Tight-lipped Apple Computer Inc. has stirred up a storm of speculation about new products ahead of its major trade show next week by promising to top the best that Internet rumor sites have dreamed up.
Frustrated and excited fans wonder if Apple is manipulating rumor-mongers it has often ignored, as well as whether the company on Jan. 7 can surprise the faithful, many of whom were disappointed by the relatively light set of product announcements at the mid-2001 show.
The Apple Web site, http://www.apple.com, has teased for days that great things are in store, promising Wednesday a Macworld San Francisco show, "Beyond the rumor sites. Way beyond."
The main speculation ahead of the show on sites like http://www.appleinsider.com is that Chief Executive Steve Jobs will announced flat-panel LCD screens and a new design for the low-end iMac desktop personal computer introduced in 1998. There was the same speculation ahead of the mid-2001 show.
Jobs has pushed his keynote ahead by a day to Tuesday and now plans to speak for a full two hours, increasing interest.
Apple rumor and news sites serve a huge audience of Macintosh enthusiasts hungry for gossip about the latest sensation by the company known for both its inventiveness and secretiveness.
In the past year, the sites have often managed to guess at the broad outline of upcoming product launches, including the October launch of the iPod, a portable, digital music player.
Some expect Apple to announce its next-generation G5 microchip, although http://www.thinksecret.com predicts just an upgrade to the G4 chip that would handily surpasses the clock speed barrier of 1 gigahertz, or 1 billion cycles per second.
A faster chip on the high-end desktop and a new iMac would complement the make-over of Apples notebook line last year.