Sometimes you can tell a story about what’s not there. This was Apple’s show and we got what we wanted and expected. The laundry list was delivered. A new Mac called a mini. A new mini iPod called a shuffle.
There’s also new life for iLife 05 and Apple bundles the well-received Keynote presentation software with a word processor.
Hardware. Software. Gadets. Cool. The future (Mac OS X “Tiger”). This Macworld had it all. Except…
What was (so far; it’s still going on) missing on the stage with Steve?
Much. There’s always the “second tier” of rumors which don’t see the light of day. For example, no demo from Steve of the new Apple/Motorola iPhone deal (already tipped by a Motorola exec). We’ll see more of that later this year.
Farther down the list of “missing” was Asteroid, the interface breakout box for musicians to plug into Garageband via Firewire (look for it at a special event).
Also missing was “Cells” which some expected to be the companion spreadsheet to Pages in the iWork ‘05 bundle. A spreadsheet may show up in the future, though.
Some rumor sites and Mac pundits expected to see Apple introduce a media center, a tablet Mac, and perhaps a low end monitor around $399 (also could come later, once the Mac mini ships in quantity).
Those were the obviously “missing in action” items and most were not high on the Official Expectation List™ anyway.
What else was missing?
Microsoft. Adobe. Macromedia. And other Apple “partners” of Macworld Expos in years past. Why? Where did the big software partners go?
First, let’s recognize that this was an historical Macworld. The iPod shuffle helps Apple carve out the rest of the portable music market (portable CD players don’t really count anymore). They’ve sold so many iPods that market share of flash-based models actually shrank.
Now it may grow again, thanks to Apple and flash iPods.
Second, the Mac mini may be the biggest announcement Apple could have this year and no one was really disappointed. $499 for a speedy Freescale (formely Motorola’s PowerPC chip folks) chip and a tiny box that’s easily moved anywhere in the house.
That’s BIG news.
You have to give it to Steve and the Apple designers, engineers, and others. This was a keynote presentation about Apple. Notably missing? Nothing about Microsoft (or Adobe or Macromedia or any other major Mac players).
Remember the satellite feed of Bill Gates at the Macworld 1998 after Steve Jobs came back (and immortalized on DVD with Pirates of Silcon Valley a few years later)? No Gates, no Microsoft.
In fact, about the only time Microsoft was mentioned was humorous prodding of Longhorn during the Mac OS X “Tiger” presentation.
There’s no new Microsoft Office, no new Adobe CS (what Photoshop seems to be these days) to report on.
This was a Macworld Expo that was about “Apple.” Not just Macs. Apple. And Apple’s step-by-step transformation into a digital lifestyle company. Computers. Music. Movies. DVDs. Solutions.
In fact, I was actuallly surprised at what wasn’t mentioned much. iWork’s Pages imports and exports Microsoft Word documents. How good? We’ll see. More than likely, it’ll be good enough.
Also missing was that fact—Apple did NOT present iWork as a replacement for Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Entourage). Maybe we’ll see that as a gradual thing that slowly unfolds over the next year or so.
To be fair to Microsoft, the Mac Business Unit unveiled a number of enhancements (4) for Microsoft Office. New templates, new import tools to migrate data, but no new products.
Also missing was any news of consequence about IBM’s G5 chips. To 3 ghz or not? If not, when? We’re certain it’ll come but we’re not making any bets.
Also missing was the date for shipping Mac OS X “Tiger.” It’s still on schedule for the first half of 2005. March? Or June or July (close enough in Apple-talk).
NOT missing was the shipping dates for iLife ‘05, iWork ‘05, the iPod shuffle, and, surprisingly, the Mac mini. Everything is expected to ship in late January (meaning, February in Apple-talk).
This was a show about Apple developing into a full-fledged digital lifestyle company. Still missing in action? How about the iFlix movie download service? Or, the media center Mac (I’ll take one of those $500 Macs and make it work, though).
What’s really nifty about all this is that there’s only 365 days until the next Macworld Expo and we’re still going to get new goodies from Apple.
We live in interesting times.
Did you get all you want and all you expected? What’s missing from your list? Share your thoughts, concerns, and joys with other Mac users. Click on the Comments link below.
Personally, I feel like I’ve just had a very good, satisfying meal. I’m ready for dessert.
update – I’m watching the keynote now on QuickTime. Click Here for the link to download. It runs about two hours.
This is a very impressive, well-orchestrated presentation. Everything just builds UP to the big news—iPod shuffle and Mac mini. By the fall season Apple will have pushed hundreds of thousands of new Macs into market—many with Mac OS X Tiger (and early Mac mini adopters will want to upgrade, of course), and many Windows users finally with no reason NOT to switch (help them). Look for about 12-million iPods to sell this year.
What a year. And it’s only just started.