Macworld 2009: Rumor Roundup

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Steve Jobs may not be coming to Macworld Expo in San Francisco next week, but that hasn't stopped the Apple rumor-mill from charging ahead at full speed. This year is Apple's last at the storied trade show, and many are hoping the little company from Cupertino will go out with a bang.

As we get ready for Apple Senior V.P. of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller's keynote address on January 6, we present you with the top 5 Macworld rumors.

iPhone Nano: It's back. We first brought you this rumor about a scaled down, super cheap iPhone in July 2007, and not much has changed since then. The analysts still say it's inevitable, the critics still say it's unlikely, and the fanboys are still panting over mock ups and screaming, "yes!" However, this time there might be a little more to it. Vaja--a company that specializes in protective cases for mobile devices--briefly added an iPhone Nano category to its Web site, where you could pre-order a case for this non-existent Apple toy. Vaja has since erased mention of the iPhone Nano, but the slip up has put the rumor mill on overdrive. Also, iPhone Nano clones have already been spotted in Asia. I guess the knock off kings were getting too impatient and forged ahead without their inspiration.

iMac Upgrades: Another hot rumor is that a new iMac will come out with a magnesium-aluminum alloy chassis, a new cooling system, and a 65W, quad-core chip set. This one is an under-the-hood extravaganza. and some say the new chip set is designed with Snow Leopard--the next version of OSX--in mind. The new OS is supposed to optimize multi-processor cores.

32GB iPhone: one of the downsides of spending all that money on an iPhone is its low storage capabilities. A 32GB iPhone could change all that. There has been a lot of speculation that the availability of the $99 refurbished 8GB iPhone means Apple is clearing out its inventory to prepare for the 32GB. We'll see.

Picasa for Mac: Google is planning a big presence at this year's Macworld according to the company's blog. Picasa is a good photo storage program, and a Mac version has been a long time coming. Who knows? Maybe they'll pull out Google Chrome for Mac while they're at it.

iPhone Elite or Pro: This one is more fantasy than rumor. Gizmodo's mock-up of an iPhone with a physical keyboard and a juiced up camera has a lot of people applauding the concept. But let's put this one to rest right now: Apple put a lot of engineering and marketing effort into marginalizing the QWERTY keyboard, so it's doubtful they'd rethink that decision. As Steve Jobs said at the All Things D Conference in May 2007, "Once you've used this magical display, there's no going back--it's unbelievable."

So, will this year's Macworld Expo meet our expectations? Will Apple surprise us and go off in an unexpected direction? There's only one way to find out: Phil Schiller's keynote address will take place from 9:00 to 10:30 AM PST on Tuesday, January 6. Be sure to check in with PC World for live blog coverage of the event. Until then we'll keep the rumors coming.

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