The Macworld Conference begins today in San Francisco, and the Macworld Expo opens tomorrow morning with Steve Jobs' keynote speech, where he customarily talks about everything Apple has done over the past year, then he utters the phrase280_apple_macworld_2.jpg everyone is waiting for: "One more thing..." when he then announces Apple's Next Big Thing. What's it gonna be this year? No one outside the company knows for sure, since the mystique is part of the hype. The publicity generated by the secrecy and speculation are worth more than its weight in gold for Apple. But there are plenty of predictions.

iTunes movie downloads. No real surprise here. Apple has made deals with 20th Century Fox and Disney already, and are in negotiations with Warner Bros. and Paramount. Movies are expected to rent for $3.99 for a 24-hour download. Apple hopes that movies from iTunes will boost sales of the Apple TV set-top box that transfers movies from your computer to your TV.

Subnotebook, a smaller, thinner version of the Macbook laptops. Forbes guesses a 12" to 13" screen and a price tage of around $1,500. Which is only twice what I paid for my entire Macintosh desktop setup.

3G iPhone. For a year now, Apple AT&T has said the next generation iPhones with faster 3G data service will be here in early 2008. Macworld would be as good a place as any to announce them. Just another reason to regret waiting in line for days to be one of the first to pay $500 for a first-generation iPhone.

Other possibilities are a touch-screen Tablet PC, advances in Apple TV, new software for the iPhone, and a new docking mechanism to insert a notebook into the iMac.

Engadget will be liveblogging the keynote speech Tuesday morning at this link.