Jon Simpson

A good day for Apple & Mac fans.

11 Jan 2006 — apple, macosx, mwsf

So today had lots of interesting announcements on the Apple front at Macworld SF and a few other cool tidbits. Mac OS X 10.4.4, a Google Earth beta for Mac OS X and the new hardware announcements. Interesting to see the new MacBook Pro announced. It’s not perhaps as big a leap in terms of design as I’d been hoping, but I guess the changes under the hood more than make up for it. I’m certainly surprised it doesn’t seem like a compelling upgrade from the current G4 PowerBook (although that remains to be seen, given the numerous unknowns, including possible Windows compatibility…)

On the subject of the MacBook Pro, the absence of Firewire 800 seems to be slightly odd, given Apple’s previous enthusiasm for all things Firewire. I can’t help but wonder if the Intel influence is pushing Apple toward adopting USB 2.0 wherever possible to fall into line with Intel PC chipsets 1.

The extra thickness lost in the new ‘book will obviously be nice in the flesh, but again, its a minor change and being not much thinner than the 17” powerbook means its not amazingly thin. The integrated iSight at the top also seems to make the unit look out of proportion when accustomed to today’s Aluminum Powerbooks and their thin bezel. It’ll be interesting to see when the first units shipped what little differences have manifested in the new platform, whether Apple have chosen EFI as their boot mechanism and how the software → hardware lock has ben implemented.

iWork and iLife got the customary usual makeovers, and the increasing tie-in to .mac with iLife is beginning to get a little suspect. Pushing a $79 software product is fine, but tying one of the core apps (iWeb) to a $100/mo subscription service is a little much, not to mention the increasing number of features in iPhoto/iMovie that depend on the service. Take into account that iTunes is free to begin with and suddenly iLife ‘06 begins to look a lot less compelling than the keynote would have you believe (the Macworld SF 2006 stream is well worth watching, if only to marvel at the video quality. The site served me a 650px widescreen H264 video stream that looked stunning for streamed media.)

  1. I believe I’m right in thinking that Intel have been a big supporter of USB/USB 2, if not its creator.