I followed a good chunk of the new announcements from the Engadget simulblog of Macworld San Francisco 2006 (and watched a little bit on the MacRumors site, too). Speculation is rampant, but nearly everybody is expecting something new and mind-blowing.
-The first little announcement is a remote control / FM modulator for your Mac. I think it is an all around good idea, but nothing particularly mind-blowing here. Although it would certainly be nice to keep your iPod hidden away and easily change songs without digging it out.
-Then, a new version of Tiger (10.4.4) is announced, detailing that it has lots of new widgets. Yawn. And a new revision of iLife ('06). Double yawn. But apparently iLife will now come bundled with new Macs. That's cool.
-Then I see a little bit on "photocasting":
"Whenever there's a change, those changes will get downloaded right into their subscription album... We use industry standard RSS, so anyone can subscribe - you don't even need a Mac." ... The best one-line explanation: Imagine grandparents who have their screen saver set to be photos of the grandchildren. Every time the parents update the album, gramma's slide show automatically starts showing the new pix.
Interesting concept. I see this also working well with those internet photo frames that you can sit on your desk.
-iWeb looks to be interesting for web design n00bs, nice and slick and integrated with everything else. Then something is mentioned about iWork '06. Quadruple Snore.
-Finally, on to the good part: hardware and systems. Regarding the Intel move, the iMac will be launched today with Intel inside. Apparently, the system will look no different from the outside, but will be much (2-3X) faster than the iMac G5, thanks to TWO intel processors that are each faster than the G5. Good news. (As some would say - B A N A N A S).
Apparently 10.4.4 is native on an Intel processor, and loads of new professional applications will come out on universal binaries. Double good.
-Then, a Micro$oft rep comes out to say that Office will be available for the new intel builds. I'm not sure why they were even allowed in the building. I mean, at the very least the presenter should be pelted with old Windows ME disks.
-And then, the announcement of the elimination of Powerbooks, and a new notebook entitled the "MacBook Pro":
The same dual-processor as the iMac in every model. This is hard to believe: 4-5x faster than the PowerBook G5. These things are screamers.
Apparently it is being billed as the "fastest notebook ever." I just hope it isn't the most expensive notebook ever.
Other interesting features - it also will have a superbright LCD, an iSight Camera built in, an IR sensor for use with a remote, and a magnetically attached power adapter called MagSafe ("if yanked, it will come right out," so your notebook doesn't get pulled to the ground if someone trips over your cord - see pic).
The prices are then announced (see pic), and they are a bit high, but nothing new for Apple. From MacRumorslive:
0:38 am Taking orders today. 10:37 am Shipping in February. 10:37 am 5.6lbs. iSight, Front Row; $1999 1.67 Core Duo; 667 DDR bus, x1600; $2499 1.83GHz.
1:36 PM - "One inch thin, 5.6 pounds. Backlit keyboard with ambient light sensor, scrolling trackpad, sudden motion sensor. DVI video out for 30-inch monitors." 1:38 PM - $1999 1.67 Code Duo, 512 MB RAM, 80GB, 4x superdrive, Aiprort Extreme. $2499 for faster model. 1:38 PM - Shipping in February. "If you want one I suggest you get your order in early."
I'm excited about the news, that's for sure. These are some serious revelations that will end the objection that Winblows users state - that their machine is soooo much faster than the silly Macs. A good showing for Mr. Jobs. Who wants to give me $1999 (or better yet, $2499) for a new machine?
UPDATE: The new MacBook Pro (and the iMac, too) is detailed in its full glory on Apple's site.
You’ve dreamed about it long enough. Now it has a name: MacBook Pro. Powered by a dual-core Intel engine. Up to four times the speed of the PowerBook G4. Eight times the graphics bandwidth. With built-in iSight for instant video conferencing on the move. And Front Row with Apple Remote to dazzle everyone in the room. Wait no more. MacBook Pro starts at just $1999.