By: Jeff Furlong
July 19, 2002
Wanting to get a close up view of this summer's Mac action, I headed to New York with my Media Badge and entered the expo. I only stayed during Wednesday, mainly to catch the keynote and browse the exhibit floor. The day had some expected and unexpected events. By now, the general news of the show is obvious and widespread, but I will investigate on a different level.
Well of course, traffic was a bit heavy, and I showed up slightly late, though in time for the keynote. Despite this, the media seating was full and I only was granted general admission to the keynote, where Jobs seemed small and distant. It actually took some time to convince myself that I was in the same room, because there were plenty of other people obstructing the views. Two giant screens displayed Jobs and the stage, while an even bigger display acted as a desktop mirror or general presentation device. The glimpse of new software was huge, mainly the preview of Jaguar, Mac OS X 10.2. Jobs claimed there are over 150 new features, including iChat, iCal, iSync, iTunes 3, QuickTime 6, Sherlock 3, et cetera (oh how the list goes on). There is a magnificent focus on uniting a digital lifestyle that you can take with you where ever you go: home, work, taking your iPod or PDA for a stroll, or carrying your cell phone. All of these machines can now merge together and blend beautifully, without having to worry about specific technical settings. Transferring data is very easy and some aspects are automatic so there is no need to even be concerned. All of this new stuff is great, but the problem is it will not be available until August 24; and, unless you buy a Mac after July 17, you need to pay the full $129 price tag, again. I was somewhat disturbed about this, but the other news pleased me.
The iPods got revamped more than quite nicely. The price cut was unexpected, as was the better design on the 10 GB model. Even more surprising is the new 20 GB model, where you can fit 4000 songs in your pocket. And of course, it is not just about music, but calendars, games, and address books. This was a great feature to see become available today. Also, there are versions for Windows users, so that they may now become aware of this great hit, and perhaps migrate to the Mac platform.
Finally, some hardware news become available, but it was only on the iMacs. The high end model received a $100 price break, very nice. This puts more people in the market for a SuperDrive, and hence the purchase of DVD's and the use of the associated applications. But, the much more appealing event was the introduction of the 17 inch LCD iMac, a real crowd pleaser. It looks great up close, with the widescreen display offering you more viewing real estate. It is full of G4 power, 80 GB of storage, plus a SuperDrive, and quality graphics. The price is only $2000, a nice buy surely to be another hit.
I was a bit disappointed that there were not more hardware announcements. I thought that there may be a chance of the Power Macs being revamped, but more realistically given a price break. When the rebates became available prior to the MWNY week, it became clear that there would be no changes here. However, I was really looking for the PowerBooks to be updated, or again, given a price slash. This was perhaps the biggest disappointment for me during the keynote. I don't enjoy spending $2500 for a 667 MHz machine with no AirPort. Although, I can always hunt around for deals and sales. I talked to a few Apple employees, and asked one about future portable plans. Naturally, her claim was, "I can't comment on that." This either means something is in the works, or more realistically, she had no idea what the future plans are. Another Apple employee was questioned about some of the tech specs on the Power Macs. Unfortunately, he could not answer any of my questions, but could show off the power of the machine. He was a man demonstrating a G4, but told me that he was not into the hardware of the machine. Some people near me asked about prices and if it's worth every dollar. The man incorrectly quoted the prices and referred to the website for backup to correct his mistake. That was an ugly scene, where the Apple employees do not know exactly what they are doing (and yes, I did check his badge to make sure he was an Apple rep, right from Cupertino). Another Apple rep gave very little help when asked about some more general details of the G4's. However, I did see Apple employees being very serious to some attendees, surely providing tons of help. You could not easily talk to these people without waiting for some time. My point is, all of the Apple employees there should have had thorough knowledge of what machines they were demonstrating. It is merely sad that not all of them failed in this area.
There were many creative displays on the exhibit floor, but initially after the keynote, the amount of people was staggering. People, people, people! From kids grabbing five Jaguar posters, to exhibiters, to older people, the attendance was huge. I was not able to find every company that I wanted to visit, but did see quite a few. Overall, it was a nice show that lacked only some features that I would have liked to see.
Sometimes pictures transmit better than words, so below you'll find a link to a photo gallery from the show.
MWNY 2002 Photo Gallery
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