Industry insiders estimate the wow factor leading up to this year's annual conference gives the Cupertino, Calif.-based company millions of dollars in free advertising for the year.
Last year Apple rolled out the iPhone, along with Leopard, its latest Macintosh operating system and iPod updates. This year, bloggers suggest Apple's CEO will unveil a new advertisement or perhaps two, a mini Mac, and agreements with multiple studios and TV networks to distribute content through iTunes.
Some analysts agree that the heavily rumored products are pretty likely to materialize. Pacific Crest Securities Senior Analyst Andy Hargreaves says Apple enthusiasts can expect an ultra-portable PC, possibly with a touch screen and a cellular modem, similar to the approximately 2.3-pound Sony Vaio.
"We may see an upgraded Apple TV service with high-definition capabilities," he says. "I'm also expecting a software upgrade for the iPhone with improved enterprise functionalities."
Aside from Apple, this year's event--which takes place this week--features products and demonstrations from more than 450 companies that complement Macs and iPods. More than 100 will exhibit their wares at Macworld for the first time.
Among those expected to announce new products are Belkin International, eMedia Music, H&R Block, MacSpeech, Microsoft, MultiAd, Nexsan, Rage Software, Ricoh Americas, Skype, SMART Technologies TheBrain Technologies, and ZAP.
Microsoft will launch Office 2008 for Mac, the first Universal Office version created for both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs. The redesigned Office 2008 lets consumers create and share compatible documents between Macs and PCs.
Adobe, which unveiled Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac OS X on Thursday, will demonstrate the product commonly referred to as "Photoshop Lite" at Macworld. The company has begun to take preorders for the easy-to-maneuver-through software application. The newest Mac version, already available on the Windows platform, won't ship until sometime between April and June.
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters plans to introduce the HomeDock Deluxe 3.0 with on-TV navigation for iPod. The graphical interface allows consumers to easily navigate through iPod content on their TV screen. The product now features high-definition video output and digital audio for the ultimate home theater iPod experience.
Samsung Electronics America expects to roll out the XL30, a 30-inch LED backlit monitor designed to get the most out of color critical applications. The XL30 aims to support users, such as graphic artists, who demand extremely accurate color temperature, linearly color tracking brightness uniformity and color reproduction.
The show also highlights two-day training classes on popular Mac products such as Final Cut Studio, Aperture, Adobe Creative Suite and Filemaker.
Class sessions explore Apple's new Mac OS X version 10.5 Leopard operating system; MacIT sessions specifically for IT professionals deploying Apple technology, and the debut of "A Day At The Office: Microsoft Office 2008."