Macworld preview: thin Mac, no 3G iPhone, maybe movie rentals, says analyst

December 17, 2007, 2:23 PM UTC

What does Apple (AAPL) have in store for Macworld? Four weeks before Steve Jobs’ Jan. 15 keynote, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has offered his best guess. The report to clients he issued today hews pretty closely to conventional wisdom, but provides a handful of new details.

  • Macintosh: Munster expects that in addition to updates across the Mac line Jobs will introduce that long-awaited thin Mac with an 11″ to 13″ screen, 64 GB of NAND-based solid state memory and (maybe) a iPhone-like multitouch touchpad. Price: somewhere between the $1,099 MacBook and the $1,999 MacBook Pro.
  • iPhone: Apple could up the storage to 16 GB while maintaining the $399 price point, but it’s too early for the 3G iPhone 2, says Munster. He now expects that phone in May or June 2008 (His earlier predictions had pegged it for sometime between Sept. and Nov.)
  • iTunes: “We also expect Apple to announce new content partnerships with one or more movie studios, which may involve the launch of iTunes movie rentals,” Munster writes. “We believe there is a 50% chance the download service is announced at Macworld, and a 90% chance by mid 2008.”

Meanwhile, UBS analyst Ben Reitzes has issued a bullish report based on a survey of more than 30 stores in which his research team found Mac demand “outpacing prior expectations.”

“Even with prospects for a slowing economy,” he writes, “we believe Mac demand can keep going strong with new products that we have detected in the supply chain. Given higher margins for the ‘Mac ecosystem,’ including software – we are raising estimates.”

For more on the UBS report, see AppleInsider here.