harbar.net component based software & platform hygiene


Print | posted on Wednesday, January 10, 2007 12:56 PM

So every year I try and catch anything interesting from Macworld and the WWDC. Last night I caught up on the QTM of the whoopfest that was Job's keynote. Jobs is always good, but damn was this year a pitch or what. It started with the usual "we've sold a ton of this stuff this year" and "aren't we great for moving to Intel" fluff and then moved on to the "real" content.

Oh hey, before he came on stage a small tribute to the godfather was made. Enough said.

Towards the end Jobs (whom has a quote fetish) quoted somebody famous saying something along the lines of "we try and be were the puck is gonna be at, rather than where it's been" and intimated that Apple was the same. Funny that, especially seeing as the first announcement was AppleTV. Now if there was ever an example of Apple playing catch up, this is it.

Yup, it looks cute - but this is a lame competitor to Media Center. Lame because well, it's basically an extender only (although it does have a 40Gb disk). Lame because it requires iTunes on the real computers (and how badly does iTunes suck - very much). Music playing UI - Lame. How much UI innovation overall here? None really - it's very poor and un-imaganative. I was hoping for so much more from Apple. There are some good things about it thou - certainly the price point (300 USD) is appealing and the small form factor (with no power brick required) is the right way to go. I'm sure the Apple zealots will buy it by the bucket load, but given you can run Vista MCE on an Mac Mini and get a real home media experience (albiet with it's own problems, more on those later) you'd be mad to buy a AppleTV if you are a enthusaist.

Peppered with lame jokes (lapped up by the 4,000 strong love in) at Microsoft's expense - the keynote could have used some better comedy this time around. Given the script is usually a little stronger, and the "better than going back in time" jibe at CES a few days earlier, the not so friendly rivalry was dissapointing.

Other comedy included Jobs slide show "clicker" malfunctioning - or perhaps it was user error - during which Jobs regailed his discilples with stories of his co-founder's pranks (ripped of from iWoz) it's debateable Jobs was ever around at these events. There was something quite satisfying about watching a dude who was a few moments before joking about his stock holdings in Apple and Disney getting visibly annoyed that his wireless widget was failing.

I vaugly remember him announcing something else, but I've forgotton, because pretty much half the show was the expected iPhone. Sure expected, but not the implementation. The cleverness of the touch screen (especially the "pinch") cannot be denied and it is a nice looking device. So phone - cool. tunes - cool (apart from that nasty iTunes app) video - cool (except PSP is still the best screen baby) the flip switch to landscape - cool. "Visible" voice mail - cool.

Before actually showing us the UI, Jobs quipped that a stylus could have been used. Steady on there Steve, wasn't Apple the "first" here with that Newton thing? OK so Steve wasn't about then and various people think that total bomb was a "visionary product ahead of it's time", but that was shaky ground, even for a marketing guy.

Then he rambled on about the desktop class OS and apps on the thing. Sure, fair play to Apple for getting there first (well June apparantly) but this is a snooze - it's innevitable that these type of devices will have full fat apps on them. No biggie.

More snooze followed as the partner honchos were reeled out to share the love - Google - with thier Maps app running, wait for it, in a browser. Simple but cool, was dialling the number from the map pin. Next up was Yahoo! - who give "away" push IMAP for users. Then in a sleep inducing segment some geezer from Cingular shows up to beat the drum.

So iPhone - I'd kinda like one. But hey, seeing as Apple are getting thier own back on behalf of disappointed US Playstation 3 customers, us on the other side of the pond won't be seeing it for quite some time and it's pretty damned expensive. those in APAC will have to wait even longer. Jobs says they are looking for 1% of the market (10m units) one can safely assume they'll easily meet that and be back to brag next year.

Jobs I thought missed an opportunity for a real gag - "information at your fingertips" was spoken, but he quickly moved on to the "world in your pocket". Perhaps he was he just glad to see us?