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The crowd clapped at the right times but what did they really think of the Macworld Expo New York keynote? An informal poll of Macworld attendees indicates that Mac fans were disappointed Apple didn't introduce flashier hardware. The new Power Macintosh G4 systems are attractive, but they're missing the magic number -- 1GHz. Many attendees were hoping for something cute and candy colored to take home.

However the announcements about OS X and updates to software saved the day. Visitors to the show agreed that the demo of the lastest version of Mac OS X showed real promise, and the new OS X applications will make OS X -- and the Mac platform -- viable.

No iSuprise

While many in the audience were surprised that Steve Jobs didn't run back on stage with a " one more thing . . . " to introduce a new iMac, Jim Paterson, a contributing editor for Mac Design , wasn't expecting a big announcement. He hadn't believed the rumors of a flat-panel iMac and he was impressed with the upgrades to the current line.

Jeff Pittelkau, a free-lancer, was less enthusiastic. "I think the features and pricing of the new iMacs are great, but I was hoping for an updated look. I think the iMac is now underwhelming, and most customers will favor the white-hot iBook."

Powerful but no Gigahertz

The new Power Macs are powerful and faster, but some attendees feel that until Apple introduces a gigahertz system, the company will be wasting its time on damage control. Michael Gains, the senior Mac developer at Electronics for Imaging, says, "the Mac is a better computer, but Wall Street won't recognize Apple as an option until they improve their megahertz rating." He doubted that the "megahertz don't matter" section of the keynote was effective.

Susan Ondoic, CFO of Macs at Work, said that this is her first Macworld Expo and she thought the keynote was very exciting. Macs at Work is an Apple hardware reseller and service provider. "When the economy is bad we need some excitement." She says new and compelling hardware will entice their customers to make new purchases. She thinks the Power Mac G4s Apple introduced today offer a clear benefit when computing time equals money. She's also glad that Apple dumped the Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power iMacs as they didn't register with her customers.

The 411 on 10.1

All of the attendees Macworld talked to were impressed with the demo of the upcoming version of OS X. Although they had not generally moved to OS X for their own desktops, they're watching Apple closely. Paterson works mainly in graphic design and is heavily committeed to his current applications, so he hasn't made the transition to OS X.

Of the new version, Gains said "I want it. It's the OS I've been waiting for." Thus far, he hasn't upgraded because of the lack of CD-R support. He does video editing work on his Mac and he frequently needs to save large files. When Jobs demoed the added support for iTunes and DiskBurn, Gains was one step closer to upgrading.

Pittelkau said, "I think Apple finally has a solid version of OS X with 10.1." Jeff echoed others when he stressed that applications such as the ones highlighted in the keynote are important to general adoption of the OS. "Microsoft's announcement of an OS X-only version of Office will encourage customers to switch; it's just what Apple needed.

Sanam Azeem is a Unix system administrator for NASA-GISS. The New York NASA office does research on issues such as global warming, and it's been predominately Unix based, but uses a few Macs. NASA-GISS is increasing the number of office Macs now that OS X is out. Although she is an expert in Unix, the Mac OS is still new to Azeem. She said that the, "OS X demo included features exciting even for a novice."

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