Macworld 2008 Stevenote

.. that something is eau du fanboy.

As is customary, the annual Stevenote kicked off Macworld today in San Francisco today, minus the black shirt and jeans we usually see from Steve-o. He was looking rather dapper today as he introduced the new lineup of Apple goodies for 2008. Ryan at Engadget liveblogged the event nicely, and for my purposes I figured I’d react as one voice in the chorus that is Apple’s target market. Here’s a few thoughts on each of the rollouts, with a thumbs up or down reaction:

Office 2008 for Mac (verdict: thumbs up)

It was about time for an update, despite the rapidly improving zoho and google docs online office apps. I could go on about Office for Mac, but who cares? Let’s move on to the new macbooks and other stuff.

Time Capsule (verdict: thumbs down)

I’m calling it now – Time Capsule will be 2008’s Apple TV. I’m not the only one to reach this conclusion. The device itself is neat, but really it’s just a backup machine with wireless capabilities. The Airport Extreme already provides the wireless link needed to share a backup hard drive, so Time Capsule seems redundant to some extent if you’re already on the Steveo bandwagon. I don’t quite think the Windows home server and Apple Tv 2.0 are chasing after the same markets – the Windows server is more for the do-it-yourselfer, while the Time Capsule is the too-busy-to-do-it-myselfer.

While not a bad offering, I don’t see any widespread adoption potential and the $299 and $499 price points (for 500GB and 1TB respectively), just like with the Apple TV. Speaking of which..
Apple TV 2.0 + Movies (verdict: mixed)

The idea behind the nouveau Apple TV is to provide users with a device where you can browse movies, rent them, and watch them on your television without a computer. In other words, while iTunes provides an alternative to the music store, Apple TV 2.0 provides an alternative to Netflix and Blockbuster.

First the good – I love the Flickr capabilities, and love the ability to surf and listen to podcasts without the computer. I also love the lower pricepoint of $229. It seems Apple thought this out and I do see a market for the new Apple TV.
Sort of. The video rental stuff is all well and good but Comcast has been doing this for a while now. Netflix has a “view now” feature where you pay a flat fee and watch whatever you like. For normally cutting edge Apple, this is decidedly behind the curve. In other words, Netflix gives me more bang for the buck. The market I see for this is my mom. She’s not terribly computer saavy, but would probably get a kick out of seeing my new Flickr pics and phasing out the occasional trip to blockbuster. I don’t know if Apple TV 2.0 appeals to me, however. I’m already used to having an all-you-can-eat instant watch, thanks to Comcast and Netflix.

iPhone Developer Kit (SDK) (verdict: thumbs up)

Apple took alot of heat for shutting off outside developers from the iPhone internals. Deservedly so for such an asshat move. So thanks for listening Steve-o. If you’re wondering why you should care, consider ordering a Starbucks coffee on your iPhone while walking to the store, then picking it up once you arrive. the iPhone just became far more valuable both to software developers and to me as a user. Here’s a conceptual mockup from Phil Lu:

The possibilities are pretty exciting to say the least.

Macbook Air (verdict: Huh? I dont’ get it)

Finally, Steve-o introduces the Nike Macbook Air. Ok it looks beautiful; I love the thin footprint and the stylish design. I’m not sure sure I love what’s under the hood, though: 1.6Ghz Core 2 Duo ULV chip, 2GB RAM, 802.11n, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, and 80GB drive for $1800. For “only” $1300 more, you can get a 64GB SSD and 1.8Ghz processor. One you get past the siren’s song and do the math, you realize it’s a prety bad price-performance ratio. Also, what’s with the non-replaceable battery?

Here’s what I’m wondering: who is this targeted towards? I can see on-the-go executives, sales professionals (like myself), and artists opting for a Macbook pro at that price, providing a bigger screen and more storage for all those excel spreadsheets or musical compositions. Middle of the road buyers (students and budget consumers) really aren’t a good fit for the Air either. Maybe I’m way off here, but I just don’t see these things flying off the shelves, mostly because I don’t see laptops as a fashion accessory.

What was your take on the Macworld Stevenote? Feel free to let me know…

Update: Apparently 70% of those informally polled at Engadget here feel the same way abotu the Nike Macbook Air. Choice quote: “It all just seems like a step backward for the sake of slimness. Innovation doesn’t begin by taking away features…does it?”

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This entry was published on January 15, 2008 at 3:28 PM. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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