What awaits at Macworld?

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs stole last year's Consumer Electronics Show's thunder when he showed off the iPhone to the crowd at the Macworld Expo. Short of turning water to wine, it's unlikely Jobs will be able to pull off a similar stunner when he takes the podium Tuesday at the annual San-Francisco-based annual trade show.

But he has to announce something, and the rumour mill has no shortage of potential products. The two likeliest candidates are a slimmer, smaller notebook using a solid-state drive and a movie renting service through iTunes's music store. The movie rental service could provide a kick-start to Apple TV, the set-top box Jobs unveiled last year.

Another rumour centres on an iPhone capable of running on a 3G network, although if announced it wouldn't be available until late spring.

Macworld's own speculation say it is more likely any iPhone announcement would be an update, possibly adding Google's My Location feature and/or the ability to control the position of icons on the home screen.

As for Canadian iPhone announcements? RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky told clients and Bloomberg that Apple might announce more carriers this week in places like Canada.

"There's a very good chance that Apple will announce or discuss some kind of other carrier roll-outs, beyond the ones it has done in Europe and the U.S.,'' Abramsky told Bloomberg. "There is definitely very strong demand and interest here.''

That speculative note is the only thing we've seen on that front so far, and last time we checked, Apple still hadn't straightened out that pesky trademark dispute, so we're not holding our breath. But we'll see what Mr. Jobs has to say. He could surprise us.