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The New Apple

In tech on August 8, 2007 by karan Tagged: , , ,

Apple unveiled the new iMac today, along with the iLife 08 and iWork 08 suites (neatly skipping the question of ’07), and suffice to say, they move once again another step forward, keeping themselves way ahead of the curve in both hardware and software.

iMac

One thing that the latest release really confirms is that, in consumer terms, Apple doesn’t make desktop computers any more. They make portable computers, in sizes 13, 15, 17, 20 and 24. There’s no way the components of the iMac are anywhere near the “PC standard” – no chance of being completely user servicable or upgradable. Sure, the iMacs as opposed to the laptops aren’t going to be the most portable devices, but when compared to practically any other “desktop” system, it’s as portable as a … uh… very portable thing.

Anyway.

Apple is light years in front, were light years in front anyway last week, but now they’ve pulled another one out to make sure they stay ahead. Sony’s Vaio series is the only mass manufacturer that even comes close. And Apple can afford to do it, too, because their customers know and expect Apple to control the hardware. The only way to compete would be for a laptop manufacturer to ditch the idea of user-upgradability and just go for it. Oh and poach John Ive while you’re at it, otherwise you’re doomed.

I remember Dad complaining more than once that there was too much clutter around the PC, especially with all those wires. I think I’m going to have to get him a Mac to show him that his wish to get rid of all that crap has come true.

iLife

Nothing so groundbreaking as to warrant dropped jaws, but a big tick of approval as far as I’m concerned with better management in iPhoto, and a revision of iMovie. Again, Apple outpaces anything Microsoft and the Windows universe can throw at them; I just wish that there’s a decent export option in iPhoto 08.

iWork

Keynote and Pages are known quantities: no matter what the upgrade is, the core message is already out there and anything else is just a tweak. Where Apple really pulled a rabbit out of a hat, I feel, is the new spreadsheet app, Numbers.

It’s a continuation of the straightforward naming scheme, and while it is sold as a “spreadsheet”, this ain’t your daddy’s Excel. Without having even used it myself, and having little conceivable use for it in any case, I love it. I love how intelligent this app is – just watch the demo videos on the site and tell me if you don’t find yourself thinking “oh, that is cool actually…” Everything is just more intuitive.

Far and away the best feature, though, is the flexible canvas. It is far more than something for a spreadsheet layout – quite simply, it’s a design tool that’s suddenly shown a gap everywhere else. A spreadsheet as a design tool? Why can’t I do the drag and drop thing this intuitively in Dreamweaver? Is there any design tool which does the same thing? It’s a concept that’s certainly captured my mind. Now if only we could get that to output HTML…

If you’ve watched the demo videos and are returning to your own machine, you should quickily pick up just how right Numbers looks. A simple illustration of this is when you highlight a column, the sidebar comes up with a drag-and-drop of common formulas that might apply – simply pick up the Sum item from the sidebar and drop it in the required cell. A simple idea that will replace the existing mindset, the Lotus 1-2-3 method of hiding it away as a function that you have to “know”.

It’s no Excel, at least from the perspective I’ve seen at work on the trading floor, but when Steve Jobs said spreadsheets for the rest of us, he wasn’t wide of the mark.

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2 Responses to “The New Apple”

  1. i just found out this week that our general/undergrad college library has switched over to nice black MacBooks for their entire laptop lending collection. They run both OS and Windows and (since they’re new) are in much better condition than the previous Dell Latitudes…

  2. Good for you guys :D They are far better machines, and I’m sure it’ll be a pleasure to use for anyone that does borrow. Still, interesting that they’d opt for the black model, given it’s more expensive just for the sake of being black…

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