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The Back Page
by Bryan Chaffin

New iMacs. iPhoto. Good Stuff.
January 8th, 2002

Apple announced new iMacs and iPhoto yesterday. There was that little item about a 14" iBook too, but that's no big deal...

Or something.

I'll be honest, none of the things that my various sources told me were to be announced were actually announced. We aren't in the rumor business here at TMO, but if we were I would have publicized what I "knew" because I was pretty sure it was right on target. Lo and Behold!, it was not. It's either that or there were some major last minute changes in plans.

Heck, I didn't order a new Dual-800 tower for the sole reason that I thought that new towers would be released yesterday. It just goes to show you that a new Mac on your desk is worth two on a rumor site. You can quote me on that (spelled B-r-y-a-n).

What we did get is a new iMac and iPhoto. Both of these things are Big Deals. Make no mistake about it, they are Big Deals™, despite what some of my own staff members and forum regulars think. As TMO forum member someToast pointed out, for US$1800, a family can burn their own DVDs, and that same system would have cost the down payment on a house just last year. The promise of iDVD and iMovie is frankly just now being met with the new iMacs because of the SuperDrive and the G4. In my book, that's good news.

The new iMacs are going to completely rejuvenate Apple's consumer sales. I have seen these things in real life, I have touched them, and I have seen the way the mainstream press was oohing and cooing over them. The new iMacs are going to get more press than the original iMac did, and most of that press is going to be very positive. In fact, it has already started off on a good note.

Holy Deja Vous, Batman!

The only people complaining about the new iMacs are Macheads. This is the same thing that happened with the iPod. Apple hyped, we believed. Apple announced, we revolted. We then all bought iPods, too, but that's just nit-picking, isn't it? The mainstream press didn't get pissed that Apple had hyped the iPod, nor did they proclaim it a let-down. In fact, they went gaga over it, and poured out the complimentary exposure, which would explain why it is that Apple has sold roughly a gagillion iPods since they were introduced.

It's the same thing with yesterday's announcements. Apple over-hyped, we believed. Apple announced, and many Macheads are revolting. The mainstream think it's definitely the second coming and Apple is in the process of getting hundreds of millions of dollars in free advertising. It *will* be a success, and it will bring more people to the platform. Time will bear this out, but you are free to call me a wanker, if you see fit.

iPhoto

iPhoto will be the big news in the long run from this keynote. That is, of course, if Apple can do a good job of getting the word out. iPhoto is so perfect for what 99% of American families want to do with photography. It is so much MORE perfect for those families than iMovie is, that I am surprised that Apple didn't concentrate on releasing it first. iPhoto is going to sell lots of iMacs to lots of people. Again, that's utterly dependent on whether or not Apple can get the message out. The company's advertising (it's TV commercials I am quibbling about) has utterly failed to deliver the message of the Digital Hub in my opinion. The touchy-feely commercials that the company has been relying on to explain iMovie, iDVD, and, to a lesser extent iTunes, does a terrible job of explaining to normal people what they can do and how easy it is to do it. They would be great commercials to *accompany* an informative commercial, but as standalone ads they suck. It annoys me.

The iPhoto commercial that Mr. Jobs showed us during the keynote was beautiful and touching, but it does not show people what it is they can do. If Apple can get over itself enough to take the time to do just that, or if they can wait until there are enough Apple Stores for people to be lured in with the touchy-feely ads, then iPhoto is going to change the computing industry in a much more meaningful manner than did iMovie. Even if they don't, iPhoto is going to be important for the future of Apple and the Mac platform. Don't let the naysayers (like me, to some extent) tell you anything to the contrary.


began using Apple computers in 1983 in a high school BASIC programming class. He started using Macs in 1990 when the Kinko's guy taught him how to use Aldus PageMaker, finally buying a Power Computing Power 100 in 1995. Today, Bryan is the Editor of The Mac Observer, and has contributed to the print versions of MacAddict and MacFormat (UK).

You can send your comments directly to him, or you can also post your comments below.

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