MacWorld 06: Start Your Engines [Updated]

MacWorld 2006 is getting ready to roll into high gear. The SteveNote is Tuesday. I’m expecting some big announcements this year. In fact, one friend recently informed me that he was told that the news would be so exciting he should wear diapers that day.

I don’t think I’ll wet myself. It would have to be pretty huge for that to happen. Like a free PowerBook every year for the rest of my life for me and and each member of my family.

But I doubt that’s what they’ll announce. Here’s my picks:

– Nothing iPod-related: I love the iPod. I really do. But can we talk about something else for a change, Apple?
Verdict: Well, Steve sure did talk a lot about the iPod, but nothing new was introduced except for the FM tuner thingy.

– iLife 06: Seems like a no-brainer. Some nifty new, but minor, features in iPhoto and GarageBand. Rumor has it Apple will announce iWeb, an easy-to-use HTML editor. I hope they do. It would be great to have something to fill the gap so long left vacant by Claris HomePage.
Verdict: Yep, iLife 06 with iWeb. I didn’t expect such a heavy emphasis on podcasting, though. Cool stuff.

– iWork 06: Pages 2, Keynote 3, and Numbers 1. Numbers is the rumored spreadsheet app. I would love to see an Apple-branded, Excel compatible spreadsheet app. I would leave Excel so quick its head would spin, if it had a head and were sentient.
Verdict: Dang! Crap! I mean, yeah, iWork 06 and everything, but where’s the spreadsheet? Phooey. Although I must admit that Pages is rapidly becoming my favorite word processor. He stays out of my way and lets me work, just like his father AppleWorks.

– Intel-based PowerBook: The current rumors are all about the iBook getting the Intel makeover first, but let’s face facts: the PowerBook is looooong overdue for a major overhaul. Here’s to a 3 GHz PowerBook. Mmmmmmm.
Verdict: MacBook Pro? Ewww. That’s a terrible freakin’ name. Sounds like some crappy accounting package from the 80s. As I wrote to the RB List, I never thought Apple would come up with a worse product name than Performa, but it appears I have underestimated them. I still want one, though, as soon as they make 17″ model.

– Intel-based Mac mini: Super fast Mac mini with the Front Row treatment. It will be the centerpiece of my home theater when I finish by basement later this spring.
Verdict: Huh. iMac. Interesting.

– One more thing: In classic Steve Jobs style, he’ll announce “one more thing” at the end of the keynote, almost as an afterthought. I don’t know what it will be, but I think it will have to do with home video/home theaters, and I think it will be something from out of left field.
Verdict: Or not.

So there’s my list. What are your predictions for Tuesday?

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