• Explore the magic and the mystery!
  • The Tech Night Owl's Home Page
  • Namecheap.com





  • The Mac Report: No Surprises From Apple

    August 7th, 2007

    As soon as Apple contacted selected members of the media and summoned them for a briefing at its corporate campus in Cupertino, speculation mounted as to what new developments have been wrought. For the most part, that speculation was, amazingly enough, almost right on the money, close enough that you begin to think that maybe a few of the rumor sites actually had advance information. Or that the changes were so expected, that little came as a surprise.

    But first, let’s start with what didn’t happen. There was no mid-range Mac minitower, to fill the gap between the Mac mini and the Mac Pro, no slim and light note-book, nor was Apple’s display line refreshed. Instead, the iMac simply adopts the latter’s basic design.

    Out are the fashionable white plastics, and in is industrial strength aluminum, with slightly speedier processors from Intel’s Santa Rosa family, larger hard drives, and the rest of the standard array of speed bump niceties. Also history is the 17-inch version, with a 20-inch variant moving into a reasonably-affordable $1,199 slot. Oh yes, for business users, Apple added support for FireWire 800.

    With but a single comment on the subject during the question and answer session, the Mac mini received a new lease on life and a minor speed bump, with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor topping out at 2GHz. This minor upgrade also means that all of Apple’s computers now have 64-bit processors, but clearly it’s the all-in-one computer that lights Steve’s fire these days, witness the rapidly growing sales of Mac note-books.

    The other three developments were essentially telegraphed in advance too. Subscribers to .Mac get a few more features, including iPhone integration, and online storage is now expanded to 10GB from 1GB, the better to compete with free offerings from Google and Yahoo.

    At long last, iLife is revised, with the ’08 version receiving major enhancements to GarageBand, iDVD, iMovie, iPhoto and iWeb. There’s little to be said other than the fact that nothing on the PC platform was able to match the power and simplicity of iLife ’06, and iLife ’08 will only raise the bar.

    Another confirmed rumor had it that Apple would release a spreadsheet component for iWork ’08 known as Numbers. Well, they had it right on the money again. This iWork revision hits four-square into Microsoft Office territory, with substantial Excel import and export support in Numbers, a track changes feature in the word processor and desktop publishing application, Pages, and more tools for your Keynote presentations.

    Both applications will continue to sell for $79 each, which retains their bargain status. Oh yes, they will fully support Leopard, but will also be fully functional with Tiger. So much for my theory that iLife ’08 would become a free value-added extra in Mac OS 10.5.

    The Mac revisions come at an opportune time. Aside from the Mac Pro, which hasn’t had a change since last year except for that dual four-core processor configuration, all Macs are current, and Apple’s consumer applications have now left the starting gate. This puts Apple in good stead for the back-to-school season, and establishes the climate for plenty of holiday cheer.

    With sales of new Macs increasing three times faster than the rest of the PC industry, the Windows-based competition has been left flat-footed once again. Sure, Dell is pushing a new line of PC boxes that sport new names and new colors, but that doesn’t change the fact that they remain hobbled by Windows Vista. Microsoft hasn’t done as well with Vista as the industry hoped, and now that Apple has a major operating system upgrade slated for October, this may be a ripe time for Windows users to serious consider jumping ship.

    This is not to say that Apple is through revising computers for the rest of the year. There is still time to see a Mac Pro upgrade of one sort or another, for example. And I would not count a slim and light note-book out of the running. Maybe it is still being worked on, but simply wasn’t ready for a late summer introduction.

    Then, of course, there’s the iPod and the iPhone. The former will likely come in for some big changes in a few weeks. Some are betting that the iPhone’s touch screen will appear in a high-end iPod with either Flash memory or a hard drive, or perhaps both.

    Oh, and in case you’re curious about the other unannounced changes, it seems the AirPort Extreme is now available with gigabit Ethernet ports, while remaining at the original price of $179.

    The iPhone? Well, my crystal ball doesn’t see any major changes for 2007, though I suppose Apple could pull a surprise on everybody and introduce a 2.0 version by November, or just confound the critics and cut the price by, say, $100. But then what do I know about marketing, right?



    Share
    | Print This Article Print This Article

    13 Responses to “The Mac Report: No Surprises From Apple”

    1. demiphonic says:

      wow man lol ..I was amazed at how right y’all got it too :p ..I remember reading that they needed a program to compete with Excel.. & look, they did just that with “Numbers” lol …really great predictions. Now keep talking about that ultra portable Macbook Pro so it comes to life too lol

    2. wow man lol ..I was amazed at how right y’all got it too :p ..I remember reading that they needed a program to compete with Excel.. & look, they did just that with “Numbers” lol …really great predictions. Now keep talking about that ultra portable Macbook Pro so it comes to life too lol

      I’ll keep talking, but we all know that Apple never listens 🙂

      Peace,
      Gene

    3. Dana Sutton says:

      In view of what I wrote about Apple and the education market the other day, it’s interesting that the 17″ i-Mac will remain available for institutional educational customers (although for how long)? It’s also interesting in this context that, contrary to some expectations, the Mini is being retained and even made somewhat more attractive.

      As for an i-Phone 2 by November and maybe a lower price point (for a dumbed-down stripper), I would imagine that will partially depend on whether sales for the present i-Phone meet Apple’s expectations. Why put out something with a lower profit margin if your present model is doing well? A slump might produce a different result. On the other hand, if Apple is smart it is keeping close tabs on the reaction to the present model by reviewers, customers, and the press, and some of the suggestions for improvement will no doubt be incorporated: voice dialing, iChat, more sophisticated text manipulation, maybe GPS capability. Getting away from Edge. A key question continues to be third-party software, so users could add such things as games. Sooner or later Apple is going to have to reveal its long-term strategy about this. Opening it up to other carriers besides AT&T? Apple is probably prevented from doing this as part of a multi-year contractual arrangement, which could only be broken if a court rules that the present arrangement is monopolistic. Otherwise, don’t look for that.

    4. Terry says:

      One important enhancement that has not been mentioned in the revised .mac is the ability to now host your real domain names on the service. This makes it more attractive price wise.

    5. Tim Conroy says:

      Sadly iCards are no longer available to all at .Mac.
      You have to be a member and log in 🙁

      Tim

    6. One important enhancement that has not been mentioned in the revised .mac is the ability to now host your real domain names on the service. This makes it more attractive price wise.

      I also suspect that this will have a serious impact on the low-end of the Web hosting business once the news gets out. For, for example, would you host a site via Go Daddy (which is a dreadful company by any standard) when you can use your .Mac membership?

      On the other hand, I would definitely not recommend Apple for a business site.

      Peace,
      Gene

    7. Jon says:

      “On the other hand, I would definitely not recommend Apple for a business site.”

      Why is that and do you have any recommendation(s)?

      I’m looking for a good and reputable, business-site hosting company. I’m working on a new business and want to roll it out with a website all ready to go. I’ve done quite a bit of online research into hosting sites, but I’m coming away from it all more confused than when I started.

    8. “On the other hand, I would definitely not recommend Apple for a business site.”

      Why is that and do you have any recommendation(s)?

      I’m looking for a good and reputable, business-site hosting company. I’m working on a new business and want to roll it out with a website all ready to go. I’ve done quite a bit of online research into hosting sites, but I’m coming away from it all more confused than when I started.

      Apple’s method is designed primarily to work with iWork ’08, according to the documentation.

      On the other hand, all our sites are currently hosted via HostICan, and we’ve had terrific performance with them. I’ve been dealing with hosting providers since 1999, and they are far and away the best.

      Just click on their banner at the upper left of this page and check them out. They’ll definitely help you get rolling in a relatively short amount of time.

      Peace,
      Gene

    9. Eric Matthieu says:

      Sadly iCards are no longer available to all at .Mac.
      You have to be a member and log in 🙁

      Tim

      Happily, not true! It just takes a little effort, but iCards are still free and available to everyone.

      Just search from anywhere on the Apple site for “icard” and your results should reveal a direct portal (really just a fancy link) on the fly. Couldn’t be easier… well, I guess it *could* be if Apple retained an iCard tab or link on the .mac page. 😉

      Still, I had no trouble sending an iCard—and I’m not a member of .mac.

      BTW, this has been my experience in sending iCards for some time. Not sure when it started, but I don’t think it was with the latest enhancements announced yesterday.

    10. John B says:

      I was very disappointed by the announcements as far as new hardware goes. Other than the enclosure, iMac and Mini enhancements were underwhelming. Faster CPU, more memory, bigger hard drives. While those kinds of upgrades are certainly always welcome, they are nothing revolutionary. Here I am with my 5-year old G4 MD that needs to be replaced and my 1-year old 23-inch monitor that doesn’t. I have no better options today than I did last week. Perhaps some enterprising 3rd party could come up with a way to take an iMac, disassemble it, then re-sell the monitor and put the rest into a mini-tower enclosure. Somebody needs to fill this gap, and it is now pretty clear that Apple isn’t going to in the foreseeable future.

    11. Tom Cooper says:

      I thought the new keyboard was really interesting, and I actually ordered a new wireless keyboard. (They’re not shipping yet.) When I looked closer, I realized that the wireless keyboard doesn’t have a number pad and is missing several other keys. I’m sure Apple knows things that I don’t, but this seems strange and weird. Who would want one of these partial keyboards? Is anyone going to buy one of these? (I cancelled my order.) I just heard your guest, Peter Cohen, express a similar sentiment.

    12. I thought the new keyboard was really interesting, and I actually ordered a new wireless keyboard. (They’re not shipping yet.) When I looked closer, I realized that the wireless keyboard doesn’t have a number pad and is missing several other keys. I’m sure Apple knows things that I don’t, but this seems strange and weird. Who would want one of these partial keyboards? Is anyone going to buy one of these? (I cancelled my order.) I just heard your guest, Peter Cohen, express a similar sentiment.

      You make a good point there. This product clearly fits in the what were they thinking about category.

      Peace,
      Gene

    13. Happy to finally see a Mac related presentation by Apple. 🙂

    Leave Your Comment