Monday, January 10, 2005

In case you all thought I forgot tech...

I haven't written any good stuff about tech in a while. Sorry about that. But tomorrow's the Macworld keynote, so today's a good time to review the expected Apple announcements, and what they may mean:

1: Flash-based iPod - this is interesting. If Apple does this, and hits the forecasted price point, they will simply own the entire digital music market for the next year or more. The rumor mills say either 1 or 2 GB, at a $149 price point. And the iPod mini will get a boost to 5 GB for now as well, with either no price change or a small price cut (maybe from $249 to $225), depending on what rumors you read. If these hold, then you get Apple filling every serious price point between $150 and $500. iTunes continues to dominate the universe.

2: iWork - iWork is the rumored new AppleWorks replacement - a more robust application suite that includes an updated version of Keynote (which I use for a lot of my presentations now), a better word processor, and all that. Other than some good sleuthing to indicate that it's a reality, I know very little about it. If it gets bundled with every Mac it's a Good Thing, but it may have an impact on the fate of MS Office for Mac, which could be a Bad Thing.

3: Asteroid - this is the alleged codename for a Firewire breakout box that will cost an undetermined amount and give some audio bells and whistles to Garageband users. Which leads to:

4: iLife '05 - An upgraded version of the iLife suite, with newer versions of all the apps provided. If they can reduce CPU usage for Garageband enough to make it useable on my G4-based Macs, it might be really neat. There's also rumored support for 16:9 video in the iMovie/iDVD combo. Otherwise, at the same price as before ($49), I'll buy an upgrade regardless - just for the incremental improvements.

5: The big kahuna - a $499 headless Mac. From the rumor sheets, this will essentially be a replica of today's eMac specs, but minus the monitor built-in and only including a Combo drive at that price. But even if it's just that (a 1.25 GHz G4, 256MB RAM, 40 or maybe 60 GB of HD space, etc.), they'll still sell them faster than they can make them. Bob Cringely's PBS column has an interesting take on the rumor - basically he thinks that though, at $499, Apple can make some profit on them, if Jobs decides to use some of Apple's $6 billion in cash to subsidize selling them at a break-even price point of $349 or even a small loss, Apple could easily sell 10 million of these in a year if they could make them that fast.

Were that the case, Apple could suddenly find themselves in a very promising market position. Like at the top of it.

By the way - with the release of OmniWeb 5.1 I've switched browsers again - I paid the $10 for the upgrade (I originally bought 4.0 when it was on clearance at the Apple Store for $10 a year and a half ago), and now that they've integrated a current released version of the WebCore engine (basically Apple's version of KHTML) it's a real slick browser. I love the interface improvements Omni has made over Safari, and the speed is impressive. It's my new default on the PowerBook, though we'll see what happens when/if Safari 1.3 is released as an interim before Tiger. I noticed that Hyatt's posting again on his blog, so some of the work pressure may be coming off of him now. Maybe that means the 1.3 release is ready to go tomorrow as well.

No comments:

There was an error in this gadget