Steve's latest …

Of course, I mean the other Steve, Steve Jobs. My world is revolving around few Steves. Steve Jobs is usually Steve Nr. 2 – and no, Joel – the Steve #1 is definitely not Ballmer :-). But every year, for two brief occasions – Macworld and WWDC – Steve Jobs becomes Steve #1 for very large amount of people.

I was waiting with this post full day to allow the new-ity of the keynote sink in and reality distortion field to evaporate …. This is my take on the latest from Appleverse – and an answer to all who were asking whether I did already (pre)ordered and what :-). The answer is – nothing so far. I even have mixed feelings about the four Macworld news and here is why:

Biggest news and coolest announcement is the Macbook Air. Yes, it looks very nice indeed. Yes, the new gestures are amazing. Both pricewise and performance-wise it sits in between Macbook and Macbook Pro, beating both on coolness and portability. But I think I will skip this one.

Main reason is that number of notebooks in my house divided by number of household members is already bigger than one – even if I include the cat. Besides, I do not really need ultra portable notebook so it is hard to justify the cost. For an eBook reader it is still too big and has too short battery life. And for serious work, the screen is too small and the computing power / graphics card not a match to Macbook Pro.

If I did not already have a Macbook, that may have been very strong temptation. But – IMHO – being thinnest and best looking is maybe most important for superstars, but not the most important feature for a notebook. For $500 less you will get same size screen with same resolution, same graphic card, 20% faster CPU plus the DVD drive and Ethernet port. Is the form factor and iluminated screen worth six hundred dollars ? You decide. I am just not convinced that it is worth the asking price of $1899. And how the hell did Apple come to the conclusion that $1799 USD times 1.01 equals $1899 CAD ? What kind of math is that ?

Apple is generally not very nice to Canadians. Regardless of pretty much parity between the loonie and the greenback for many months, we are still paying 10-15% more for the same products as our friends in the USA. We have (officially) no iPhone – unlike Germany, France and UK . Selection offered on iTunes here and down there is so different that it is not even funny. No movie rentals for us for quite some time. It may or may not be in Apple’s hands and possibly caused by legal issues around our overregulated telecom sector … But back to the Macworld.

The iPhone / iTouch upgrades do not excite me at all. The iPhone upgrade is irrelevant (see above) and from the new Touch 4 apps I do not need at least three. Google Maps on iTouch cannot work anywhere as good as on iPhone. Not without phone tower triangulation capability. And density of public WiFi spots in Canada …. no comment. I guess much better will be to wait until SDK is out and third party vendors will join the market. I will happily pay for an application that will make Touch better eBook reader. But charging the $20 for the apps that otherwise identical, same retail price iPod will have for free since today, just cannot be understood otherwise than Apple likes to punish the early adopters – the most loyal fans. Second time in less that 8 months. Point taken …

If you live in the USA, new Apple TV is actually a great idea. The convenience of renting without leaving the sofa can make a huge difference. Price is the about the same or better as the OnDemand rental, you have 30 days to start watching and the same 24 hrs to finish as with cable. What is IMHO killer feature is making it computer independent, but still allow transfer purchased/rented content to your Mac or PC and iPod. An ideal way how to take few movies with you for a long flight or commute. I would buy one right away – if there was a good content.

If the Apple TV had a DVD slot, it would be completely amazing and it would be best shot to become the only box next to TV – no more need for digital terminal and DVD player … I will re-evaluate this one when it is clear what is the iTunes movie selection in Canada – and stick with cable and DVD until then.

Last but not least – Time Capsule. Nice, but I already have an external harddrive for Time Machine. Whether paying twice the price of 500 GB disk is worth the convenience of not having to attach the cable to my Macbook – I am not quite sure. I am also not sure how will the wireless backup speed do compared to FireWire. Capability of backing up both Macs would not help me either because the Macbook still runs Tiger …

So from all the shiny new offering, my most likely 2008 purchase is something that was announced before Macworld to avoid distracting the audience and stealing the thunder: the new Mac Pro server. Getting really well designed and well built 8 cores server with 16 GB RAM for a little more than $4000 is a great deal – and he best way how to run Windows: inside the safe boundaries of UNIX :-).

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