Who are we kidding? WinHEC will help to put into perspective everything that Intel has been touting at IDF. It's still going to be Microsoft that puts out the software that the next generation of hardware needs to convince us that we need that new system, or some cool peripheral. At WinHEC, unlike IDF, we should be able to see Matrox, 3Dlabs, and hopefully more of ATI. We know that Nvidia is going to be ubiquitous by virtue of X-Box, and that product is going to be something that will either make or break Microsoft's consumer strategy, and by association, Intel's plans for the home, too.
While we can get into digital photography, and digital video as been "high-bandwidth" applications that will make Pentium 4 palatable, it's the gamers and the enthusiasts who drive high-end adoption. If the high-end user says, we don't need no P4. You can bet that you don't need a P4 for anything but vanity purposes. Yeah, there are people out there who still think it is their duty to upgrade on the basis of what Microsoft and Intel put out every year. We certainly hope those people didn't fall for Windows ME, and we can't tell what they're going to make of the immediate benefits of Whistler.
We are also very keenly aware that DirectX, and the 3D graphics portion of Microsoft's strategy has been pretty much handed on a plate to Nvidia. Good or bad, it's going to be worth seeing what "other" graphics companies have to say. Intel seems to have abandoned 3D graphics as cornerstone of its high-end strategy. Who can blame the company when it so badly wants to be Cisco, and IBM.
The second event to look forward to is
So, we shouldn't take everything that IDF threw out us, and accept it as gospel. This is Intel's wish list, or if you are an OEM, "guidance" on platform issues. The first big thrust of Intel's strategy on the client is The Extended PC - a nice way telling you that if you are not going to fall in line and upgrade your hardware the way Intel wants you to then, the company will go after all those nifty gadgets that you attach to it.