Saturday, January 14, 2006

Reflections on Macworld S.F. '06

I know it's been close to a week after Apple's big announcements this past Tuesday, but with Scottdot's unexpected downtime and server switch, I did not get a chance to post my opinions on the big Mac news. So here goes! Once again, Apple has updated its iLife suite of applications, with its most appealing update being new iPhoto features and a new iWeb application. iWeb looks elegant, but like iMovie, it's something I really don't need. Podcasting support in GarageBand is a nice addition, but iPhoto's "photocasting" features remain to be the most appealing reason to upgrade. Photocasting works with a simple RSS feed and allows people to subscribe to one of your published photo albums using iPhoto. Steve Jobs describes this simple action as "magic," and could prove to be quite useful as an alternative to emailing photos. Nicely done! The only major downside is the rising prices of these upgrades. As a loyal .Mac member from the very beginning, I still stand firmly in believing that Apple needs to cut members like myself a break by giving us this software for free, as I'm beginning to think that an email account and a 1 GB iDisk are not worth my 99 dollars every year. The big news this year was Apple's first Macs sporting Intel's new chip, dubbed the Core Duo (at least it's not a Pentium). The most lust-worthy of these new offerings is the iMac. Steve also introduced us to a new era of Mac portables: the MacBook Pro. It's disappointing to see them stray from the PowerBook name, as it was easily the best product in Apple's line, but we all should have seen it coming. MacBook Pro sports an IR port and remote for Front Row media capabilities and a luscious built-in iciest camera. Both of these new Macs sport a lot of changes under the hood and Apple claims they are 2-4 times as fast as their PowerPC-based ancestors. I believe that the really exciting announcements from Apple are yet to come, as everyone wants a Mac mini "TiVo killer" in their living rooms that outputs in hi-def. Meanwhile, my heart is still set on Mac OS X "Leopard" and other new software that has yet to be seen or conceptualized. My thoughts on other new non-Apple products from Macworld '06 are coming soon!


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