MacWorld 2008: There’s something in the air

Well folks, here we are, on the eve of MacWord yet again and just like Christmas Eve, we’re already tingling with anticipation. As you’ll recall, we already made our predictions for this year–click this way in case you need a refresher. That aside, there’s one tantalizing detail that has seeped out of San Francisco in advance of the Expo and it’s got the blogosphere in a tizzy. A few early spyshots of this year’s banners have revealed Apple’s slogan for MacWorld ’08: “2008: There’s something in the air.” What does it mean? Here are two of the more convincing explanations that I’ve heard:

  • MacBook Air: We’ve already heard a million and one rumors about the ultraportable MacBook Pro. What if its soon to be announced name is “MacBook Air”? Of course, you’d tend to think that there would be a reason for such a strange name, besides the unit’s rumored featherweight. Could it be that Apple is planning to add Wireless USB or built-in WWAN? Or could it be another, more forward-looking wireless technology like… 
  • WiMAX: With Sprint set to launch it’s U.S. XOHM WiMAX network in April, the timing is certainly right for a major WiMAX announcement. Could Apple tip the scales in WiMAX’s favor? Some folks are suggesting that Apple very well could announce WiMAX support across its entire portable lineup tomorrow, in partnership with Intel (who, as you know, is all about the WiMAX).

Is an all-WiMAX Mac notebook lineup possible? Yes. Is it likely? No. Here’s why: WiMAX is a totally unproven technology and Apple has relatively little to gain by getting behind it at this early stage. Remember that Apple has often been a slow-mover when it comes to new technologies: 802.11n, USB 2.0 and even Blu-ray (despite the fact that Apple sits on the board of directors of the Blu-ray Disc Association, it still has yet to ship a single Blu-ray compatible Mac). Why? Because Apple doesn’t like to tarnish its image by betting on the losing horse (*cough* Firewire *cough*). Sure, they could surprise us tomorrow but I, for one, am not betting on anything WiMAX.

For more on the last-minute rumors:
– see this Valleywag article
– and this Engadget piece

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