It was fitting that Tony Bennett, beloved for his amazing contribution to his profession but largely irrelevant to the current market, was chosen to close out Apple’s keynote address at a Mac institution that is still well loved and respected for its long history but is now becoming irrelevant to the next generation of Apple customers.
The keynote itself was a mixed bag. I’ll admit to being floored by the new features in iPhoto and iMovie. Faces, Places and the new Facebook/Flickr sharing options are just great. The new precision editor in iMovie looks to be an amazing update. Garageband lessons have a definite wow factor. iTunes Plus for all 10,000,000 songs means no more DRM. The new iWork ’09 and iWork.com have promise and add some great new features. Eight hours of battery life from a 17″ laptop still blows my mind. There was lots of cool stuff to get excited about.
A few hours later, there’s some time to reflect on what we didn’t hear. No new Mac mini. No new iMac. No new Mac Pro. There was no info on Snow Leopard, which many thought was sure to be featured at this Macworld Expo. Very little was introduced that is going to generate buzz and excitement outside of the show.
Taking the Apple Products for a Spin
After the keynote, everyone packed it up from Moscone West and headed over to Moscone South and North. The Media Lounge served up a nice lunch while we wrote up our coverage of the morning keynote and then we got to work on the floor. The Apple booth is huge and staffed by legions of retail staff outfitted in black t-shirts. I got to pick up the new 17″ Macbook Pro and take it for a spin. The slightly more svelte 6.6 pounds and the rounded edges of the unibody casing add to the impression that this new MacBook Pro is actually a lot smaller than the previous model. I know some won’t like the glossy screen, but the viewing angle on the high-def glossy LED display surprised me. I like it a lot. I got to play with iLife ’09 and iWork ’09 for a few minutes as well. I’m definitely upgrading iLife as soon as it becomes available.
The Rest of the Show
There’s lots more to see at the show than just Apple, of course. Some other highlights for today…
- Intuit is announcing updates to Quickbooks online and a companion iPhone web app
- Marketcircle is showing off Daylite Touch
- Macspeech is giving demos of their impressive Macspeech Dictate
- Macpractice is showing off version 3.5 of their medical practice management solution
- HP is showing their new MediaSmart Server product with an integrated iTunes media server and Mac backup
After the show, many headed to the annual Macworld Blast party to unwind from a long day.
The Inside Scoop
The highlight of my week will probably be the dinner I had last night with great company all organized by the indomitable Naomi Pearce. I won’t drop names, but there were lots of Mac smarts around the table. That set up a chance to get some time with Rich Siegel, the founder and CEO of BareBones software, and Jeff Ganyard, the VP of Engineering at MacSpeech. We had a great chat about the last 15 years of Macworld, the challenges of building a Mac software company that can last, and the future of Mac development. Look for some highlights of the discussion on TheAppleBlog soon.
Coming up Today
Today we’ll spend some more time getting interviews and product upates to share with you on TheAppleBlog. Look for more articles. If there are certain things that you really want to hear more about, please let us know in the comments below.