Martin @ Blog

software development and life.


Apple introduces Intel-processor Macs

Unfortunately, my weblog was unreachable yesterday, because of a problem with my internet connection. Now everything should work again, so I’m able to write about the most anticipated IT-event this year until now: The MacWorld keynote by Steve Jobs.

Anticipated, because the expectations were that Apple would introduce the first Macs with an Intel processor – and they did. Also, there were rumours that Apple would introduce other existing products, such as a spreadsheet for their iWorks package and even a new version of Mac OS X – these rumours however, were untrue.

So, what did Steve Jobs announced? He began with some sale figures to illustrate the success of past year. He told that the Apple Stores sold for more than one billion dollars last quarter, and because he released this figure (which is information relevant for stock traders) he was forced by his CFO to tell the revenues for the latest quarter, which was 5,7 billion dollar. Steve also told that there were 42 million iPods sold over the entire lifetime of the musicplayer, and that in 2005 the company sold more iPods than every year before (32 million iPods). Of course iTunes Music Store can’t be left out when talking about numbers. Apple sold 850 million songs via IMS and is now selling 3 million songs per day, which means a market share of 83 per cent. This left you wondering where record companies have their guts from to threat Apple with not selling songs via their store, because the ‘prices are to low’ in their opinion. They seem to really don’t want to sell music at all, so they can even complain more about piracy?

After these ‘boring’ numbers, Steve announced that Apple will start selling new content via IMS. One of the new series is ‘Saturday Night Live’. While the rumours suggested a new iPod shuffle or iPod nano, Apple introduced only a remote control for the iPod which also includes a integrated FM tuner. The new accessoire is going to cost 49 dollars. Finaly he also mentiond the coorporation with Crysler, which is going to add iPod support to their cars. In order to improve the iPod sales Apple has created a tv-ad featuring the trompetist Whyton Marsalis (who mostly plays jazz, so probably not many people will know him.. actually i do)

After the iPod and music talk, Jobs starts talking about the ‘important’ stuff: computers. He starts with Apple’s new professional photography workflow application Aperture. After a short movie about Aperture, Steve continues to talk about the Widgets which were introduced with Mac OS X 10.4. He introduced a few new widgets from Apple: a Google search widget, a new Address book widget, a weather widget and a few widgets which are pretty much only intresting for US citizens. The new widgets are available with a new update of Mac OS X which has version number 10.4.4.

More software: iLife. Microsoft is currently working on new software for the upcoming Windows Vista, which includes a new music and photo applications. These applications are in functionallity almost identical to what Apple has for a few years: iTunes and iPhoto. These applications are in my opinion the most important parts which makes Mac OS more userfriendly than competing operating systems – one of the reasons I think that Linux distro’s should include Mono by default, because F-spot is the only application which comes near to what iPhoto is and Muine or Banshee are also the best music libraries for Linux.

Steve introduces iLife ’06 which includes new versions of iPhoto, iTunes, iMovie, iDVD, Garageband and a new application called iWeb. The new iPhoto supports more photo’s than previous versions and is faster than the older version. He demonstrates how the new applications works with full screen edition on large screens – it makes you almost want to run to the store to buy a nice 30″ Cinema display (unfortunately I don’t have the money for it and it won’t work on my Mac mini because it lacks a dual-DVI connection. iPhoto has improved support for photobooks, it addes the possibility to create calenders, postcards and features ‘photocasting’. In fact this is nothing more than uploading selected photos to .Mac, where people can subscribe to such a gallery and the photos will automatically be available in their iPhoto. Changes made by the author are automatically updated to the people who are subscribed to the album. You have to be an .Mac-member in order to ‘cast’ a photocast, but everybody can subscribe to a photocast – even if you don’t own a Mac – because it uses RSS to publish updates.

iMovie features animated themes, which enables you to create professionally looking movies with photos, video’s and music without using ugly effects or slideshows. The movie will look more like ‘one piece’. Jobs demoes some of the possibilties with iMovie, which are rather impressive. When you talk about iMovie, you also will be quickly talking about iDVD for creating a DVD of your movie. New in iDVD ’06 are widescreen menus and support third party DVD-burners, which is nice because until now it was only possible to make DVD’s when your Mac contained a build in superdrive. Also Garagaband features some minor updates, mainly focussed on Podcasting. Steve demonstrate it by creating a funny Podcast – you can easily see that this is very good prepared and probably rehearsed several times, because the timing is perfect.

iWeb is a new application in the iLife suite for publishing stuff on the web. This application will be ‘easy to use to create beautiful websites’. The app can create online photoalbums, weblogs, podcast sites and other stuff. Especially creating photogalleries was a missing part of the Mac OS operating system, because Linux has standard applications which are able to do this, such as gThumb and F-spot. According to the screenshots the pages you can create with iWeb look pretty good and will work on IE, Firefox and obviously Safari according to Steve Jobs. For the photogalleries the program uses AJAX to create slideshows which will work on the current browsers. Unfortunately the program also only works when you have an .Mac-subscription. Also a new version of iWorks is introduced.

iMac with Intel-processor and Cinema displayAfter the software, Jobs moves on to the hardware – the most interesting part of the keynote. He repeats that he announced that by june ’06 the Macs with Intel processors will be available. Then there appears an from the smoke (in a previous keynote Apple ‘burned’ these dudes) Intel-dude which says: ‘Intel is ready’, to which Steve Jobs replies: ‘Apple is ready too’. Steve thanks Paul Otelini (the Intel-dude) for their support when Apple moves to Intel processors. Then the iMac with Core Duo (Yonah-processor) is introduced, as was expected by rumours, because the design of the last update of the iMac with G5-processor wasn’t as sophisticated as the previous iMac G5. The iMac with Intel-processor is available in the same size and design as the previous iMac, so with a 17″ and 20″ iMac. The other features are identical and the price is identical – probably to emphasize that the change to Intel isn’t as difficult as it seems. The only difference is the speed, according to Steve Jobs. The processor is two to three times faster – Steve also says that this doesn’t mean the computer is two to three times faster, because the disks aren’t faster and the memory isn’t faster. Every application Apple now introduces will be ‘universal binaries’, which means that it will run both on Power PC and Intel Macs. In March all the professional software of Apple will be available as universal binary. Finally it is announced that Microsoft will ship new Macintosh products for at least five years. There is also a tv-ad for the Intel Mac which is verry ‘Applesque’.

MacBook ProAnd the last thing of the keynote is the introduction of the PowerBook ancestor, the MacBook Pro. This new laptop has obviously an Intel processor, namely a Core Duo. The powerconsumption of these processors is significantly lower than the consumption of the G4 and G5. The speed is four to five times better than the previous PowerBooks. It is the thinnest laptop from Apple and available with a 15,4″ widescreen with high brightness and iSight webcam. The laptop come with a remote control and Frontrow. Also it feature MagSave, which is a powerconnector which is magnetically held in, so when someone pulls on the powercord, it yanks right out from the laptop. This feature is ‘patent pending’ according to Steve. The MacBook Pro is available with a 1,67GHz Core Duo processor and a model with a 1,83GHz Core Duo processor.

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