What New Products Will Apple Announce Today?


At 10 a.m. PST today, Apple is holding a press conference. Like all Apple press conferences, this one has been talked about for days and sparked a lot of speculation on the web about what new products and services will and will not be announced. Here, we've put together a roundup of some of the rumors that have received the most ink. Alexis has a speaking engagement in Denver and I'll be out of the office at a Brookings event during the conference, but we'll follow up with more later should we deem it necessary.


The image above is the one sent out to members of the press when the conference was first announced. As most Apple operating system versions have been named after a big cat, the assumption is that the lion peeking out from behind the logo represents the new 10.7 OS.

But what will make this operating system different from previous ones? Strangely, it seems that the new OS hasn't leaked outside of Apple and so everything people are discussing now is entirely speculative. There are rumors about a touch interface, incorporating cloud computing into the core of the operating system, tabbed windows in Finder, revamped user interfaces, free MobileMe and a new approach to Dashboard widgets.


Seeing as sections have already been added to Apple's official Discussions page labeled "iMovie '11,""GarageBand '11" and "iPhoto '11," it's considered a given that the company will be rolling out the new iLife Suite. A Polish-based blog named Spider's Web broke this news early this morning. 


Also on the Discussions page, Apple has opened a new thread for "MBA (Need official name)," which many assume is a placeholder for the next MacBook Air. Engadget published a post early this morning that claims a trusted source was able to get his or her hands on one of the new computers and put together a basic specifications sheet for the site. Some details: A smaller, 11.6-inch display; 2GB of memory; no optical drive; trackpad matches that of the newest MacBook Pros; 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor. There are also rumors that a second, 13.3-inch version could be released.

The real question now is what the new MacBook Air will cost. An aggressively priced model would allow Apple to compete with smaller netbooks from HP, Dell, Sony and other companies. But is Apple already counting on the iPad to do that? The name of today's event, Back to the Mac, suggests that Apple wants to return some hype and media coverage to its larger computers as they've been all but forgotten with the release of the iPad and newest iPhone model. Entering a second product into the portable computing market would be an easy way to accomplish that.


That's the name of the final section added to Apple's Discussions page. Could it be a placeholder for the new operating system or does Apple have another new product or service that it plans to announce today? During Apple's earnings call the other day, Jobs said that "We still have a few surprises remaining for the rest of the 2010 calendar year." Ball's in your court, Steve.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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