MacCentral Week in Review
Editorial: "From the creators of iPod"
By Peter Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ever since the iPod evolved from a consumer device into a cultural phenomenon, we've been waiting for the halo effect: Waiting for Apple's CPU sales to uptick radically as newly converted iPod users wake up with religion and flock to stores to buy Macs. So far, it hasn't happened, at least on any demonstrable scale. But if Apple's design and marketing of the new iMac G5 are any indication, they're certainly trying to nudge their new box closer to the halo than before.
"From the creators of iPod" is Apple's slogan for its brand-new iMac G5. It's a provocative comment, because it says as much about where Apple has been as it does about where Apple is going. The iMac G5 is a sleek, compact design that returns the iMac to its all-in-one roots while unquestionably evoking the same lines as Apple's hugely successful iPod. Even Apple's photography for the iMac G5 shows the unit in profile, matching its angles perfectly to a companion iPod. It's also the first Mac model other than the Power Mac to sport a speedy G5-based architecture.
"The iMac is so uncluttered, so quiet and serene, it just lets you do the stuff that you want to do," said Apple Vice President of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive in an introduction video for the new iMac.
Some Mac enthusiasts have given the new iMac's styling a chilly reception: It's not radical or groundbreaking enough, they say. It's true that this isn't the first all-in-one box completely integrated with a built-in LCD display. In fact, Apple previously broke ground for this sort of system way back in 1997 with the limited-edition 20th Anniversary Macintosh. And several other companies have made all-in-one computers with LCD panels pitched at consumers since then, though they've been strictly niche products.
The iMac is radically thinner than any of them, however, and as Ive suggests, utterly minimal in its presentation. The base price of an iMac hasn't shifted upward from the previous generation, either, even though it packs a lot more under the hood and even includes a 17-inch screen on the base model.
The iPod has surpassed almost any other single electronics product to become an icon of cool consumerism. iPod-toting commuters will often tacitly acknowledge each other with sideways glances or quick nods of the head; the iPod's white earbuds are an instantly recognizable status symbol that you've got the cool music player. iPod minis have been in short supply in many markets since their introduction earlier this year. So it only makes sense for Apple to cash in on their design success with a computer that's every bit as cool-looking as the iPod itself.
Will the new iMac G5 have the same effect, or will it just sell to same crowd that consistently buys new Mac products year in and year out? The vote's still out on that, but let's hope the new box's sleek lines and impeccable pedigree get potential new users into the stores to consider them.
Apple's senior vice-president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, took a cue from his boss, CEO Steve Jobs, as he unveiled one more thing at the end of his keynote to kick off this week's Apple Expo in Paris: an iMac G5 that includes the entire system inside a 17- or 20-inch LCD screen. Continuing the all-in-one theme that started with the original CRT iMac, the G5 edition features a new industrial design that does away with the hemispherical base of the previous generation all together. Schiller said that the new iMacs will be available in mid-September.
Apple Computer Inc.'s Senior Vice President of Hardware Product Marketing, Phil Schiller, officially kicked off Apple Expo Paris this week introducing the iMac G5 during his keynote address. Analysts are unanimous in their support for the new consumer machine and the strategic ties Apple has drawn between the iMac and the iPod in marketing the computer.
Logitech on Wednesday introduced the MX 1000 Laser Cordless Mouse. The company bills is as "the world's first laser mouse," since the mouse uses laser illumination and tracking. What's more, it uses "Fast RF" wireless technology to connect to either a Mac or PC. The laser light of the cordless mouse is nearly invisible and very safe, according to the company -- it beams down onto the surface and reflects back up; a sensor in the mouse detects movements and translates that to cursor motion.
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Apple subsidiary FileMaker Inc. announced Monday that it is shipping FileMaker Server 7 Advanced, the version of its server software that incorporates advanced Web publishing and connectivity features. FileMaker Server 7 Advanced can host up to 100 Web-based clients and 250 desktop clients, and features connectivity to XML, ODBC and JDBC-based data sources. FileMaker Server 7 Advanced also features "Custom Web Publishing" which enables users to deploy data-driven Web sites using Web design tools like Macromedia Dreamweaver MX, through a built-in Site Assistant wizard.
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... the new iMac will have to overcome both failings and history. NPD analyst Steven Baker cut to the chase by pointing out that it's a slick and well-executed compendium of existing design ideas. "If you are a Mac person or are looking for some kind of cutting-edge product, you are not getting that," says Baker. "You are getting a basic product with elements that we have seen in lots of other products." Baker believes the new iMacs are aimed at Windows users who have been wowed by iPods and are now contemplating entering the Mac kingdom.
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