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. []