As my Apple ardor has grown over the past seven or eight years, I've been following the company's announcements more and more closely (though from afar - I've never actually attended a Macworld convention). This time around my reaction is different in a way that is interesting enough to analyze. I was anything but overwhelmed when I first saw the LCD iMac - the utterly basic quality of the design and the color was not enough to excite me the way the Titanium Powerbook or the original Blue & White G3 case did. Still, I kept looking at it - I found it difficult to look away. Thoughts were rattling around in there that I hadn't quite pinned down, and my opinion was not yet set in concrete.
Since then I think I've come to grips with my own opinion. The new iMac is beautiful in its simplicity and impressive for its feature set. As a desk fixture, it's so basic as to be nearly (but not quite) brilliant - a deceptive amount of thought went into every design decision they made. As a computer, it has what might be the best price-performance combo of any Mac ever. $1800 for an 800 MHz G4 and Superdrive is something I don't think anyone expected. It seems they held off bumping the professional models to make the iMac look like an even better deal. But I don't expect that to last long - Apple needs to break the 1 GHz barrier before too long so they don't appear to be left in the dust by the chip-that-marketing-built, the P4.
I really don't understand why they enlarged the iBook screen without increasing the resolution. Must have been a price-driven decision. I hope the bigger iBook sells well, but I have my doubts yet. iPhoto would excite me more if we had a digital camera, which I'm embarrassed to say we don't. (singing: "Someday, my toys will come...") Didn't stop me from downloading the app, though - I'll probably install it this weekend and play around with our existing photos. It's worth noting that iPhoto is really a complimentary app to Photoshop, not an alternative at all, which makes Adobe's foot-dragging on the OS X version of Photoshop all the more annoying. I'd really like to know the story on that one someday - are they starting from scratch? Feuding with Apple? Hiring less competent developers? What's the big hold up here?
The Wired article about the lack of any exciting non-Apple announcements at Macworld has me a bit upset. Maybe it's just an off year because of world events and the economic downturn, but I hope that this doesn't reflect a broader trend toward Macs now that OS X is the default boot. (A questionable decision, that.) I also hope that OS X retains the Mac's user-friendliness - right now, the shareware being released and the OS indications all lean toward the techie side of the house, which is to say away from accommodating the "dumb users" who just want to play games and surf the web. But then that was the way when the PowerPC was first introduced too - and in both cases Apple did an admirable job of providing a smooth transition method for all users.
Enough of this. More ranting and rumination later.