MacWorld-SF 06

Since I wrote some last year about the then newly announced products at MacWorld, I thought I might post some thoughts on this year’s as well. I stated last year’s theme was affordability (with the announcement of the Mac mini and the iPod shuffle). I’d say this year’s theme is more like play catch up .

FM Tuner for iPod

Yawn. Radio is dead. Plus, aren’t there existing third party solutions here or even portable media players with integrated FM tuners?

PhotoCasting in iPhoto

This comes across as Apple trying to push .mac1 and iLife as Web2.0 hip services. I’m not saying the functionality shouldn’t be there, it’s just that it always has been with a Flickr account and a 3rd party (free) iPhoto plug-in. Getting some tighter integration will be nice, especially for those who just want a simple and intuitive place to do all of this. However, no earth is shattered with this announcement. Also, could that be a more lame name? Apple didn’t even create podcasting, so to use photocasting feels very "me too."

iMovie & Garageband – Now With Podcasting!

Again with the catching up to podcasting (remember adding it to iTunes 9 months after it caught on?). I’ve only recently gotten into playing with iMovie and for the most part, it was pretty robust. However, adding the ability to work with multiple files and also video podcasting is a nice feature. Not all projects need to be full-length feature films destined for DVD and this sort of recognizes that fact.

I confess I have zero experience with GarageBand, but adding podcasting here is another nice feature. Integrating iChat for interviews while recording is also nice. However, I wonder if phone-recording laws apply and if there’s come cute pop-up warning.

iWeb

Okay, here comes Apple’s biggest catch-up yet: iWeb for sharing stuff online. Kind of a easy link between the rest of iLife and .mac (or presumably whatever other online place you have to park stuff). Again, people have been doing this on macs all along with plug-ins and by virtue of some know-how. Now Apple steps in and ties it together for those who want it really simple. Nothing wrong with any of that, it just should have been here earlier. Now it just feels as though they wish they’d though of Flickr, or podcasting, or Blogger, or whatever.

I’m not trying to come down on the software, as Apple typically writes nice software that is very easy to use. I just am surprised at Apple’s "not designed here" attitude that seems much more like what I expect from Sony or Microsoft.

iWork ’06

Apparently they have finally realized that some of us use spreadsheets (a lot!) and have added (at least) tables with calculations2 within iWork. Of course this isn’t worth too much of Jobs’ time in his key note. Doesn’t speak much for iWork as a office suite (or for doing work on a Mac), does it?

New iMac – Now with more Intel!

Pretty much the same machine, but now with a dual-core Intel processor. People have been guessing they’d release new machines with Intel chips every day since the first announcement last June. I’d say this is much earlier than I had figured they’d do it, though. I was truly expecting at least a year (June ’06) for them to roll these out. According to Intel, this is now 2-3x faster than the iMac G5. I suppose they made Apple eat their video-tape of that old burning Intel bunny suit commercial. The really amazing thing here, in my opinion, is that OS X 10.4.4 is completely native on the Intel chip, as are the new "universal" programs (iLife ’06 and iWork ’06). Of course, you’ll have to pay $49 to upgrade your old Pro apps for a universal disc. I suppose that’s a drop in the bucket if you’re shelling out for a new machine and for all that pricey software (albeit, very nice software that makes me drool).

Rosetta is also on the Intel machine, but does that just mean that your old PowerPC machine apps will run fine (or, at least marginally okay)?

The New MacBook Pro – Laptops, now with more Intel!

Of course this is the major announcement of the day and it is, without a doubt, significant. The only "catch up" aspect of these new machines is that this is probably where Apple hoped to be with their laptops about six months ago, in terms of speed and power consumption. However, I think these are (going to be, since they don’t ship until next month) the premium in laptops, if not computers, period. If anyone was expecting Apple to start with the low end machines and work their way up, they completely busted that theory.

Well, that’s all for my blogging about the news from Apple-land. I was following the key note address from Steve Jobs via MacRumors.com during my lunch break, but that’s over now and it’s time to get back to my day job. I’m very impressed with the new Apple machines but a bit underwhelmed with the software announcments. I’m always curious to hear what my mac lovin’ friends and family think, so feel free to let me know.

Engadget has some photos from the presentation. Still waiting on Apple to update their site. They just did, and several of the pages now have some Quicktime (?) movie that crashes FireFox. Great.

  1. 2006-01-12 Update: George Hotelling has some much more thorough and clear thoughts on iLife and .mac, and also points out that .mac is required for photocasting. That really makes this a proprietary system, on the publishing end, and of little interest to me, personally. []
  2. Following the link, you’ll note that you’re only allowed to do simple calculations within the table. I’m not sure what "simple" limits you to, but I doubt it’s anything very grand. []