On March 21, at approximately 11:30am Melbourne time, Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs commenced his keynote speech at Macworld Tokyo. While this was with a “reasonable” viewing time to see a streamed QuickTime broadcast of the keynote live for those of us in Australia and the Asia Pacific region – normally we have to stay up late at night to watch them – there was no live QuickTime broadcast, nor in fact any real “live” coverage from the major Macintosh News sites. All the major news started following after the keynote had concluded.
At the time of writing this article, there was no sign of a “view-on-demand” stream of the keynote, but there is some hope that such stream may be made available at a later date.
Anyway, there were a number of announcements made during the keynote and some are far more important than others – and they aren’t necessarily the obvious ones.
In an unprecedented step, Jobs announced at the beginning of his presentation all the topics he would cover during the keynote, which included;
- Mac OS X
- Digital Hub
- Cinema Display
Mac OS X
Jobs started one of his standard presentations on Mac OS X and its’ Unix core, followed by “guest” presentations including Adobe talking about the Japanese versions of InDesign and Photoshop; Ergosoft discussed two Mac OS X only packages, EG Bridge and EG Word, that provides an extremely powerful input method for Japanese; FileMaker demonstrated how easy it is to use FileMaker on an iMode internet enabled mobile phone; Maya and Final Cut Pro were demonstrated.
Following the Mac OS X presentations, Jobs moved on to his now standard Digital Software packages blurb with demonstrations of iDVD, iTunes, iMovie and iPhoto.
Jobs announced that demand for the new LCD based iMac has been incredible with over 125,000 units already sold and Apple have moved into full volume production with 5,000 units shipping a day and they are hoping to catch up with the full demand shortly.
He then dropped a small bomb shell regarding the cost of the iMac. Stating “that due to significant increases in component costs for memory and LCD flat-panel displays, the company will increase the price of all new iMac models by US$100. Effective immediately.”
No doubt this was a hard decision for Apple to make, and actually announce in a keynote speech, but personally, I believe the small increase in cost is far better than reducing specs on processor speed, standard RAM or hard drive space, which is what PC vendors seem to be doing.
There is some good news though: Anyone who has an iMac currently on order will have the original price honoured and for Australian buyers there is even better news, the A$200 increase does not take effect until April 2, 2002, which means that you can still order an iMac at the old prices of $2,995 for the CD-RW, $3,495 for the Combo and $4,195 for the SuperDrive model. After April 2, they will be $3,195, $3,695 and $4,395 respectively.
In Australia, the $200 price rise won’t take effect until April 2, 2002
The biggest announcement coming out of Macworld Tokyo was Apple’s announcement that it will be incorporate support for any USB equipped Macintosh running Mac OS X 10.1.3.Currently, you’ll need to purchase a $99 USB-Bluetooth adaptor and then in April, you’ll be able to download a copy of the “Bluetooth Technology Preview” from the Apple Bluetoothweb page.
Bluetooth is a protocol that is designed to connect computers and peripherals like keyboards, mice, PDA’s, mobile phones and printers together wirelessly. While you can also enable File Sharing via Bluetooth, the protocol only supports data transfer at 1Mbps at a maximum range of about 10m, so it won’t be replacing Airport, but Bluetooth can still be useful to move that small file or two.
Within 6-12 months, I foresee Bluetooth as a standard feature on all Macintosh systems and Apple branded Bluetooth keyboards and mice
Bluetooth is the biggest announcement from Macworld Tokyo and will affect Mac users for years to come
23″ Cinema Display HD
Jobs announced the addition of a fourth member to the Apple LCD family – the 23″ Cinema Display HD.
The 23″ LCD has a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels with a 16:10 ratio and supports 16.7 million colours. The resolution supports High Definition Television (HDTV) content with room to spare, making it perfect for use with Final Cut Pro editors who are creating content for this medium. It will also allow a desktop publisher to view a 11″ x 17″ two-page spread.
The Apple Cinema HD Display (23″ flat panel) is available for $7,599 and requires Mac OS X 10.1.3 or Mac OS 9.2.2 to operate.
New iPod options
The last of Job’s announcements was a new 10Gig iPod model that can have up to 2,000 songs stored on it. The 10Gig iPod is available immediately for $1,095 from the Apple Store and resellers.
A new Contacts option allows you to view names, address and phone numbers that can be downloaded from Microsoft Entourage, Palm Desktop and Mac OS X Address Book.
You can also have up to 20 preset equaliser settings that are setup in iTunes.
The 5Gig iPod is still available for $895 and includes the new Contacts feature. Owners of the original 5Gig model can update their existing iPod to support the Contacts option by downloading the iPod Updater 1.1 from Apple’s website.
download iPod Updater 1.1 »
In the United States, you can now order your new 5 or 10Gig iPod with up to two lines of 27 characters each engraved on the back for an additional US$49. At the time of writing, this option was not available in Australia, but hopefully it will become so in the future.
Photographs courtesy of Apple Computer, Inc.
All prices listed are in Australian Dollars and include GST, unless other stated.
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