iPhone nano and New Macbooks - Two Certainties for WWDC 2009?

by Chris Howard Jun 03, 2009

Well, less than a week to go and the rumors have been flying. We know that there will an announcement of iPhone 3.0, but there's a couple of other things I predict we'll see next week that could be just as exciting, namely, a cheap iPhone a.k.a iPhone nano, and an overhaul of the laptop range.


iPhone nano

One rumor gathering steam recently is the 4GB iPhone. This I firmly believe will be the long fabled iPhone nano - even though it may not go by that name/

Most people have assumed an iPhone nano would be a smaller iPhone, but I've long argued that an iPhone nano does not have to be smaller in height or width, just provide less features. For example, no WiFi or GPS.

With strong rumors of a 4GB iPhone to be priced at $99 it looks like we might finally see that feature stripped iPhone for those who don't need all the bells and whistles.

And they are out there. I liked a comment I read on MDN by a reader, montex, who said "I recently met a lady who had never synced her iPhone to a computer and never used any of the iPod functionality, either. So the person who could use a 4GB iPhone exists (even though I think they're weird)."

I really like that last little comment, because we in our insular Apple-mad world forget that there's all these "weirdos" out there who don't want all the thick lashings of cream on their Apple pies.

Plenty of people out there would buy rather a limited smartphone iPhone, rather than the current ultra-smartphone iPhone. Apple will never do a mass-consumer model iPhone. But a feature trimmed iPhone - for those folks who want the usability of an iPhone but not the expense - is a sure thing and it sounds like we're going to see it next week.


New MacBooks

On new MacBooks, I can only speculate on this one as no one else is saying much, with only one rumor circulating about a naming shuffle. 

The MacBook range is currently three models: the white 2.13GHz at US$999, the low-end 2.0GHz unibody at US$1299 and the high-end unibody 2.4GHz at $1599.

With the upgrade last week of the white MacBook, it now almost represents better value than its much dearer 2.0GHz unibody sibling, depending on your needs. It's untenable for Apple to maintain that situation as it will cannibalize sales, especially with people who still need FireWire. 

It's impossible to consider that Apple would hold over releasing a better specced unibody MacBook for announcement at WWDC. Unless a significant overhaul is planned.

The one rumor that has been doing the rounds is a merging of all the unibodies into one line up of MacBook Pros. To me that makes a lot of sense especially if Apple upgrades the specs of the 13" unibody MacBooks to something closer to the MacBook Pros.

It also allows Apple to extend the white MacBook range, hopefully by introducing a 15" model. Laptops are getting more and more popular and it would benefit Apple to broaden its range.

The fact Apple has continued FireWire on the white MacBook hopefully suggests we'll see its return on the unibody MacBooks, whether they are part of the Pro line-up or stay as plain old MacBooks.

I don't think the mere addition of FireWire and CPU, RAM and HDD upgrades is enough for Apple to have held over announcing the unibody MacBooks already. And that's why I'm giving more credence to the rumor they are going to become part of the MacBook Pro lineup.

So, i brief, my expectation (okay, hope) is we'll see:

  • White polycarbonate laptops will be Macbooks.
  • Unibody aluminium laptops will be MacBook Pros.
  • A 15 inch white MacBook at around $1199 with 2.13GHz CPU, 2GB RAM and 250GB HDD.
  • All unibody MacBooks aligned under the MacBook Pro range with the 13" models taking on the FireWire port and with a 2.4GHz, 2GB RAM, 250GB HDD model at around $1499 and a 2.66GHz, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD model at around $1799. Also graphics would likely get a bump to differentiate from the MacBooks.
  • CPU, RAM, and HDD upgrades to existing MacBook Pros

Hopefully these changes will be announced next week, because I've now got access to some money but won't be buying a MacBook until Apple upgrades the unibody MacBooks - even if I have to wait three months.

And I bet I'm not alone, which I think Apple knows too and that's why we'll see those upgrades next week.


  • If these products come out in 20009, we will never see them. Few if any of us are going to live to be older than 18,000.

    Hugmup had this to say on Jun 03, 2009 Posts: 40
  • true…

    also, they’re hardly certainties if you have to put a question mark at the end.  for now, they’re possibilities.

    phil had this to say on Jun 03, 2009 Posts: 1
  • For what I see *at least here in Jland* is that the netbooks are selling very well and that is gonna cause troubles to Apple, I would like to see an MacBookNano -netbook- under $600 USDs. I know there is the MacBookAir and it is cool but Apple will not be able to compete with portables like the Acer Aspire One 150 tagged under $350 and it is capable of running Leopard -I am writing from one.- It would be better if an apple netbook canibalize the MacBook and MacBookPro that leaving that to their competitors.

    tropicoco had this to say on Jun 03, 2009 Posts: 8
  • While I agree it’s better to cannibalize your own sales than to let a competitor do it, Apple doesn’t necessarily have to offer a netbook. If netbooks are mostly stealing PC laptop sales and not hurting Apple much, then introducing a lower cost Mac would actually hurt more than doing nothing.

    Apple tends to go their own way so I don’t expect to see a MacBook nano. Instead I expect to see better value and more obvious customer targeting using traditional Macs combined with increased capabilities in the handheld units.

    Bregalad had this to say on Jun 03, 2009 Posts: 14
  • Thanks, Hugmup, fixed. Though I love the irony because for some things we’d really like Apple to do, we’ll will be waiting til 20009.

    Chris Howard had this to say on Jun 03, 2009 Posts: 1209
  • I’m looking forward to the iPhone 3 stuff.  We know the new software for the most part, but I’m interested in the hardware since I’m probably getting one of these at the end of the summer.

    As for the Macs, I’m pretty much done with Mac hardware and could care less.  Looking forward to Snow Leopard announcements though.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Jun 03, 2009 Posts: 2220
  • I second Beeb’s comment about being done with Apple hardware, and temper it with the fact I couldn’t give a flying fudge about the iPhone. Let’s see them make a good candybar phone instead of something feels like a paperback pamphlet when it’s pressed against your ear.

    evilcat had this to say on Jun 03, 2009 Posts: 66
  • I think the other certainty - given yesterday’s update of Airport Utility - is that something new in the Airport / Time Capsule line is coming too.

    Corpmac had this to say on Jun 04, 2009 Posts: 2
  • The problem with people wishing for the return of Firewire to the unibody MacBooks is that there’s no room on the logic board for a Firewire port.  Find the pictures online of a disassembled unibody machine.  There’s literally no place to put Firewire, unless Apple chooses to eliminate another port or go with another logic board.

    chaos_disorder had this to say on Jun 04, 2009 Posts: 2
  • we might finally see that feature stripped iPhone for those who don’t need all the bells and whistles.
    If you stripped one or two more features from the present Iphone I would think you would be left with a pocket calculator.

    PIP GT had this to say on Jun 04, 2009 Posts: 1
  • Honestly, I am cool with my white Macbook right now.  I am waiting for Apple to integrate touch screen capabilities into their laptops.  That will be worth me dropping the $$ on to tell you the truth.  I will probably upgrade to snow leopard if I can afford it.  But, I think the reality is that the people who get all excited about the unibodies will be crying when the next gen laptops come out with touchscreen capabilites and they can’t buy one cause they just dropped $$ on their new unibody mac pro.  If you don’t think touchscreen is coming then why do you think the glass screen unibodies look strangely like the iPhone/iPod touch screen?  Seems they are easing us into the look of a touch screen laptop.

    jman7171 had this to say on Jun 06, 2009 Posts: 7
  • I’m thinking I’m going to be wrong about MacBooks in the keynote because no one us rumoring this.

    And rumors of Steve hosting a media event on his rerurn in late June could also be when the inevitable MacBook updates get announced.

    Chris Howard had this to say on Jun 06, 2009 Posts: 1209
  • Well, I didn’t need to get cold feet after all. Though I could been a bit bolder in my predictions.

    @chaos_disorder, so now we know how they’ll do Firewire. Rejig the whole thing. Surprising on a design that’s only 9mths old.

    Chris Howard had this to say on Jun 09, 2009 Posts: 1209
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