Sunday, August 12, 2007

New Mac Stuff - No Ultraportable Again :-(

Well, last Tuesday, you probably all know, Apple had a press event and released all kinds of goodies. I somehow stayed awake for most of the blog feeds, despite lengthy feature demos with little or no running commentary. MacNN and Engadget had the best live feeds, with Engadget's photos giving it the crown. MacNN's started well and updated more frequently initially, but it pooped out halfway and had to be manually refreshed at one point. For whatever reason, MacRumors didn't do a live blog this time. I'll review what was announced, and give you my take:

1. New iMacs
The good - Thinner screens, new keyboards, more ecofriendly glass front and aluminum covers, new slim keyboards, same price.
The bad - No info on whether these use less electricity, wireless versions of keyboards are MORE EXPENSIVE ($79 vs $49) and smaller because they LACK A NUMBER PAD. WTF. The 17" iMac is now gone (bad for some folks), and the new low end iMac is more expensive. Also, I read on TUAW that the Apple remote no longer clings to the side of the iMac.
The ugly - I'm sorry, but the new black border around the screen is butt-ugly. It makes the screen appear smaller for some reason. Plus, these iMacs still retain the wasted space below the screen with the Apple logo, whose only purpose seems to be for the attachment of postit notes.

2. iLife 08
The good - Highly anticipated update to the package, enhanced .Mac integration (along with .Mac giving you a whole 10GB now) enhanced iWeb features, completely revamped iMovie that is much more user friendly, improved iPhoto.
The bad - New iMovie lacks much of the advanced features of iMovie HD 06. It is so late in coming that the package has to be renamed '08 instead of '07.
The ugly - They are still trying to use iLife to justify the existence of .Mac.

3. iWork 08
The good -  Pages gets reworked and becomes more modular to separate word processing from page layouts, NEW NUMBERS spreadsheet (!!!) actually justifies the 'work' part of the application name, can import the new Windoze Office 07 .docx and other lame MS formats, improved Keynote, still very affordable at $79, smaller install size than iWork 06.
The bad - Numbers has problems importing many Excel files, in part because it lacks a third of Excel's advanced functions, no HTML export from any of the iWork apps.
The ugly - Not confirmed, but the delay of the new version of MS Office for Mac announced a few days prior is suspicious. It begs the question of whether MS will ever finish development of it.

4. .Mac
The good -  More space (10x more at 10Gb), better interaction and more functions with iLife.
The bad - 10Gb is still very small and free services give you a better value.
The ugly - not enough of a refresh for the service, still too tied to iLife for my tastes.

5. New MacMinis
The good - kept the same price points but bumped up the processors to 1.83 and 2.0 Ghz Core 2 Duo, plus bumped up base RAM to 1 Gb (woohoo!), sticks it in the face of those morons anticipating the Mini's demise.
The bad - kept the same enclosure, while a nice form factor it is a bitch to open.
The ugly - Steve didn't have the balls to mention this during the actual presentation, only during the Q&A session after. Lame Steve, lame.

6. Overall Presentation
The good - Apple hasn't forgotten its Mac side and seems to be continuing development of new technologies and style.
The bad - the emphasis on integration with the iPhone is pathetic, given it's only available in the US and will only be available there for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, not everyone wants a freaking iPhone. Steve perpetuates sales problems in Japan (it's bad here again), by not giving us a freaking real portable MacBook. FIVE POUNDS doesn't cut it here, Steve!
The ugly - The continued lack of a replacement for the 12" PowerBook is pathetic. The "rest of us" here in the world's second biggest consumer market deserve better.  

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