I purposely avoided Steve Jobs Macworld keynote, instead relying on the Apple Web site, news releases and a couple of calls to people who were at the keynote to fill me in.
I did this because Apples new products always seemed so much better when I attended the love fest than when I considered them later in the harsh light of reality. This time, I decided to avoid the brainwashing and consider Apples products as I do everyone elses.
Heres my immediate reaction:
Mac mini: A $499 Mac ought to be the ultimate "switcher" box. Not that most Windows users actually switch to Macintosh, but many have bought a Mac for use at home. Buy a KVM (keyboard/video/mouse) switch, and the Mac mini can share mouse, keyboard and screen with your PC. This gets users a Mac without a lot of work and for a minimal investment.
Having this machine in the Apple product line allows Mac fanatics to tell their Windows friends that instead of upgrading their Windows machine, they should add a Mac to their desktop or home—and save money in the process.
The downside of the Mac mini may be performance in the graphics-intensive applications toward which Mac users tend to gravitate. I want to see an independent, hands-on review before committing to a final score, but as a preliminary grade, I think an "A" is right on target. Im about ready to pull out my credit card for this one.
iWork: So, this is the Microsoft Office competitor Apple was rumored to be releasing? Clearly, thats not what this is. But I am looking forward to using iWork nevertheless. First, Keynote is a very useful presentation package, and Ive been looking forward to a new version.
Second, the Pages word processor is intended to be a tool that offers more layout options than a word processor without the complexity of desktop publishing. Thats a need I often have. For $79, Id be willing to take a chance on this one. Meanwhile, the Office competitor, if it exists, must wait for another day. A B+ seems appropriate.