I watched Steve Jobs' keynote address today, via satellite. There was some great stuff introduced, if only I could afford it.
The best news for Mac afficianados was the introduction of faster G4 machines. After being stuck at 500mhz for 18 months, Apple is finally shipping machines at up to 733 megahertz. This, coupled with a faster 133 megahertz memory bus, should make them blisteringly fast. Unfortunately, you can't get a dual-CPU version faster than 533 megahertz at this time, probably due to shortages of those fast G4 chips.
The new Titanium G4 PowerBook was introduced. It's slim and sexy, weighing in at only 5.3 pounds, and the 15.2 inch screen is great looking. It's reasonably priced, starting at $2600 or so, which isn't bad for a premium laptop computer.
Apple introduced iTunes and iDVD software as well. The iTunes software is a clone of Microsoft's Windows Media Player 7, which is available on the Windows platform. It has almost every single feature of iTunes, with the exception of the more intuitive search feature.
iDVD was probably the coolest thing shown, in my opinion. That, coupled with the new SuperDrive that allows you to burn your own DVD's, would be a great solution for people in the education field as well as multimedia professionals. Heck, I'd love to have one, but the cost is more than a little prohibitive for personal use. If your family had a large number of DVD players, it'd be great for cheaply distributing home movies, or pictures. You could fit thousands of digital photographs on a single DVD, as well as several hours of home video. It'd be perfect for sending things to the grandparents, providing they could run their DVD player, which are generally more simple than computers are, and cheaper too.
Apple lowered the pricing on their 15 inch LCD panels, to a more reasonable $799. That's a step in the right direction, but it's going to have to come down even farther before you'll find them on every desk. Then again, considering Apple charges $499 for their 17 inch CRT, $300 more for a flat panel may be an easy sell to a lot of corporate customers.
Mac OS X will ship on March 24, or so says Steve Jobs. I'll believe it when I see it. Apple isn't going to start shipping it on new computers until next July, though they went out of their way to point out that all of their new models are "OS X Certified". This is most likely an attempt to get people, such as myself, to buy a Mac now, when all common sense tells us to wait until OS X is released. I have no interest in owning a Macintosh until it comes with OS X pre-installed. I'm not going to pay to be a beta tester, or find out that some aspect of my new machine isn't supported yet. I'll wait until Apple has everything solidifed to the point that they're willing to ship it on their machines.
I wonder if Apple is going to be cutting prices on their old G4 models, to clear the backlog they've got. There may be some deals to be had on the now-obsolete models, if you look around. In any case, I'm not buying yet, I'm waiting for new iBooks, running OS X. So, it'll be a while...
The big deal for me is OS X news.
All I've wanted is a UNIX-ish OS with a desktop that is:
1. Easy to use.
2. Customizable and powerful.
3. Visually appealing.
OS 9 is a good desktop -- it's all three of the above. But under the hood is where it fails.
OS X Public Beta is great under the hood, but the desktop isn't that great. (Compared to OS 9, anyway. I prefer it to some other desktops.)
GNOME and KDE are not that good. Yet, anyway. Even though under the hood they've got Linux.
But the changes coming to OS X do, finally, appear to give me what I want.
My staff training grant request was approved, and overnight even! I'm glad, I was worried that they'd used up all of the available funds before I'd applied. The form asked for my justification for taking the class, and all I could come up with was personal curiousity and pursuit of a second degree. I had to mark the box saying that it didn't apply to my job either. Oh, I probably could have come up with some logical reason about how it would make me better at doing my job, but really, how much use does a PC Support Specialist have for knowledge about the Criminal Justice System?
You know, I've been pretty happy with Windows 2000, I feel that Microsoft "got it right" in creating it. It's stable, it's fast, and feature-rich. Then I go and read an article like this one, about the next incarnation of Windows, and it really pisses me off.
Microsoft is implementing an anti-piracy feature in the next version of Windows, making it much like Office 2000 is now. You have to electronically register the copy with Microsoft, and you can't install it on another computer without getting Microsoft to relinquish the lock out. In my case, this will lead to increased piracy, as I'm not going to bother buying their products anymore, I'll just bring a copy home from work, as our Licensing Program copies don't have this "feature".
Why does this bother me so? Isn't it just to prevent piracy? I despise this because it harms power users the most. My legitmate copy of FrontPage 2000 sits on my shelf, because I bring home the FrontPage 2000 CD from work. If I want to install my copy, I have to call Microsoft and have them undo the lock-out on the product ID. Okay, that's kind of a pain, but I could live with it. What I can't live with, is that they will only do this a maximum of ten times!!! Back when I was running Windows 98 at home, it wasn't uncommon for me to have to reformat and reinstall my machine every two or three months, it doesn't take long to go through ten installations. I don't think I should have to buy additional copies of FrontPage just because Microsoft can't produce a stable home-user operating system.
Way to go, Microsoft, you just gave a lot of people a reason to not upgrade to the next version of Windows. You also gave people a reason to switch to Linux/BSD/BeOS/MacOS X or whatever else doesn't have this stupid lock-out involved.