As usual, Apple’s (AAPL) Macworld keynote led to more questions than answers. We learned about some of Apple’s new products and services — 17-inch MacBook, more DRM-free music at iTunes, new software suites — but missed out on a lot more.
Here’s what we’d ask Steve Jobs or marketing exec Phil Schiller if we could.
What’s going on with the Mac mini? A new mini was yesterday’s most anticipated announcement, and many Apple fans I spoke to at Macworld were let down. It’s been ages since the mini has seen an update. Is a speed bump next — where Apple updates the chip and moves on? Or can we expect a complete overhaul, as some have suggested, including new optical and disk drive options?
How are iPhone sales holding up in the recession? Last year, Steve Jobs announced that Apple had shipped 4 million iPhones by Macworld. At least tell us that Apple hit its easy layup of shipping 10 million iPhones in 2008 as planned. (Meanwhile, in Canada, iPhone activations fell 50% in Q4 over Q3, despite holiday sales.)
When will the 15-inch MacBook Pro get a longer-lasting, enclosed battery like the new 17-inch Pro did yesterday? We can’t imagine 15-inch buyers want to switch out their battery any more than 17-inch buyers, but not everyone wants the extra 2 inches of screen space/bulk. The 15-inch MacBook Pro was just updated in October, so we ordinarily wouldn’t expect a significant update so quickly. But will this be an exception? And will the 13-inch MacBook get the same treatment, too?
Where’s the updated 30-inch cinema display with built-in camera? Perhaps it would have been too many things to squeeze into a keynote, but this one should happen sooner than later. Or perhaps Apple is waiting to add its new display port to more computers like the Mac Pro before it updates its pro-level display.
Is AT&T getting anything for over-the-air iTunes downloads? We’re impressed that Apple managed to (smartly) convince the labels that an over-the-air song download really isn’t any different than one using wi-fi — meaning they could keep the same pricing. We don’t expect AT&T is getting a kickback, which is probably not something they’re thrilled with — selling data services like music is one of their big plans for future growth. But given how much of a blessing the iPhone has been for them, we’re not sure they can complain.
Where’s DRM-free iTunes video? It’s nice that Apple is selling more music without copyright protection. When will movie and TV studios realise this is a good idea, too? We aren’t holding our breath — Apple will still need to include some proprietary code to handle things like rental downloads expiring when they’re due, etc. But it would be nice to be able to play iTunes movies on non-Apple devices — especially movies we’ve purchased, not rented.
What about the Apple TV? We don’t expect it to get combined with the Mac mini, like some do — there’s always going to be separate markets for a $300 video device and a $600 computer. But we’re hoping for some hardware updates — like a build-in DVD player — and some software updates — like support for more Web video content, like Hulu, Netflix, or MLB streams — before we bet on putting Apple in our living room.
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