Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Macoid Heaven

Yesterday was Apple CEO Steve Jobs' Keynote address at Macworld. After the last three months of rumors flying back and forth, there were many expecting great things from this “Stevenote.”

Intel, to be exact. Many were expecting the announcement that Apple would ship its first computers with Intel processors inside.

While I consider myself a fan of OS X, as well as of the computers that Apple makes, I have never seen a Keynote address by Jobs. So, even though I already knew what was going to be announced I surfed over to Apple's website to check out the QuickTime stream of the address.

In the past I worked with a company that organized events such as the Macworld Conference. We dealt with all the staging, sound, lights, video, and even coaching of CEO's speeches. I have seen a lot of new product introductions, and even more speeches by various CEOs.

Aside from the products, I did not notice anything unusual about Steve's style. Possibly, though, that is what makes him so unusual. This address was about the products; by forcing the audience's attention away from himself, and onto the company's products, the keynote covered a lot of ground in a (relatively) short amount of time.

He demoed the software himself, and clearly had been well-prepared for the demos (something I have seen some CEO's neglect).

In the area of software:

  • iLife '06 looks really good with the addition of iWeb to create, and publish various types of websites without using HTML, or other programming languages.
  • iPhoto also got what looks to be a really good upgrade. I would like to see it run on my computer, though, considering some of the performance issues the current version has. That said, the interface looks vastly improved.
  • GarageBand has some cool new features for podcasters.
  • iDVD and iMovie are still cool, and got a few new features as well.
  • iWork had some updates--but not the looked-for spreadsheet app (possibly named “Numbers”)
  • OS X (10.4.4) released as a free download
Also released, were the first Intel-equipped Macs:
  • The iMac: Same form-factor as the last version, just duo-core Intel inside (with no badge on the outside!!!). Its fast, very fast.
  • The MacBook Pro. This monicker replaces PowerBook, but the form factor remains much the same, with the addition of an iR port on the front for the Apple Remote, and Front Row. Also, they added an iSight camera to the upper bezel of the screen--genius. This machine is up to 5x faster than the last version of the PowerBook. Also has no “Intel Inside” badge on the outside.
With these products Apple may not be set to take over the world, but they definitely seem to be jostling for a better market share in the PC world. They need to work on pricing, though, which still seems a bit high.

Some fans of the PowerBook are bemoaning the name “MacBook Pro.” I do not think its great, but I have always thought that PowerBook was a bit awkward for a product name. I am not saying that MacBook Pro is better, but--it is different (I am still trying to decide if I like it or not).

It looks like it will be a good year for Apple, as long as they keep the quality of the products up, and the prices as low as possible. I am curious how soon the new desktops will be unveiled, and what kind of speed they will have. I guess I'll just have to wait, but then, I don't have money for a new computer anyway, so I guess it doesn't matter anyway.

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