MacTech's Fearless Predictions for '06... and Beyond!
Volume Number: 22 (2006)
Issue Number: 1
Column Tag: Review
MacTech's Fearless Predictions for '06... and Beyond!
by MacTech Staff
We thought it would be fun to poll our team of Mac aficionados and see what they're thinking regarding the near term future of the Mac marketplace. So we asked our team of editors, contributors and friends what they thought would be the most important Mac marketplace developments in 2006. In no particular order, here's what we are looking for in the next 12 months. Hey, we know we're going to be wrong, but what the heck. This is always fun to do, if for no other reason, just to see how wrong we are!
It's an iPod World!
Not surprisingly, many of our predictions involve this amazingly successful area of Apple's business. Here are a few we found particularly interesting:
- I can't wait to see what Steve Jobs has up his sleeve for the iPod in 2006. My bet is that we'll see a slow trickle of entertainment deals for the iTunes Video Store. The big question is, will outfits like Sony be willing to fork over their considerable intellectual property to a company they consider a competitor in many respects. At the very least, I expect the market for DVD->iPod Video ripping software to continue to evolve. Question is, will the iPod ever support an external cartridge format, a la the PSP UMD, so I can bring a baggie full of movies with me on the plane?
- My long shot prediction for 2006 is a GPS capability for the iPod. How cool would it be if you could use your iPod to find your way from your hotel to that new Sushi restaurant you read about? Of course, I'd want to equip mine with a depth/fish finder and permanently mount it on my boat, but that's another story
- In an effort to get in on the corporate "be seen with iPod" craze, Budweiser is planning on introducing a beer hat that holds two cans on the sides and has a pocket for an iPod over the visor. There are still camps within the marketing group championing either "earBud" or "iBud" for the name of the device, but it is sure to be a hit come Spring Break 2006. The cap also sports a small remote attached to the main siphon tube for controlling the iPod with minimal effort...
- My prediction is that Apple will equip all their iPods with On*Star to provide safety and security to help protect users while listening to their iPods. It would be cool if Apple could monitor your iPod's performance and alert you: "Hello, Mr. Sobsey? We've been alerted that your iPod is starting to experience a minor performance issue. Would you like me to make an appointment for you?"
- Additionally, Apple will also team up with Life Alert and offer this service to iPod users. This would be great for everyone, especially if someone has a medical condition and needs emergency services.
- Other possibilities would be to have LoJack, so if your iPod is stolen police could track it down. And since RIM is having a terrible time in court regarding its Blackberry (as of this writing), iPods will replace Blackberries throughout the US for all IT professionals and management.
- iPod: The iPod will....ummmm....get better!
Intel Based Macs
Another area people are very interested in is the impact Macs carrying Intel CPUs on their motherboards will have in the market. Here's a few very interesting predictions on this important area.
- Soon after the release of x86-based Macs, the Darwine project will enable Intel-based Macs to run Windows applications at near-native speeds
- Apple will implement Linux binary compatibility in OS X on x86, as Sun did with Solaris, thereby enabling all those cool ELF-based binaries to run on OS X without porting and/or re-compilation.
- Doom 3 on OS X for Intel will FINALLY run as fast as it does on Windows
- Under increased pressure to differentiate themselves from commodity x86 vendors, Apple will expand and innovate their hardware offerings to appeal to key market segments such as Gamers, Creative Professionals, and Scientists with multi-segment products such as Apple's version of an affordable stereoscopic 3D visualization goggles/glasses
- The top of the line Macs for 2006 will be have at least 4 dual-core processors x86 processors by the end of year
- Apple will initially be frustrated by its relative inexperience with enterprising hackers on the x86 platform who will be relentless in their efforts to hack Mac OS X to run on commodity x86 hardware as has been the case (I hear) with pre-release versions of Tiger x86. By year's end Apple will have addressed the issue, possibly working with Intel, to develop increasingly complex and irreversible hardware and software techniques to prevent pirating of OS X on standard x86 boxes.
- One of the biggest product launches for 2006 will be the first run of Intel-based Macs. I'll be very interested in seeing if the lag between desktop to laptop is less with Intel than with IBM/Moto, where we still haven't seen a G5 laptop.
- The Intel Macs will go off without a hitch. Transition will be as seamless as 0x0 to PPC.
- The PPC Macs: PPC owners will gripe as the PPC OS builds fall behind the x86 version from time to time.
Generally Interesting Stuff
To wrap things up, here are some interesting (and in some cases humerous!) thoughts that really couldn't be easily categorized, but we still thought it would be fun to share these with our readers!
- In the past, the squirmishes around competing technologies have been numerous but small: emacs vs. vi, ruby vs. python, Firefox vs. Safari, etc. (This is because while everyone cares about some battle, only a small minority of people care about any particular battle.) This will change radically in 2006 when the "Stack Wars" break out. By creating (and naming) a stack of technologies, you can create a large group of people who will argue rabidly in favor of emacs/Python/PostgreSQL/Linux/Gtk+. These people will have distain for another large group who will argue just as fervently for Xcode/Ruby/MySQL/Mac/Cocoa. By the end of 2008, there will only be one argument between two stacks, and everyone will be on one side or the other. The argument will end abruptly when we run out of electricity. There will be a brief silence, and then someone will yell, "You're an idiot; the abacus sucks! Look at what I can do with my slide rule!"
- Apple's Xserve line will continue to exploit the raw computing power of IBM's Power architecture, whose FPU performance has made it a platform of choice for cost-conscious (and not so cost conscious) large scale computational clusters. Apple will extend their cocoa Xgrid API, allowing developers greater flexibility and potential in developing distributed computation solutions for the Creative Professional market. Expect initial offerings to follow the Seti@Home models using screen-savers to render computationally expensive task such as rendering of video, followed by increasingly complex models, which depend on tightly coupled inter-node communication for effective processing and that take advantage of the increased presence of low latency network interconnects.
- Apple will assume for video the preeminent spot it now has for audio. It will enter and dominate the set-top box market
- As a result, Apple stock will pass the $150 mark by 31 December 2006
- Apple Computer will buy Apple Records and put an end to the lawsuits
- In overwhelmingly positive response to the incredibly valuable content found each and every month in the "new" MacTech, our subscriber base will continue to grow and increase by at least 50%
See you next year!!
The MacTech Staff are a group of hard workers whose goal it is to bring you great new information on all things related to the Macintosh.