Your Take: iMacs, iLife, and iWork

Raking over new iMacs

Your review of the new iMacs (“The iMac Makeover,” October 2007) convinced me to take the plunge and buy a new machine. But when I got my 20-inch iMac home, I was sad to see that the new LCD screen was horrible compared to my old iMac G5’s. Colors change if I move my head just a bit from side to side. If I move a box of text from the top of the screen to the bottom, letters change from bold and black to faint and gray. In iTunes, the blue bars that distinguish one song from another are either incredibly dark or practically invisible, depending on their position on the screen. When I took the machine back to the Apple Store, a Genius and I compared my new computer with other 20-inch iMacs. All suffered from similar display problems.— John Canning

I have been waiting for the new iMacs, but now that they’re here, glossy screen and all, I am so disappointed. What is Apple thinking? Even if the picture on a glossy screen is technically better than on a nonglossy, the glare absolutely destroys the experience. This is a step backward.— Gary Wickam

I was hoping to switch from PC to Mac. But after months of anxiously waiting for the new iMacs, I am shocked and disappointed about the glossy screen. It’s a deal breaker for me. I can only hope that Apple will hear our complaints and offer a matte display by the time Leopard is released. Otherwise, it may be another Dell with (cringe) Vista for me. — Susie Funk

Why the glossy screen? As an amateur photographer, I do not want to see a reflection of my den superimposed on every picture I view on screen. Do others feel the same way? — Bill Breiland

Apparently, yes.—Dan Miller

As pretty as the new iMacs may be, and as decent as their specs are, why, oh why, can’t Apple sell a middle-of-the-road Mac without a monitor attached? We have the Mac mini and Pro without monitors. The iMac looks good, but I wish it had a cousin without the big face.— Philip Murray

I love, love, love Macs, but your review did not answer one question for me: Do the new iMacs solve the hum problem? Many users of older iMac models have noted a hum—from a fan or hard drive—that travels from the body of the iMac to the desk, which in turn becomes a soundboard emanating a tooth-grindingly annoying noise that can only be drowned out by firing up iTunes. I know two people who’ve had this problem, and Googling

imac hum vibration
will pull up many more instances.— Robert Baruch

While we have certainly heard the anecdotes, we didn’t notice any hum on any of the iMacs we reviewed.—Jonathan Seff

Does iWork work?

Numbers is a welcome addition to iWork ’08 (“The iMac Makeover,” October 2007). Now if only iWork had something like Entourage, which would integrate the functionality of Address Book, iCal, Mail, and Notes or Stickies in one program.— C. Lee Smith

When iWork first came out, I was excited by the prospect of a real alternative word processor. But that first version lacked a mail-merge feature, which made it useless for office work. The second version could do mail merges, but only with Address Book. Still useless. Now, the third version of iWork’s Pages is out, and it still lacks this fundamental capability. — Peter Wadsack

Most home users buy Microsoft Office for one reason only: to read and write Word documents. A few may also use PowerPoint or Excel for simple projects. Now that Pages, Keynote, and Numbers can handle such chores, those users have no need for Microsoft Office.— Alan Sanders

I consider your first look at iWork ’08 misleading. I’m referring specifically to Pages ’08. Whatever its value as a page-layout program, Pages is virtually worthless as a word processor. To start with, it doesn’t do endnotes. That makes it useless to many in the academic world as well as to creative professionals whose work requires endnotes. I’m a former AppleWorks devotee who switched to Mariner Write about a year ago. While that program has some limitations, it’s very close to AppleWorks in its clean, simple word processing interface. — Allan Coleman

For many of us, the bottom-line question about iWeb is: How well do photos display in the Web pages it creates? So far, I have found iWeb ’08 to be a step backward from the last version in this regard. Published photos often look terrible, with unacceptable color shifts. A search of Apple’s iWeb discussion pages reveals that I am not the only one to notice this.— Stephen Wilhelmi

I’ve been using Final Cut Pro since version 2, and iMovie since the beginning. In the past, if you learned how to use iMovie, you could move up to Final Cut Pro (or Final Cut Pro Express) without much problem. But if you learn to edit in iMovie ’08, you’ll never understand Final Cut Pro. For one thing, there’s no timeline. I talked to Apple support and they said, “This is a new way to edit.” What was wrong with the old way?— Steve Robinson

After trying the new iMovie and its awesomely handy new features for video editing, I wonder: Why is Apple’s Final Cut Pro so uninnovative? It was just recently updated and it can do a million things the new iMovie can’t. But iMovie ’08 still feels much nicer to use. The new skimming feature makes editing a delight; Final Cut Pro has nothing of the kind. Why? Or why doesn’t Apple make a pro version of iMovie?— Juhana Lehtiniemi

Regarding iMovie ’08: Do I understand correctly that I can keep iMovie HD 6 on my Mac for some applications and have the new iMovie ’08 on the same machine for everyday quick-and-dirty video work?— Dave Hartrum

You understand correctly. You can also download iMovie HD 6.—Jonathan Seff

Must-see Mac TV

I was disappointed with Macworld’s coverage of recording and watching TV on your Mac (“Now Playing,” October 2007). I’d like to purchase a device to record TV on my Mac but have been unable to get enough information to make a buying decision. I’d hoped your article would provide it, but it didn’t. You focused on using Elgato’s EyeTV, but never said why, exactly, and you never compared it directly with other devices, such as Miglia’s TV Max+.— Maggie Johnson

Our goal was to explain the options you have for watching TV on your Mac, not to do a shoot-out between TV tuners. In that feature, we simply didn’t have the space to look at all products in this area (some of which weren’t even out then). But we are now reviewing several new Miglia and Elgato products, so please stay tuned.—Dan Miller

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