Here are my thoughts in brief about the Macworld Keynote, where all the latest Apple products were announced and demonstrated. You can watch the presentation here if you wish. Here's the stuff Steve Jobs talked about, followed by my responses.
Apple sold over 14 million iPods in the December 2005 quarter alone. What is most remarkable about that number is that not one of them was bought as a gift for me.
Some people get irritated that Apple updates this suite every year and asks people to pay $79 for it. I say it's usually worth it, and I try to remind people that it does come free on every new Mac, whereas nothing even close comes installed on a Windows PC; nor could anything close be bought for less than 80 bucks and made to run on a Windows PC.
The iPhoto update has a couple very interesting features, most notably photocasting, whereby a user can publish an RSS feed of new photos, allowing subscribers to be able to download these photos to their own machine automatically. If my family used Macs, this would be so absolutely handy I can hardly describe it. But they don't. (Mom and Dad, if you're reading, this alone should be enough reason for you to buy an iMac.) Full-screen editing and multi-photo comparisons are a feature that will no doubt get significant use. Also, the new calendar printing option in iPhoto appears to be fabulous.
GarageBand also got a neat little update that allows users to create their own podcasts. Here's the thing about Apple. They put stuff on their machines that allows people to do stuff they won't even want to do for at least another year. Is podcasting to 2006 what digital home movies were to 2000? Probably not, but the point is that Microsoft's free movie editing "software" is years behind Apple's iMovie, and if you did want to create a podcast, you'd be lost with anything Microsoft bundles with their OS.
Speaking of which, the stuff you can do with the new iMovie...whoa. Animated themes are truly remarkable. You really have to see it to understand it. It occurs at about the 33rd minute of the Keynote. To be able to do that kind of thing on your home computer is quite a rush. Then again, I'm sure once Vista comes out (c. 2008) you'll be able to put fancy titles over the actual movie footage, so we'll certainly look forward to that, Greg.
The new application, iWeb, is a classic bit of Apple-ness. It allows you to publish your own website, integrating all the other iLife applications so you can include your photos, movies, music, podcasts, etc. and giving you very attractive templates to use in doing so. I will enjoy testing this out and perhaps using it, though I hear the blog features are notably lacking the ability to accept comments.
Yawn. Moving on...
I have thought for about a year now (ever since they went to the current case design) that the iMac is the best Mac money can buy, so there wasn't much you could do to impress me more. I'm not one who's been dancing in nervous anticipation for the Intel era, either; I can't afford a new Mac now and won't need one until they've had a couple revisions. But yeah, it's way faster than the current ones. Great. Didn't it just get two fairly significant upgrades?
That's a lousy name, even though I do agree it's good to have "Mac" in all your product names. There's a lot of debate raging about this machine, most of which I don't find very interesting (see previous paragraph). I think it will be a very good laptop, but I would not buy one right now even if I did have the money—not unless I was desperate for a new laptop.
All in all, this was a pretty boring Keynote, unless you were dying to see the beginning of the MacIntel era. There is a rumor that some really awesome products got bumped because they weren't ready. That rings true to me. Ultimately, the only product I really want after this Keynote is iLife, and there is some worry that it won't run well on pre-Intel Macs, so I give this year's Keynote a B-minus.