Over the last couple of weeks, Apple has hosted a couple of events
to announce their latest and greatest. Here’s my rundown, just in case
you haven’t heard/read/watched enough commentary on this.
Video iPods: They don’t do anything for me, but I didn’t
expect them to. I’d really been hoping that they would increase the
size of the hard drive. I’m disappointed that they dropped firewire
support. I’m concerned about the screens; will they scratch as easily
as iPod Nano screens reportedly do? I do agree that the slightly larger
screen looks nice, but I’m not [currently] interested in watching video
content on such a small screen. Maybe it’s that I’m not interested in
any of the television shows that I could download. If they get The West Wing,
though, I’ll pay my two bucks per week to get that. I don’t own a
television, so I have to get my TWW fix elsewhere. I’d be happy to pay
for it so that I could watch it at home on my server.
Updated iMacs: The speed bumps aren’t unexpected. I dislike
the idea of a built-in iSight because it doesn’t seem like it’s very
customisable. It’s good for video chatting (as supported in iChat AV,
amongst other applications), but little else. But maybe that’s all
people are using their webcams for, so maybe it’s a good idea.
FrontRow: Now this is interesting. I have an inelegant
solution kludged together so that my server (running Gentoo Linux) is
my primary media playback device. I’ve been considering replacing my
server with a Mac Mini, and if this piece of software were available
for it, I switch in a heartbeat. It should be possible for folks to
completely replace their television with a computer and a nice monitor.
Apple seems to be dipping their toes into this area. As a start, this
isn’t a bad idea — it’s a good way to get both a second television and
a reasonably powerful computer. I can see this being pretty popular
PhotoBooth: Cute little piece of functionality, but nothing
earth-shattering. It’s a logical extension of having a built-in webcam.
I think that Apple should offer this as a free download for any iSight.
Updated PowerMacs: I think that this is the last gasp of the
G5 (at least, from Apple). There’s a lot going on in this upgrade:
dual-core processors, vastly improved video cards, PCI Express. But why
should someone buy this if Apple is months away from moving to the
Updated PowerBooks: And this seems like the last gasp of the
G4. I’ve had the chance to see these, and they look nice. This is an
upgrade that I can justify buying pre-MacTel. I’m actually considering
one. I’d love to have the extra battery life. The brighter screen looks
much better. I’ve wondered for years why PBs don’t have higher screen
resolution, so it’s good to see that they’ve finally upgraded to that.
Now the PB can run a 30-inch Apple Cinema Display. At work, I almost
never touch my desktop; I haven’t owned a real desktop at home in seven
or eight years. I’m seriously considering buying one of these, since my
personal PB is pretty old and in need of an upgrade.
Aperture: Apple says that it’s not a competitor to Photoshop,
so I’m honestly not sure how this fits into the market — especially
with a $499 price tag. Apple says that it’s about workflow, whereas
Photoshop is about compositing. There’s little known about this now, so
I really don’t have that many thoughts about it. Adobe has to consider
this as a shot across their bow.
In summary … If my current iPod died, I might buy one of the video
iPods. I might buy one anyway, since my old iPod only (only!) holds 20
GB, and I would like to be able to carry around more of my music
collection with me. The new PowerBooks are attractive, but I’m not sure
if I can justify the expense. My old PB is perfectly functional, I just
am seriously coveting a new machine.