With its regular keynote address at MacWorld Expo consigned to the dustbin of history all bets are off as to when Apple will lay down new product in 2010.
However, we'd expect them to start arriving in late January. Here is what we think you're in store for from Apple next year.
1. The Apple Tablet
The consensus amongst the industry is that the arrival of Apple's tablet device in 2010 is as inevitable as England making a hash of the first round of the World Cup. February is the most touted date for the Jesus Tablet.
"The new touch-sensitive device Apple is working on will have a screen that may be up to 10 inches diagonally. It will connect to the internet like the iPod Touch - probably without phone capability but with access to Apple's online stores", said the Financial Times (free registration required).
We're looking at a device that is essentially a super-sized iPod touch, capable of acting as an entertainment centre, web browser and email client. Excited? You should be, this is going to be huge.
2. iPhone 4G
Just to be clear, we're talking about a next generation iPhone here, not 4G broadband. The exciting news is that Apple is in the process of trialling the next generation iPhone.
The developer of the iPhone app iBart noticed an iPhone labeled 3,1 in their PinchMedia analytics logs. The identifier "iPhone3,1" appeared in Pandav's usage logs this November, and doesn't match any shipping iPhone (the last iPhone released, the iPhone 3GS, has the identifier "iPhone2,1".
The iPhone 4G release date and features haven't been announced, but we'd expect something much later than February (no point clashing with the iTablet, and June and July have seen previous iPhone releases). We expect more storage and perhaps a multi-core processor and Wii-like sensor?
The latest iPhone 4G rumours suggest a release date of June 2010, and that the phone will sport a dual core processor. Other current rumours include a removable and longer lasting battery, a front-facing video camera, an OLED screen and an improved camera.
3. Revamped Mac Pro
Apple followers will already know that the new Quad-Core i5 and i7 processors from Intel have featured in Apple's iMac range, but forget Quad-Core computing, Intel's new Xeon "Gulftown" processor offers 6-Core processing.
It will be sold under the name Core i9, and the rumour (from Apple Insider and The Mac Observer is that we could see it debuting in a revamped Mac Pro as early as first quarter 2010. Since it offers a reported 50% performance boost over quad-core chips there's a real reason to be excited about it.
"If paired with another chip, as Apple usually does in its high-end workstations, the processors will offer 12 physical and 24 logical cores." said Apple Insider.
4. iPod touch with video
The spectacular non-appearance of an iPod touch with a camera was 2009's biggest let down for Apple fans. Everybody was ready for one, and cases even appeared on the market, but Apple didn't deliver.
It has to make that right in 2010. Already the rumours from an "inside source" are stating that we can expect an iPod touch with a camera in the first quarter, and this time we believe them.
POINT AND SHOOT: The iPod touch needs a camera, and Apple has to deliver in 2010 [image credit: Cult of Mac]
5. iTunes offers streaming music service
With its hands on Lala's engineers (who have already built a neat streaming music service) we'd expect to see some sort of streaming music subscription service coming to iTunes in 2010.
But will it work over 3G on your iPhone? That will depend on the carrier, and AT&T is already feeling a little overstretched.
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