New Apple Stuff

apple logoI’m a bit behind on this (for obvious reasons) but am finally getting around to the new Apple announcements. Outside of the typical “sales are good – blah blah blah – iPods rule! – blah blah blah,” three big announcements were made.

iLife/iWork Upgrades
Apple rev’ed the iLife and iWork suites. For most of the software in both of these it was a pretty usual rev. iMovie updated templates, added HD, added more transitions and title effects, and added some video podcasting ability. iDVD was similar, more themes, widescreen, and some other small bells and whistles. iPhoto added a cool feature called PhotoCasting, full-screen editing, new calendars feature and a few others. And then GarageBand added, similar to the other iLife products, some podcasting features, iMovie scoring, and some new sound effects and jingles. Then there is the new kid on the iLife block, iWeb. It’s a simple template-driven web editor and looks to include everything you need to get a simple website up on the web. It includes pretty much all the standard personal website features you’d see out there (photo gallery, podcasting, blog, about us, etc.). From what I can tell though (and I haven’t been able to use it yet), you’re limited to the Apple templates for layout. I’m curious how much customization you’ve got to change those 12 included templates.

For the most part, it looks like a pretty general software rev for the iSuites, nothing really ground breaking that jumped out at me. The one consistent thing that I like about the new versions is the noticeable addition of podcasting tools. It looks like Apple is finally really embracing the idea of podcasting (videocasting, photocasting, whatever).

Intel iMac
Well, it finally happened. Apple has switched their first machines over to the Intel processor. Their first offering is the new iMac. Outside of the new chip, there really isn’t anything too new on this machine which was just updated back in October. I guess the Intel chips, which they’re claiming are 2 times faster than the old ones are a pretty significant upgrade though.

MacBook Pro
First of all, what’s with the new name? Maybe I’m just not used to it yet, but MacBook Pro doesn’t quite have the same ring to it that PowerBook does. I guess they’re trying to move away from the PowerPC idea and get “Mac” in the name somewhere, but still… MacBook? Anyway, it looks like a good upgrade to Apple’s high-end laptop line which has needed a refresh for quite some time now. That little G4 chip could only get them so far. I’m glad they’ve moved to the Intel chips for their laptops. That’s definitely a place where Intel shines and is maybe one of the major determining factors why Apple moved to Intel in the first place. With all that said, I think they’re moving in the right direction, but I don’t think I’d get one of these new machines… yet. It just doesn’t seem like it’s quite there yet. This to me seems a little bit like a stop-gap measure to get a faster chip in the high end laptop because it REALLY needed it. Yes, it’s faster. Yes, it probably gets better battery life. Yes, it has a cool new power cord. The built-in iSight camera is kind of cool. But why is the single-layer 4X DVD drive slower than the last Powerbook? Also, will this baby and its Intel chip run windows? I think that’s the big question… that a million Mac hackers will probably answer for us shortly. I don’t have any real concrete reasons, but this just seems a little too new yet. Let’s see what happens in 6 months.

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