

It's a Safari!
That's right, I'm posting straight from the Public Beta of Apple's new Ultra-Fast Mac OS X only web browser, Safari!

Also announced at the keynote:
- 802.11g wireless technology in "Airport Extreme"
- Presentation app, "Keynote"
- iMovie 3
- iDVD 3
- iPhoto 2
- Final Cut Express
- 17" Widescreen Powerbook G4
- 12" Ultra-portable Powerbook G4

I'll have a full wrap-up of the keynote later, and scorecards for various rumor mill predictions throughout the week (although the big winner there is Mac Rumors, who called the 17" and 12" Powerbooks last night).

Live from the Apple Store!
I'm posting straight from the Woodfield Apple Store, where everyone is waiting in anticipation of Steve Job's jeynote speech.
Keep your browser tuned to MacUnderground for the latest news from the keynote.

Monday, January 06, 2003

T-minus 13 hours, and my plans for the keynote...
With any luck, I'll be watching the keynote from the crowded comfort of my local Apple Store.
So, while there are plenty of computers around, I might be a little busy during and right after the keynote. I'll try my hardest to have the big announcements posted ASAP.

Looking ahead to the rest of the week's posts, I'm going to try and score the major rumor mills during the rest of the week (and of course, I'll score my own blog, too). Hopefully, I'll find time to report on the accuracy at Think Secret, Mac Slash, Mac Rumors, Mac OS Rumors, and LoopRumors.

Red-alert! (posted at t-minus 13.75 hours, and yes, I'm still counting)
Mac Rumors is preparing for a flood of traffic by switching to a low-bandwith/low-load homepage.

Their big - last minute - prediction:
"The big excitement is one of new Powerbook updates tomorrow. We'd received word which was corroborated by other sources that tomorrow will bring a 12" UltraPortable PowerBook and 17" PowerBook"
...followed by this statement:
"Yes, it's a rumor... yes, it seems unlikely... yes, we believe it to be true. We'll see tomorrow."

Steve Jobs must be laughing his head off right now...

Tredding on thin ice... (posted at t-minus 14 hours, and counting)
Mac Rumors has a new rumor post. Here it is:

Tomorrow:
12" UltraPortable Laptop
17" Laptop

Cryptic? Yes.
A 12" Laptop would be Apple's first sub-notebook in years, could this be the 0.3 pound lighter wonder we've heard tales about?

Bring on the Newton!
I have some further insight in the Tablet debate, and its origins date back to the misunderstood Newton.
(I originally posted this in a forum thread, but would like to post it here, too)

Stop thinking about a tablet as what they are today.
Think about a tablet as what they were.

Yep, I'm talking about Newton.

The technology in Newton wasn't ahead of its time, and that was what sunk the clunky tablets. Yes, I know I called the Newton a tablet, that's how it was ahead of its time.

The Newton was truly a Tablet, in a time when few knew about the concept, and the technology to create a decent one didn't exist. The idea of the Newton was ahead of its time.

Now the time seems just right...
Let's see a small, powerful tablet. In no means meant to replace your iBook, but meant to make it, and any other Mac, more complete.

T-minus 18.5 hours, and counting...
Add in eight hours of sleep, and we're within twelve hours! (you do get eight hours of sleep?)
And the rumors just keep on coming...
Mac Rumors has two new bits of info for readers.

First, they're reporting that the new iGadget expected tomorrow...
"...will come with 802.11g and Bluetooth wireless capabilities..."
The blurb, originally from News.com, goes on to mention that this device will make the Mac a more appealing digital hub in hopes of attracting more switchers.

The second piece of juicy news is that a slip-up at SmartDisk Corp.'s press department suggests that Steve will be announcing Firewire 2 (a.k.a. Firewire 800, for its 800 mbps transfer rate).
Mac Rumors goes on to wonder what kind of new device would utilize Firewire 2, which is backwards-compatable with the current Firewire on all of Apple's computers.

T-minus 28 hours, and counting...
That's right, we're nearly within a day of the expo!
And as the keynote draws closer, rumors pick up steam. A current Mac Poll asks what surprise announcement we think we'll see come tomorrow. The two leaders are web browser and tablet.
But all the talk about tablets has left people lost on how Apple will make an affordable and innovative one. Well, here's an idea that's picking up popularity: The tablet is the DLD.
Rather than a big, full-size tablet, we're looking at a smaller one. It'd be more portable, more affordable, and still really cool. Kind of like the OQO.
Anyway, we'll know in 28 hours.

Sunday, January 05, 2003

MacUnderground's Final Predictions (with percents!):
Before we begin, I've changed my position on the new Digital Lifestyle Device that will be released at the expo. Late-breaking news from the rumor mills and further speculation have caused me to revert to my original position. I believe (with 70% certainty) that we will see an Apple Tablet at the expo keynote. There's a full round up of where I stand below.

Here's how my scale works:
Everything adds up to 100%, but anything below 50% is pure speculation.

Desktop computers:
• No new iMacs (100% sure)
• No new eMacs (100%)
• No new Power Macs (100%)
Laptop computers:
• No new Powerbooks (100%)
• No new iBooks (90%)
• Next generation iBooks (10%)
Other computers:
• No Xserve announcements (100%)
iApps:
• Web browser released (90%)
• iTunes 4 released (10%)
• $50 iApp bundle (iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD) (100%)
• .mac Address book (100%)
• iPhone (100%)
Hardware upgrades:
• Faster AirPort (100%)
New Hardware announcement:
• Tablet/DLD. A revolutionary new consumer oriented tablet designed for the next generation of digital life. (70%)
• iPod-like DLD. Color screen, plays mp3 and mp4. (20%)
• Anything can happen, it's going to be the most surprising hardware announcement in recent expo history (10%)

It sounds like a big, flat DLD to me...
Mac Rumors, a site which has not predicted a tablet, is reporting on the possibility of an Apple tablet, which is looking more likely.
The catch, it sounds like tablet meets iPod, more fully functional than the DLD in my predictions, but still a consumer targeted device.
Time will tell...

Apparently they like being wrong...
Mac OS Rumors has posted its final, final predictions for MWSF. As you may recall, they posted their first final predictions a few days back.
Their predictions from Friday included a gawdy brushed metal Apple TiVo as the new DLD.
In their latest ravings, MOSR persists that we will see:

Mac OS Rumors's Predictions
• New iMacs
• New eMacs
• New flat-panel displays
• New iPods
And a possible
• New DLD
• New Xserve
The first three on that list have all been generally discredited by the more reliable news and rumor sources. Also, it is believed that there will be no Xserve announcements at MWSF.
MOSR has a very poor track record with its predictions in recent history.
MacUnderground's official predictions can be seen in the post directly below this one.

Here it is!
MacUnderground presents its...
Official Macworld SF 2003 Keynote Predictions!
[pause for applause]
These are the educated guesses of the MacUnderground weblog, formulated from news, trends, events, prices, and (most importantly) rumors.
[pause for laughter]
So here we go!
I'm going to start with my "negative points," things that won't happen.
• No new iMacs
• No new eMacs
• No new LCD displays
These were sparked by a shocking report out of Think Secret a few days ago. I'm taking the position that we'll see the welcome computer updates in the weeks following the expo, and the displays sometime after that.
• No new iBooks
• No new Powerbooks
Despite a mysterious, disappearing report of a new laptop (the one that weighs 0.3 pounds lighter) at Mac Rumors, I'm convinced it's too soon for these. I think we'll be seeing stronger iBooks in the upcoming months.
• No Xserve announcements
MWSF is a consumer show, the Xserve doesn't belong there.

The following negatives are rumors I totally disagree with, basically surprise announcements I'm convinced we won't see.
• No iTunes 4
I wish I could say otherwise, but it's too soon for iTunes 4. I'm betting we see it within six months time.
• No iPhone
I don't wish I could say otherwise, here. An iPhone is a lousy idea at this stage in the American economy and the cell phone market. Besides, Apple has thrown its trust with Sony/Ericsson in the cell market. Not just is an iPhone an impractical device in a thoroughly saturated market.

Here are the announcements I think we will see.
• Faster AirPort
• $50 iApps bundle
These are generally accepted, and I have no reason to doubt them.
• Apple branded web browser
It was that or iTunes 4, and I already established that it's too soon for the mp3 software's next update. Apple hired the man who created Chimera Navigator (possibly the most successful third-party web browser for OS X) over the summer for unknown reasons (maybe he's a great cook!). It feels like the right time for this iApp to hit us.
• New hardware...
I know, the real question is "what is it?!" Not a PDA, not a phone, then what. Think Secret speculated on a possible tablet, while many other sites have pushed for what they describe as an iPod II, I'm calling it the iDLD, and giving it my vote for Apple's surprise announcement.
This iDLD will be like an iPod in its ability to play mp3s, and could probably be called the iPod's bigger cousin. However, the design of this device would have to be fundamentally different than that of the iPod.
First, it needs to be larger. A color screen is fine and dandy, but what mp4 movies are you going to watch on a screen the size of a movie ticket stub. It won't be too much larger (I'm guessing about an inch, an inch and a half at the most), because the device needs to stay small and able to fit into your pocket.
Second, it'll need a slightly more complex interface, for better controls. This might be as simple as a two or three extra buttons, but we'll assume for now that the solid-state scroll wheel is still there.
Finally, here are few possible other features, sorted from the most likely to the least. I wouldn't bet the theoretical farm on any of these (maybe the first, if you don't mind gambling your theoretical chickens). (1) An iTunes-like visualizer for when listening to your mp3s. (2) Bluetooth for quick transfer of your iCal updates, which could be coupled with (3) Rendezvous, although that's pushing it. Lastly, remember the hub-bub over (4) Dynamic Ornamental Appearance... well I'd say there's a very remote chance in hell that we could possibly see this (although it is the most unlikely of the four here).

What about a tablet though? I'm not ruling it out, and I nearly picked it over the iDLD (I was visited by three ghosts while I slept). Not to totally humbug those who would still love to see the iPad in two days time, I'm giving it a 35% chance of release. My support, with 65% confidence, is still behind the iDLD, though.

All in all, this looks like one spectacular keynote in the making.

The plot thickens...
Mac Rumors is reporting today that Apple retail stores across the country will be receiving shipments tomorrow that they cannot, under any circumstances, open before 10:00 AM PT on Tuesday, the middle of the keynote.
I can't help but wonder if Apple itself was actually the source of this "leak," it makes a great reason to get out to your local Apple Store for the keynote...

A suspicious disappearance...
Mac Rumors has posted its final keynote predictions. They're fairly similar to the more reliable reports out right now, and there is no reference to that magic 0.3 pounds lighter laptop.
It's already evident that the real opinions are about the new device (although there's some debate over the new app). Think Secret mentioned the possibility of an Apple tablet, while Mac Rumors speculates about an mp4 movie playing iPod II.
MacSlash's expo predictions feature the possibility of iTunes integration with .mac, including iTunes skins (I like that idea, it would be the second real bonus of paying that $49, the first being the free download of Alchemy). They also say that sources at Apple Stores and resellers say iPods are currently hard to come by, sparking their support of color screen iPods, hopefully with bluetooth and Rendezvous.
I think those predictions are a little hopeful (they admit that), Mac Rumors's talk is more down to earth, but I wouldn't rule anything out.
Finally, LoopRumors says that we're looking at color iPods, although they say it could be marketed as another iGadget, otherwise they generally agree with the other rumors out there.
I've felt very swayed by all this talk of color iPods, especially when I realized the implications of a gadget like that with something like El Gato's EyeTV. I need a good night's sleep before I post my predictions. They'll be up by midday.