MacWorld Expo SF 2005
This year, Jobs announced a number of new things. First, there is Tiger (a.k.a. Mac OS X v.10.4), the latest iteration of OS X. It looks very promising. OS X just keeps getting better, faster, and more stable. Why can Apple get four major upgrades of OS X out in four years and Microsoft is struggling to get Longhorn done two years late? Next, there's the iPod Shuffle. I'm impressed, but it's not for me. I have way too much music to have any use for a flash MP3 player, no matter how slick. I would buy a 60 GB iPod, but I'm waiting for the price to come down a bit. At $599, they're too pricey, particularly since I still have a perfectly serviceable (albeit slightly old) 40 GB iPod.
The most intriguing announcement was the Mac mini. It's a $499 or $599 "headless" Mac, with no monitor or keyboard, that will plug into standard PC keyboards and monitors. It's smaller than some hard drives or CD burners I've seen. Clearly Apple is going after the low end PC user. Will it get such users to discover the joy that is Mac and switch? I don't know, but it's an interesting shot across the bow to Microsoft. It's not likely to be a major threat to the Microsoft monopoly, but it might gain Apple some market share. Given how low Apple's present market share is, even a percent or two would be huge.
The rest was rather ho-hum. iLife '05 updates iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, iTunes, and Garageband. Given that most of the same software will be part of Tiger, which is supposed to be released in the first half of 2005, I'm not sure if I'll buying or waiting. iWork is the replacement for AppleWorks, with the addition of a new version of Keynote, a presentation program. Because everything I've done is, data and presentation-wise, in PowerPoint, Excel, and Word and because I need to use EndNote to handle the references in my papers, I need a lot of the advanced features. It's unlikely that iWork will do much for me.
Now if I only get that NIH grant. That'll free up some of my startup funds for a lovely dual processor Power Mac G5 tower....