7 for 7: Last Chance Expectations and Predictions for the Apple Tablet

This is the seventh and last in a series of 7 posts in the 7 days prior to Apple’s January 27 media event in which I explore various possibilities for an Apple Tablet and other potential announcements.

Well, here we are. One more day until Apple holds its Latest Creation event, when all the rumor and speculation about an Apple Tablet will be subject to scrutiny. I won’t be left out. Over the last seven days (including today), I’ve tried to give some thoughtful analysis about what to expect from Apple at tomorrow’s announcement, so you’ll soon know how successful I was. Instead of recapping the previous six days, which you can access here, I’m taking a different approach with my final predictions.

If I were to put myself in Steve’s shoes and outline a keynote for this event, I think it would look something like this.

  • Mobile: Today we’re here to talk about our mobile products, and we’ve got an amazing new product to share with you. I think you’ll be blown away.
  • Macbook: Record sales in the quarter, strong growth in consumer/retail and education, outpacing the competition. New models with faster processors, more memory, more storage, and more multi-touch. Available immediately.
  • iPhone/iPod touch: Crazy growth domestically and internationally. Far exceeding our wildest expectations. Totally reinvented the smartphone market. Massive market share and growing. New hardware models in June. iPhone: better camera, more storage, support for Verizon, same pricing. iPod Touch: camera, video, more storage, same pricing.
  • App Store: Billions and billions served. Here are some great examples (show a few including games and apps with hardware additions like Square). Really terrific developer community. We’ve let you down. Here’s how we’re going to do it better. More explicit guidelines about what we’ll approve and what we won’t. Decreasing lead times to get apps launched. Better communication with reviewers via new web tool including chat.
  • iPhone OS: Announcing new version. Better overall performance (speed + battery life), new navigation options (integrated homescreen, landscape view of icons, easier way to jump between apps), multitasking, streamlined settings management. Free upgrade for iPhone, $15 for iPod Touch. Available to developers today, consumers in June.
  • MobileMe: Over x millions of users. Great way to keep devices in sync, especially contacts and calendars. Innovative features like Find My iPhone. Expanding MobileMe to “your iLife in the cloud.” Store music, movies and photos by syncing with iTunes and iPhoto. Backup that can be accessed and streamed from anywhere. Now includes feature set of iWork.com, with browser-based editing of all file types. Available immediately.
  • iTunes, iPhone, Apple TV, MobileMe: Great ecosystem for accessing digital content. Complete rethinking of how they all work together. Easier sharing and seamless movement among devices. Software updates will being appearing soon.
  • Our Latest Creation: iPad tablet computer. 10″ multi-touch display, very thin, just one button. Feels great in your hand, believe me. Beautiful, isn’t it? Incredible way to enjoy digital content: movies, music and photos, but also ebooks and digital periodicals. Solutions for all sectors of publishing (show examples: NYTimes, People, Newsweek, textbook). Front-facing webcam for iChat video conferencing. Combo docking station + keyboard. New OS X based user interface. Apple Developer Tools (Xcode, etc.) + new emulator. Support for all existing apps, plus updated app spec to optimize for tablet. Available in March in two models: Wi-Fi only for $899, 3G data with 2-year contract with AT&T or Verizon.

If this prediction is even remotely close, Apple will have hit a home run. How will I do? Check back after the event for my 7 for 7 recap and scorecard to see how I did. In the meantime, here is the full complement of 7 for 7 posts.