Jobs unveils new iMacs, iLife and iWork

Jobs unveils new iMacs, iLife and iWork

Summary: Steve Jobs is on stage at Apple's headquarters introducing the new iMacs. I am sitting in the second row and prohibited from taking photos unless I move to the back row with the professional photographers snapping away with motor drives.

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TOPICS: IT Employment
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Steve Jobs is on stage at Apple's headquarters introducing the new iMacs. I am sitting in the second row and prohibited from taking photos unless I move to the back row with the professional photographers snapping away with motor drives. Steve looks the same as last time so you aren't missing anything.

He touted the high quality glass, plastics and aluminum of the new iMacs, as a way to give them a more professional look. It's a refresh, with the 17-inch is going away, and the price going down, starting with a 20-inch system for $1,199 and up to $1,799 for the 24-inch model, which is $200 cheaper than the version it replaces. "It's stunning, even thinner than before," Jobs said. The iMac also sports a new wireless or wired keyboard, with dedicated keys for the dimmer, Expose, volume control and other functions.

imac1.jpg The new iMac...check out the Engadget play-by-play coverage by Peter Rojas and Ryan Block of the event

imac222.jpg

Jobs said that the laptop and desktop Macs are growing at 3x the rest of the industry.

Jobs announced iLife 08, a completely new version of the suite for $79 and available today. "It's the biggest jump in iLife since we first introduced it," he said. iPhoto now catalogs photos as events, and allows you to "skim"(patent pending) through the thumbnails like slideshow. "We think events will dramatically enhance ability to enjoy photos," Jobs said. The 'event' feature is common to services like Flickr.

Apple has 1.7 million .Mac subscribers, Jobs said, as a preface to announcing .Mac Web Gallery, which integrates with iPhoto 08 and iMovie 08. It has one-button photo sharing for creating Web galleries, rich AJAXy viewing, 'print-quality' downloads and integrated with the iPhone. Not revolutionary, but very slick.

Jobs talked about a brilliant Apple engineer who came up with new way of editing video that is "startlingly better." iMovie 08 maintains its own library of videos and skim to preview feature similar to that of iPhoto. "It's a far superior way to look at stuff and find videos in your library," Jobs said. He showed scrolling through videos in the thumbnail view:"Isn't this incredible," he said.

The major improvement in creating movies is the ability to grab seconds or minutes of video from various clips like selecting text. Jobs demonstrated the ease of creating a movie and adding music with iMovie 08. "You can imagine in 20 minutes you can make a really cool movie like this," he said.

iMovie 08 allows you to share videos with iTunes, .Mac Web Gallery, Media Browser or YouTube, and videos can be saved in Mobile, Medium and Large (better than DVD resolution) resolutions.

You get the idea that Jobs hopes to turn the .Mac service, which he said is growing at a "nice clip," (which means not great given he typically uses words like "stunning" or "spectacular") into a Web applications platform to attract users. The .Mac service is available for $99.95 per year and now provides 10 gigabytes of storage.

I would expect Apple to move strongly in the direction of creating a more full fledged Mac application platform for the Web that integrates with the desktop apps.

The new iWeb 08 now includes mashups with Google Maps and integration with embedded code and widgets. Nothing new on that front--Apple is catching up on this front. Google AdSense has been integrated into iWeb 08. iDVD has been enhanced with faster performance and new themes. "For people who still want to make DVDs, we are going to make it better," Jobs said, intimating that making DVDs are passe. GarageBand O8 has also been updated, including Magic GarageBand, an easier entry point into the software.

Jobs continued with the software update, introducing the $79 iWork 08, with updates to the various components in the suite. He said the iWork has sold 1.8 million copies to date. Pages includes contextual formatting, change revision bar and 140 Apple-built templates. Keynote has new effects and transitions that Jobs loves.

Filling out the suite, Jobs introduced a "spreadsheet for the rest of us." Numbers allows several sheets on a canvas, for editing or viewing multiple spreadsheets. "You can import and export almost all Excel documents," he said, acknowledging that a spreadsheet in today's world must be friendly with Microsoft Excel. However Numbers will not import Excel macros.

All of the demos Jobs gave of Mac software were consumer-oriented. He doesn't appear to be making a case for iWork as a competitor to Microsoft Office 08, which has been delayed.

During a Q&A session,I asked about the Mac as a business tool. "Generally our share is moving up in every way. Eleven of the last twelve quarters the Mac business has outgrown the industry--and 3x over the last three quarters," said Apple COO Tim Cook. "Clearly consumer and education are much larger."

threeapple.jpg Apple COO Tim Cook, Steve Jobs and marketing chief Phil Schiller

"There are a lot of other apps that run on the Mac, such as Microsoft Office," Jobs added. "Don't discount the fact that a big part of business is communications oriented. A lot more business have to sell internally and these tools are useful." He pointed to creating movies with the Mac as a way that business sell ideas internally.

Jobs also said, "A lot of Windows customers will switch because of this stuff." He was asked if his goal was to overtake the Windows PC in market share. "Our goal is to make the best PC in world and be proud to sell and recommend it to family and friends...and at the lowest price. We just can't ship junk. There are thresholds we can't cross because of who we are. There is a very significant slice of the industry that wants that too. Our porducts are not usually premium priced...the difference is that we don't ship stripped down, lousy products. If you move those aside and compare us, we compare favorably with competitors."

After the presentation, I asked Jobs about bring more of iLife and iWork to the Web. He said he can't make the applications as interactive as he would like on the Web. The Web as an application platform clearly hasn't the reached a threshold where Jobs can build build what he wants yet.

Instead, Jobs will let Google, Zimbra, Zoho, ThinkFree and others (Microsoft) pioneer the hybrid application world that marries the Web and desktop with a collaboration foundation until the bandwidth, tools and horsepower can handle to core of an Apple application like Keynote.

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  • OK, let's get this started.

    First impression: at least its not as god awful ugly as the previous Macs. I know, Macs are supposed to be these beautiful, artsy, some people even say sexy machines, but beauty is really in the eye of the beholder, and I have never found them to be especially attractive, and would have been embarrassed to have one of the older systems sitting on my desk. This one is at least doesn't look like an artsy toy.

    Besides that, where is the expandability? Upgradeability? I also wonder about cooling, and issue that Apple has struggled with in the past. I know that the new Intel chips run fairly cool, but I am skeptical of this design.

    I know that Apple wants desperately to get into the corporate world, and this may be a step in the right direction. Most of the article, however, talks about how you can make cool looking videos and share pictures, etc. I'm sorry, but in the corporate world, that's not what 99% of us do. I guess in the end that is what separates Apple and Microsoft: Bill Gates understands business, and Steve Jobs does not.
    itpro_z
    • I could agree to a point....

      Yes, I'd agree Bill Gates & Co have a better grasp of understanding business. I.E. Removing their options, strong arming them into long contracts, making office document non backward compatible to force upgrades. Providing free software to influential customers in certain sectors to force the rest of the sector to the Microsoft way. Yeah, I agree with you on all those points.
      Apple on the other hand seems to have a genuine interest in improving the user experience, innovating and moving the industry forward.
      Paco20
      • Apple has little interest

        in anything other then hardware sales, period. If they REALLY wanted to "improve the user's experience" they would open up OSX to multiple hardware vendors, but then hey, they wouldn't be able to sell their hardware unless they lowered the price, and then it's easy to figure out where this is going.

        So what it sounds like you're saying is that to be sucessful in business computing you must do so by [i]Removing their options, strong arming them into long contracts, making office document non backward compatible to force upgrades[/i] as Apple could create products that fit right in while still remaining "benevolent" to the user expeirience, right?

        So either Apple doesn't understand business, or Microsoft had to be the way they are.
        John Zern
        • Disagree...

          I disagree that opening up the platform to more hardware vendors would improve the user experience. However, I'm flexible in my viewpoint and can change it in a heartbeat given compelling reasons. So, what is the compelling reason that opening up to more hardware vendors would improve the 'User experience". I'm waiting with an open mind, so show me.
          Paco20
          • Short answer, it wouldnt

            The only thing opening up OSX to multiple hardware vendors would increase is the install base.

            It would also create a management nightmare on Apples part because of all the new (? flaky ) hardware they will have to support.

            I really wish they would open it up with a very thin HCL that they could control what hardware they had to support.
            Suicida|
          • Free Market

            The one thing that I can do with a Linux PC that I can't do with a MAC is open it up and change around the hardware configuration when needed. If I want a better video card, sound card, network card I can just go and buy one. Since the Drivers are all handled by the manufacturer I just have to find a manufacturer that makes a linux driver. As a result of having all these choices we get cheaper prices. If you ask me Apple is artificially keeping their prices high in a market that will soon swallow them whole if they don't loosen their grip. Moving to an Intel Chipset and OSX was a good move, but they can still work on making their systems less proprietary.
            astefl@...
          • Actually, that is something that Apple tried in

            the 1990's. A variety of other companies started making Apple OS boxes. It was a nightmare. The company hated it. The customers hated it. The other vendors may have hated it, but it's hard to tell, or remember, at this point.

            Apple does well with the market they have, and if they want to experiment with testing other target markets, well - more power to Jobs & Co.

            I am sure they will do a good job, on their own terms, and make the right choice for Apple Inc.

            I don't expect OS X clones to be a part of that.
            fuzzy2k
          • Here is a thought though

            Even though they May not have OSX clones. They did goto an INTEL Chipset, which opened the doorway for you to install any OS on their hardware (Right now we got a guy that installed Vista on his) Do you think they might go back to that? As we all know history does tend to ryme.
            astefl@...
        • Who doesn't understand business?

          I guess The Discovery Channel doesn't understand business because it isn't number
          one, right? Hey, Ford, GM and BMW certainly don't understand business because
          they aren't ubiquitous.

          The poster didn't write about business. He wrote about the attitude towards the
          customer. Apple understands users. With about $12 billion in the bank, can you
          really back up your claim that Apple doesn't understand business?

          You don't have to sell to everyone to be the best. You just have to be the best and
          wait for everyone to catch up.

          Judging from the sales and stock prices, the world is likeing upgrades in quality
          with no upgrade in price.
          mlindl
          • Not business, but business

            In the term that yes, they definately know [i]their[/i] business, as the proof is in the price of my Apple stock.

            But do they know everybody [i]elses[/i] business? That's the question. I've read many an industry magazine, and many have asked the same thing: why not make Mac's and OSX more what business is looking for? They look great and do nice things, but hardware choices and enterprise level networking are not quite up to the level that is associated with Windows, or even Linux for that matter.

            Are they content with the consumer market, or are they of the thought process that business must come around to them, not the other way around?
            John Zern
          • You might be surprised about this

            A large UK insurance company is still running Windows 95 as their PC platform.

            Businesses are "sold" things, they don't go out and "buy" them because they aren't
            the creators of the technology. The never really get what they want.

            Purchasing departments are responsible for purchasing budgets so they buy price
            based on standards. They don't buy TCO, that's where Finance comes in.

            My point is this:

            Apple does research, call centres, website, CAD, administration, HR, enterprise
            management, etc. They are a science, technology, design, marketing and sales
            organization. They specialize in one thing: ease of use and speed. It works very
            well for their corporation.

            Do people think Apple doesn't have a corporate IT department in charge of
            deployment, security, user accounts, etc? If you say no, you are nuts.

            Do people think Apple managers don't have to "buy" their computers? If you think
            so, you are nuts. They do have to buy them from their budgets. I would imagine
            they get the same pricing structure as the federal government, schools and large
            businesses.

            No one really knows who Apple's biggest customer is but they have exactly the
            same issues to worry about as every other company.

            How do they do it? And if they can, why can't others?

            Migration issues combined with narrowmindedness.
            mlindl
        • Apple tried that...

          .... cloning Macs; however it didn't work as people suspected. Apple didn't price the licensing properly and they were making less money, while the Mac Clone companies were putting out products that did not work as seamlessly as true Macs... (trust me I know).
          So when Jobs came back to Apple, (the short version) stopped the cloning.
          I agree I would rather Apple see their OS separately also, however I don't see anyone telling Mercedes to lower their price, or sell their engines.
          el1jones
          • Not Quite ready

            "..however I don't see anyone telling Mercedes to lower their price, or sell their engines."

            Not a real good analogy there. Mercedes does use their engines and technologies in other cars like Chrysler. If I am not mistaken the Chrysler Crossfire is based of of a Mercedes platform and offers a Mercedes engine.

            I would to like to have the option to use Mac OS. I am not a fan of it compared to Windows, but if I had the chance to use it on a computer of my choice then maybe it could grow on me. I am just not one for buying a totally integrated machine which is pretty much what Mac offers unless you go MacPro for $2500. Basically the iMacs are just laptops in my opinion and while they may work for many applications (if you install windows on them) it is just not what many businesses or schools want as a primary system.

            I was given a free MacBook recently as part of a purchase of 60 iMacs that are used in our schools in the graphic design labs. So far I am not impressed. While the laptop is aesthetically pleasing I find that the casing shows smudges and marks quite easily and the touchpad already looks worn from use only after a week or so. The operating system is nice for a individual user but I am finding it rather difficult to integrate into the active directory network. Been on the support with Apple and all the things they want me to try would cause problems with our users when they go back the the windows machines that work so nicely in AD.

            So in short I still think a Mac is better suited for the individual home user and not quite ready for mainstream business. Besides we paid $999 for each 17" iMac after the educational discount and we can get a better equipped PC for $755 with a 17" LCD so I see no savings especially if we were to put windows on them and have to pay for a separate license.
            bobiroc
          • you got ripped

            you got ripped if you bought that many and paid $999 for them, i can buy just one o the 17" educational discount ones for $899, and know i can get some more off of that if i buy a bulk.

            Smudges on the plastic of you Macbook as well as nasty looking trackpad doesn't show a bad design, it shows dirty hands.

            And yes its sometimes hard to use a Non-MS product in a MS Active Directory Network, just as MS intends.
            doh123
          • Just as MS Intends?

            Even though LDAP Works in SAMBA just fine?
            Even though Passwords are Encrypted with SAMBA just fine?
            Even though TCP/IP is standard for all networks?

            I'm sorry but I find it hard to believe that Microsoft Intends to make it so that Macs cannot integrate with an Active Directory Domain.

            As far as I can tell the Mac and Linux os's in our system are connected just fine. They can even print on our print server.
            astefl@...
          • bought direct from apple

            [b]"you got ripped if you bought that many and paid $999 for them, i can buy just one o the 17" educational discount ones for $899, and know i can get some more off of that if i buy a bulk."[/b]

            The were purchased directly from Apple with their educational/government channel. I think at the time they listed at a retail price of $1099 or $1199 and they had an extra gig of ram added and one other thing the teacher requested. I did talk to the rep and we did get some free software and they did include a free MacBook valued at $1500 into the price and supposedly they are sending me a free XServe early next month. When I get that maybe I can accomplish my goal, but school starts next week so I am running out of time.

            [b]"Smudges on the plastic of you Macbook as well as nasty looking trackpad doesn't show a bad design, it shows dirty hands."[/b]

            I wash my hands constantly throughout the day and I don't have smudge problems on my other Laptop.

            [b]"And yes its sometimes hard to use a Non-MS product in a MS Active Directory Network, just as MS intends"[/b]

            I have integrated many different NON-MS products into our Active Directory using the instructions supplied by the product manufacturer all with minimal problem. However this is not the case with apple. Apple support sent me a PDF file with instructions and I have searched and searched for troubleshooting and came up blank. You are blaming MS and it is not like they lock information out about Active Directory and how it works. Many 3rd party vendors have had an easy time making their products work with AD.
            bobiroc
          • Good job of analogy busting, furthermore

            you are right! Macs are truly awful Steve Jobs is the suck and OS X is essentially ebil!

            Can I have your Macbook when you are done with it?
            fuzzy2k
      • Hey, no heresy here!

        I will not tolerate any sarcasm about Microsoft.

        Seriously, the new iMacs are not made for the armies of PC operators that have to
        operate SAP modules or input financial data or input production data or other
        factory work.

        BUT, who wouldn't want to come to work at a call center or in a design center or in
        a media center and not have a beautiful piece of equipment like this to go along
        with your nice work module on your open plan floor?

        Corporations spend fortunes creating environments that are certainly not cheap,
        are visually stimulating, provide comfort and convenience. Why not also provide
        people with the best tool in the business at the price?

        And anyone in sales or marketing that must do spreadsheets or presentations for
        their clients will find the Keynote and Numbers will be far more impressive than
        anything I've ever seen out of Office, even the new XML formatted stuff.
        mlindl
      • intel does the same thing.. and whats your point???

        enough said.
        pcguy777
    • Wait, there's more.

      Go take a look at how you PC guys think and how we Mac guys think:

      http://www.apple.com/imac/design.html

      Now click on the profile of the new iMac and the Dell XP40 with monitor.

      If you think like the Dell looks, it's time to remove the clutter. ;-)
      mlindl