Hardware Product of the Year
The newest generation of iBooks has graduated from cute to kick-ass. Our favorite is the 466MHz iBook Special Edition ($1,799; www.apple.com, 800/692-7753). This time Apple has added FireWire ports and powerful perks such as ATI's Rage Mobility 128 graphics card. The improved iBook line features a 12.1-inch screen, a 10GB hard drive, 64MB of memory (expandable to 320MB), and a 56K modem. The iBook SE goes even further with a 466MHz G3 processor with 256K of on-chip level 2 cache and a DVD-ROM drive. And each iBook comes with iMovie 2, AppleWorks 6, and other titles. While we're picking our favorite model, we'll let you pick the color of the year: key lime or graphite?
Software Product of the Year
In the realm of Mac software, 2000 was the consumer's year. But no program broke new ground quite like Apple's iMovie , the first program to make digital video editing both easy and affordable.
This year Apple started to sell the program, in addition to bundling it with new Macs. iMovie 2 ($49; www.apple.com, 800/692-7753) offers sophisticated movie-editing capabilities, including insert edits, audio edits, and QuickTime effects. Add the plummeting price of digital camcorders and storage, and we'd say there's a revolution in the making.
If 1999 was the year of the MP3, then 2000 was surely the year that Internet file sharing got its share of the limelight. And nothing had a bigger impact on file-sharing technology than Napster, the online service that lets users search for and download music directly from each other's computers.
The software that Napster founder Shawn Fanning wrote in his dorm room at Northeastern University has revolutionized the way people exchange -- or pirate, as some argue -- music across the Internet. Napster may have raised the ire of the recording industry, but it has done more in the past year to change the course of digital music distribution than any closed-door corporate board meeting.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Without Tim Gill, our Mac world would be a much different place. Gill launched Quark in 1981 with a $2,000 loan from his parents. In 1987 Quark released the product with which it has become synonymous, QuarkXPress. XPress created and enabled the desktop-publishing revolution. While it has had competition over the years, it has remained without equal. This year Gill stepped down as chairman and chief technology officer in order to devote his energy to the Gill Foundation, a nonprofit agency he started in 1994. The Gill Foundation funds work in education and supports gay and lesbian rights. We're pleased to honor this legendary Macintosh figure.
Technology of the Year
With impressive engineering and a shockingly low price, Apple transformed a wireless technology standard with a daunting name -- 802.11 -- into a friendly, low-cost way to network without wires: AirPort ($299; www.apple.com, 800/692-7753).
The AirPort family provides speedy network connectivity without wires. You can surf the Net at full speed from your backyard, and people with hard-to-wire homes can set up far-flung networks without tripping over Ethernet cables.
At the heart of the AirPort is the versatile AirPort Base Station, but this award also recognizes Apple's $99 AirPort card, as well as the company's efforts to make all currently shipping Macs AirPort-compatible.