The Keynote has been and gone, and now the analysis shall prevail. As predicted, we were not met with quite such a mind blowing Macworld as last year (with the introduction of the iPhone), but this year’s was not to be sneered at.
This one was unexpected. Combining an Airport Extreme router with a large hard disk is a simple, but ingenious idea. This means, if you enable Time Machine on your Mac(s), and you’re connected to your home network, you can back up all your data wirelessly, with unparalleled ease. I think the best aspect of Time Capsule, however, is the price: from just $299, or Â£199 for a wireless router and 500GB hard drive. I can see the 1TB version being more popular, at $499, or Â£329. These are aggressively priced.
On a related note, the keynote seemed to focus on the opportunities of wireless. Will we see the ability to sync our iPhones and iPods wirelessly in the not too distant future? This can only be months away.
Downloaded and installed as soon as I got home. This was no surprise after the leaked videos and photos earlier this month, but still, this update is great. The simplicity of the new Maps interface, the freedom to rearrange icons on the home screen, and long overdue ability to put “web apps” on your home screen are features brilliantly executed.
The only surprise was the addition of 5 apps to the iPod Touch (these already exist on the iPhone). Mail, Maps, Notes, Stocks, and Weather were included in the new iPod Touch update. However, this nice little update will cost $20. It will be interesting to see how many people actually fork out for a few more apps.
I personally think Apple’s decision to charge for the iPod Touch update is actually an experiment. When 3rd party apps come out next month, there are still many questions to be asked, like “how are they going to distribute them?” It is quite possible that in order for Apple to ensure all apps are secure and reliable enough for iPhone and iPod Touch users, they will be distributed through the iTunes Store. It is also quite likely that, if there are any large companies like Adobe or Microsoft thinking of building apps that they will want to earn some money for their sales. Apple charging for the iPod Touch update probably means they are just dipping their toes in the unpredictable water of the iPhone/iPod Touch owning community.
No major updates for Leopard, only figures. Over 20% of the Mac owning community have already upgraded to OS X 10.5. These figures are unprecedented, and this can only be a good thing for the whole industry. It also shows how quick the Mac user base are to spend their hard earned cash in an Apple Store.
The MacBook Air is, undoubtedly, a marvel of engineering. The fact that you can fit a reasonably specced laptop computer inside a postage envelope is truly astonishing, no matter how you look at it. The price of $1,799 or Â£1,199 is currently very high due to the money Apple must have spent on R & D, with around 100 prototypes being manufactured before arriving at the final design. I can see the price falling eventually, but it is still questionable, at this price, how the Air fits in with Apple’s line of notebooks. I would have liked a little more power for my money – and I can get better graphics etc for less if I buy a MacBook. The MacBook Pro is only slightly more expensive than the Air, and with its far superior specs seems a much more attractive proposition.
The current notebook lineup can only mean one thing: more updates soon. The MacBook Pro has kept the same basic design since the aluminium PowerBook G4, and I was deep down hoping for an update to that. I am in the market for a Pro laptop, and have been holding off for about a year now, knowing that a redesign is around the corner. I can almost promise that a new MacBook Pro will be released this year, probably this half of 2008. The MacBook has gone from being a sexy, cute laptop to looking dated – Aluminium seems to be the material of 2008, the MacBooks now look a little too 2006. I think we can expect a significant price drop, and perhaps a redesign of the MacBooks soon.
No “new” Apple TV as such, just an update of its software. The Apple TV itself doesn’t need any new hardware anyway, but I think many were hoping we would see the ability for 3rd party developers to build apps for it, and maybe some DVR capabilities. If Apple really wanted to get our content onto our TVs and go and buy an Apple TV, we would see a lot more 3rd party integration. We now have the ability to view our Flickr photos on our TVs (woohoo), and YouTube was already available, but these are deals that Apple has worked out privately. What if I want to watch a video from 5min.com, or Metacafe?
The announcement of movie rentals on iTunes is good news – it reiterates just how much power Apple have over the entire movie and music industries. No one else could have made a deal like this.
If Apple can also make the Apple TV easier to navigate by allowing the use of an iPhone as a remote control, and allowing it to pull media from iPods and iPhones around the house, then we’ll be onto something. I wanted to see a completely new Apple TV at Macworld, one that I would be truly impressed by. At the moment, I still don’t feel compelled to rush out and buy an Apple TV.
Interestingly, Steve’s last statement was that we are only in the second week of 2008, and we have another 50 to go. Will we be seeing more updates and new products this year than ever before?
All in all, the keynote was good, but nothing to write home about. It looks like all the good stuff is arriving in February.