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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 January 2006, 15:29 GMT
Rumours fly about Apple's plans
Steve Jobs launching iPod Nano
The announcement of the iPod Nano surprised many
As Apple fans gather in San Francisco for the annual Macworld conference, speculation is rife about what exactly founder Steve Jobs will announce.

He will kick off the conference with a keynote speech on the opening day - 10 January - and, as usual the event is cloaked in secrecy.

The buzz this time around is likely to be around computers, analysts agree.

An Intel-powered Mac Mini, iBook or PowerBook are all being touted as possible announcements from Mr Jobs.

Apple is currently shifting away from the PowerPC chip it has used for years to chipsets built by Intel.

Wowing audiences

There is so much buzz around his presentations and Steve Jobs likes to surprise so it is likely his will have something up his sleeve to wow the audience
Nate Elliott, Jupiter Research

Speculating about what will be announced has become a regular pastime of the numerous websites dedicated to all things Apple but it is not an easy task.

"It is more often proven wrong than right when it comes to trying to second-guess Apple," said Jupiter analyst Nate Elliott.

In the past, the Apple co-founder has announced things no-one had previously guessed at, sometimes leaving it until the very end of the presentation.

"There is so much buzz around his presentations and Steve Jobs likes to surprise so it is likely his will have something up his sleeve to wow the audience," said Mr Elliott.

One such surprise was the announcement of the iPod Nano in September last year. Following that, there was feverish speculation about his October presentation when, to less surprise, the video iPod was launched.

Digital entertainment will certainly not be off the agenda this time around and analysts are expecting a raft of new content deals, with the possibility of full-length feature films becoming available via Apple's iTunes music store.

"Video is certain to be central to Apple's pitch at the Macworld conference," said Josh Bernoff, an analyst with research firm Forrester.

He predicted that Apple is preparing for a huge shake-up of the video downloads market with the launch its own set-top box in 2006.

"It won't happen at Macworld but later this year Apple will create a new set-top device - call it Apple Vision - that brings the internet and video downloads to the TV," he said.

Some analysts are predicting Mr Jobs will announce changes to the iPod shuffle - launched at last year's expo - including increased capacity and a possible range of new colours.

Others suggest a new hard-disk-drive based iPod could be on the cards.

Wilder rumours swirling around the net include the possibility of an Apple plasma TV.

Macworld runs until 13 January in San Francisco.

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