Macworld: Steve Jobs health "news"! Last minute rumors! Excitement!

We are mere hours away from the perhaps-not-very-exciting Macworld keynote. Remember this feeling of giddy anticipation, Mac fans, as it will be your last, of this particular flavor, anyway. Upcoming keynotes at WWDC, and the infinite number of ad hoc product announcements, will of course be pretty much the same thing, but will lack that certain ... Macworldiness.

The biggest news -- and the news that I feel ickiest dwelling on -- is that Steve Jobs has finally come out and said that yes, he is ill, with a "hormone imbalance," a squishy phrase that could mean that he has diabetes, as a result of his 2004 pancreatic surgery, or really any number of other things. In fact we haven't been told anything specific, except that Jobs says that he and his doctors have a handle on it, that he'll have gained back the weight he so obviously lost by spring, and that (as if we didn't know this) he doesn't want to talk about it anymore. Predictably, some are grumbling that the level of disclosure on Jobs' health doesn't meet his obligations to his shareholders, which assumes a very strong linkage between Jobs' and Apple's health, a subject for another time.

In more fun stuff, the rumor mill is as usual gelling with the stuff we've expected. For instance, the Mac mini refresh seems to have been accidentally confirmed by a third-party company's press release, which might imply radically increased storage capacity on the little buggers; a new graphics chipset, from NVIDIA, is also apparently in the works, which doesn't bode well for my wallet when it comes to my home media PC plans. There are also a few late-emerging rumors, which often turn out to be true; 17-inch Macbook refreshes may be coming, with the battery sealed in place Macbook Air style. Many people are griping about this; and while I've never outright replaced a notebook battery, I have had to pop mine out to hard reset the laptop once in a while. Am I the only one?

Another last-minute rumor involves the de-DRMing of the iTunes store, at least for music, which would be fantastic. I've actually defected to the Amazon MP3 store lately because, you know, why not? It's the same stuff, it's only fractionally less convenient to buy, and it's DRM free; I could be lured back, though, even in the face of the variable per-track pricing that is supposedly the trade-off from the major labels on this.

Sadly, your humble blogger did not have the wherewithal to voyage to San Francisco to cover this madhouse in person; I'll be refreshing my browser desperately throughout the keynote, just like you. Unlike you, though, I'll also be feverishly writing a blog post, which will be up as soon after the keynote's 10:30 am Pacific Time conclusion as possible. Stay tuned!

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