Apple does NOT disappoint with the latest gadgets, improvements, Macs and Apple software. The keynote address began at 9:00 AM PST and ran for about two hours as Apple CEO Steve Jobs lays out the product line for 2005.
Most Mac web sites will carry the same information, so here are the highlights and a look at what we find interesting.
New products? They’re everywhere. The big news is the Mac mini. It’s the $499 “bomb” predicted by Think Secret.
The Mac mini be two inches tall, less than 3 pounds, has Mac OS X installed, and comes in two models. 1.25 ghz, and 1.42 ghz for $599. iLife ‘05 is also included. It doesn’t look as though the AppleWorks upgrade, iWork, is included.
Mac mini is scheduled to begin shipping in late January (think February) and will include Mac OS X Panther. Mac OS X Tiger is still “on track” for delivery in the first half of 2005.
As expected, Apple introduced a flash-based iPod. It’s called the iPod shuffle and also comes in two models. 512 megabytes which holds about 120 songs for $99, and a 1 gigabyte model that should hold up to 240 songs for $149. Apple’s music territory now includes the mid-range (portable CD players make up the low end; don’t expect Apple to go there).
Apple says they sold more than 4.5-million iPods in the last quarter of 2004 vs. just over 700,000 iPods a year earlier. The iPod shuffle has a familiar scroll wheel but no screen. Play your songs forward (assumes you know the order) or random.
Tired of AppleWorks? iWork ships later in January for $79. It includes “Pages,” a word processor, Keynote 2.0, and a gazillion templates for everything.
iLife ‘05 was also introduced with iTunes, iMovie, iDVD, and new Garageband which will do multi-track realtime recording. Oh, iLife will be available later in January for $79 but will ship free on each new Mac (see, there’s a discount on the Mac mini already).
New to iLife will be updated versions of iMovie, iDVD, and Garageband. iPhoto gets new formats, including MPEG-4 and RAW (for digital cameras). There’s also new effects and controls.
iMovie improves to support HD video and effects are now non-destructive. MEPG4-is also supported.
iDVD gains a bunch of themes and support for all writeable DVD formats if you have a drive that supports the format (+R, -R, RW et al).
So far, we’re paying extra for the new Mac goodies. iLife and iWork will hit the streets later in January for $79. Each.
The Mac mini is very small and light, at just 2.9 pounds. Think of it as a large Apple AC power adapter that runs Mac OS X. There’s a slot-loading CD-RW/DVD Combo drive, USB 2.0, FireWire 400, and DVI/VGA for video out.
Remember BYODKM. Bring your own keyboard and mouse.
The backside has a power button, security slot, an audio out connector, DVI/VGA connector, modem connector, Ethernet connector, and two USB connectors, and a single Firewire 400 connector.
Mac mini also comes wiht a 40 gigabyte hard drive and 256 megabytes of RAM. RAM is exapndle up to a gigabyte. The faster model also has an 80 gigabyte hard drive.
Both models come with Apple Airport Extreme as an option. Same with Bluetooth. Interestingly, the Apple web site says Mac mini also comes with AppleWorks.
The Mac mini is similar in style and size to the bottom third of the Mac Cube, so there’s plenty of computer packed into a small space. Not only is the Mac mini headless, it’s accessory-less, too. No keyboard. No mouse. How many will you buy?
A word about iTunes Music Store. Apple said over 230-million songs have been sold to date and is selling at about 1.5-million songs per day. Market share? How does 70-percent of the online music market sound?
Coming later in the year is Mac OS X Tiger, which Steve Jobs demonstrated during the keynote. QuickTime 7 will debut with Tiger, complete with H.264 video codec, which will show up in HD DVD and Blu-Ray DVDs in the future. That’s very cool stuff.
BareBones Software has a new version of TextWrangler on the way. ElGato has an updated version of EyeHome.
Roxio, the makers of Toast, have announced that they’re going to do HD support in future versions.
CircusPonies Software announced an update to version 2.0 of their popular Notebook application. As we’ll see with many products from Macworld Expo, this one won’t ship until March.
Mac gamer Aspyr says Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 will come to the Mac later this spring (May).
If you own Apple stock, Forbes Magazine is reporting that Prudential has raised earnings and revenue estimates of Apple and increased the stock price target. They’re expecting at least 15-million iPods to be sold in 2005. That’s nearly 4-million per quarter.
update – I’m watching the keynote now on QuickTime. Click Here for the link to download. It runs about two hours.
The news reports from various Mac web site do NOT do justice to the keynote presentation. iLife ‘05 is just freakin’ cool. iTunes is hardly mentioned. MUCH show ‘n tell on iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, and, of course, the realtime aspects of the new Garageband.
Also, iWork’s “Pages” (the Word compatible word processor) has a ton of low-key features—like page layout. And the seamless integration of iPhoto, Pages, and Tiger’s new Mail.app are remarkable.
Got a photo from a friend in your email? Click, and it shows up in iPhoto’s library. Cool.
Remember, all this stuff is due out at the end of the month AND comes free with each new Mac mini. What a fabulous bargain. Value and quality go hand in hand. Again.