Hot off the Press - News & Commentary
Tuesday, January 06, 2004 by Keith Benicek

MWSF Day 1 Keynote dry, where’s the beef?

This MWSF 2004 brings with a very special designation, it is the 20th Anniversary of the Macintosh. Debuted on June 24th 1984, the Macintosh was indeed a trendsetter putting desktop publishing in the hands of everyman. I’m glad that I waited another 5 months for the release of the “Fat Mac” 512K models, which I still have and it made a wonderful aquarium too.

So when I trekked up here to San Francisco, the “Cereal City” of fruits, flakes and nuts, I was really expecting some major Apple excitement. The halls reverberated with tunes from the 80’s, all my fellow Mac inflicted bouncing off the walls in anticipation of great treats and of course the rumors were flying. All the silly online publications hyped up their clueless readers with promises of “vPods” or “Video iPod” , a $100 Flash RAM based iPod, a totally revamped iMac (to commemorate the original all in one) and of course dreams of 2.4 or 2.6GHz G5 speed bumps.

Earlier Monday perusing of the Apple booth, by sneaking in the hall where they resided by playing an exhibitor setup crewmember thanks to my buds at a forever un-named software maker, gave no clue to anything “big”. So it would be necessary to wait for the much bally-hoed Keynote address to find Mac enlightenment this morning.

Jobs opening pronouncement to the gathered masses were meant to pay homage to the Mac that started it all for Apple version 2.0. The Mac came out in 1984, this year is it’s 20th Anniversary, it was a computer “for the rest of us” Jobs said, “we had to teach people what a mouse was” (that’s after Xerox PARC taught Jobs and Wozniac what a mouse and GUI was).

“The Mac was the first 32-bit processor and now we were the first with a 64-bit computer” Jobs continued. He also talked about the stunning earthshaking Super Bowl “1984 Commercial” and introduced Lee Clow, the man behind that memorable ad. Jobs said that “this will be a great Mac year, great new products will be announced throughout the year”

This build up surely had to mean something big was going to happen, but I at first missed the bad omen. It was ” . . . , great new products will be announced throughout the year”. It meant picking would be slim today.

The second clue was that when Jobs uses a LOT of charts and graphs in his Keynote presentation, it is a sure fire indication that the hardware would be lacking. Here is in a summary synopsis what we of the press, the Mac hordes that we fortunate to enter and the world heard in the hall of the Keynote Address from Steve Jobs.

Summary notes for the Keynote:

  • “OS X Panther is a big hit, . . . Microsoft is copying again, 9.3 million OS X users" (what percentage of that is Panther??) ". . . and the transition is over, we made it”
  • (My question is that if “the transition is over . . . “ and there are 9.3 million OS X users”, is that all the Mac users there are?)
  • Jobs takes shots at Microsoft and Windows Longhorn’s questionable release date.
  • Final Cut Express II, “pro video editing is for everyone” (with US$299. that is).
  • 10,000 native OS X apps (how many are Panther native??)





  • Mac Office 2004 in-progress presentation by Roz Ho (is that really her name?), will release around July 2004 and free upgrade for anyone who buy Office X from today on. Has some really nice new features like Notepad, note flags to Entourage and Project Center.
  • Chest beating about the Virginia Tech super computer benchmarked third faster in the world, construction costs and a neat movie about it.
  • Introductions of the new G5 Xservers w/ 1 or 2 2.0GHz processors, US$2999 to $3999.
  • ITunes – “30 M songs purchased and downloaded”, 70% market share, someone has bought US$29,500 worth of songs (someone checked Michael Jackson’s Visa bill?)
  • 5,000 new Audio Books and sold 50,000 so far. 100,000 iTunes gift certificates.
  • AOL now links to iTunes, 25M AOL users have access and direct billing to their AOL accounts.
  • New iTunes “Billboard Charts” feature and 12,000 new Classical tunes.
  • 500,000 songs available, largest online music store in the world.
  • Pepsi promotion, win 100M free downloads (one each yellow cap code)
  • New iLife 04 “like MS Office for the rest of your life”
  • No major iPhoto overhaul except to run faster with up to 25,000 photos
  • iMovie 4 exports to Keynote, timeline edits, improved titles, iSight import.
  • iDVD new themes, transitions, flips and slideshows.
  • Big addition is 5th component “Garage Band, musical instrument and recording app.
  • Companion “Garage Band” app will cost US$99
  • i Life will be available January 16th, and costs $49 or free with new Mac.
  • iIPod had a good Holiday sales season, 730k in last quarter, 2M total.
  • 10GB iPod becomes a 15GB for the same price, US$299.
  • i Pod has 31% market share, Flash RAM based players have 69% (and where’s all the other HDD based competitors??)
  • Flash based player divided into “high-end” up to $200 and low-end up to $99.
  • Apple wants the 29% high-end Flash market (US$100 - $200)
  • New 4GB HDD based “mini iPod” the size of a business card, .5-in thick, $249.
  • Available in 5 colors” silver, gold, blue, green and pink(?) aluminum housed.
  • (My point – why pay $249 for 4GB when you can get 15GB for $299?????)

You could tell that the shock was running through the crowd and media in the hall and later in the convention exhibit centers. This was the 20th Anniversary of the Mac and there were NO new Macs, there were NO G5 speed bumps and the new mini iPod is a dog. This is going to be a very long slow week in Cereal City.

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