Page Two

By Matthew Rothenberg  |  Posted 2003-01-08 Print this article Print

: Viva Steve Jobs!"> While the 17-inch PowerBook is a tour de force of industrial design, Im inclined to agree with showgoers who suggested that its new 12-inch counterpart is the easier sell. The larger models $3,299 price tag is not insignificant, and the system is awfully big. Its target market of creative professionals may be accustomed to toting bulky portfolios, but Im not sure how this system will fit in coach. Its fast FireWire 800 port is a nice improvement; its 1GHz PowerPC G4 processor is less-than-impressive. I love this machine, but Id sooner hitch up with its elfin and less-expensive 12-inch counterpart. The adoption of 802.11g for AirPort and built-in support for BlueTooth are both nice enhancements that underscore Apples commitment to industry-standard wireless networking.
The enhancements to its iMovie, iDVD and iPhoto applications (along with the recently upgraded iTunes) will surely help spark sales of consumer systems and reify Apples position as a vendor of family-friendly multimedia. Happily, the pricing structure for the new software turned out to be a non-issue: iMovie, iPhoto and iTunes are still available for free download; all three are bundled with iDVD for $49; and as expected, all four will ship free with each new Mac.
When a performer as highly disciplined as Steve Jobs speaks—even for 120 minutes—you have to assume that every word is carefully chosen, and seemingly tangential remarks take on some weight. At risk of sounding like a Cold War Kremlinologist, I was intrigued by the image Jobs evoked to illustrate the volume of visitors coming to Apples national chain of 51 retail stores. After pointing out that 85 million Americans now live within 15 miles of an Apple outlet, Jobs pointed out that Decembers 1.4 million visitors was "equivalent to 20 Macworlds." Its public knowledge that Apple and show organizer IDG World Expos have been at loggerheads over Apples continued participation in twice-yearly Macworld Expos. Im sure this contrast between store and trade-show traffic was an intentional reference to the underlying economic issues behind Apples reluctance to commit. Watching one trade show after another crumble in the face of woeful industry conditions, I can understand the desire to think different when it comes to reaching out to end users. So far, this show seems far more dynamic than any other industry event Ive observed this year, thanks both to the dauntless energy of the Mac community and the showmanship of the man who best symbolizes the platform. As a fan both of the Mac and the theater, though, I profoundly hope that yesterdays performance wasnt Steve Jobs Macworld swan song. Mac veteran Matthew Rothenberg is online editor for Ziff Davis Medias Baseline and CIO Insight magazines.

Online News Editor
Matthew has been associated with Ziff Davis' news efforts for more than a decade, including an eight-year run with the print and online versions of MacWEEK. He also helped run the news and opinion operations at ZDNet and CNet. Matthew holds a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego.


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