Images of change

In a head-spinning flurry of activity this fall, Apple released new Power Macs, PowerBooks, iMacs, and iPods, along with a bunch of new software products. You’ll find coverage of those products throughout this issue, from our explanation of the new technologies in Apple’s desktops (page 71) and our reviews of the new systems (page 32) to our primer on how to put video on those new iPods (page 80).

Around the Macworld office, between conversations about what we’re watching on our iPods, we’ve been debating an intriguing question: How do this fall’s announcements jibe with last summer’s big story—Apple’s decision to switch from the PowerPC to Intel processors?

Banking on the G5

In 2006, Apple will be releasing new computers that use chips from Intel, rather than the PowerPC chips that have powered Macs since the early 1990s. With Intel lurking around the corner, why would you buy one of the systems that Apple has just released?

Conventional wisdom says that you should hold off on buying any new Mac equipment until the Intel transition happens. But I think Apple will sell a bunch of these new systems, especially the new Power Mac G5 Quad.

Imagine that you oversee a large installation of high-powered Macs. Maybe you work in the biotech industry, the digital video business, or computer animation. Making big technology shifts is a big deal for you, and downtime is not an option. If I were you, I’d be watching the Intel transition—but I certainly wouldn’t be planning on buying right away.

When these Intel-based Macs arrive, they will be the first generation of a whole new Mac technology. Software will need to be updated to run natively on Intel processors. While developers are hard at work on that conversion, who knows which programs will appear when? And who knows how well Rosetta—the emulation technology that’ll let PowerPC programs run on Intel chips—will work, especially at first?

As an adventurous Mac user, I’m looking forward to the first Intel Macs. But if I couldn’t afford to be adventurous, I’d invest in proven technologies such as the Power Mac G5—especially when Apple is offering me a superfast quad-core version! I’d let other people test out the Intel Macs, and I’d spend my money on the latest (and presumably last) generation of G5s.

Digital photo spectacular

Meanwhile, digital photography continues to be one of the most popular topics in Macworld . That’s why this month we’ve got an in-depth digital photography troubleshooting guide (page 58), which covers both how to get your digital photos right the first time and how to fix them afterward if something goes wrong. We’ve also got some ideas for ways to use your digital photos in creative projects.

But that’s not all we’ve got for photography buffs this month. We’re also introducing an electronic book, the Macworld Digital Photography Superguide—more than 80 pages of in-depth information about digital photography: great new articles, as well as the very best material from Macworld’ s photography coverage during the past two years, all newly updated. It includes information on everything from shooting digital photos to editing and organizing them—along with camera-buying advice and a list of some of our favorite photo-related utilities and shareware.

The e-book’s “cover” price is $12.95, but you can buy it at a special discounted price. Senior How-to Editor Kelly Turner edited both this issue’s photo feature and that e-book, and she did a fantastic job with them.

His name is Eddie

Speaking of fantastic jobs, let me crow a bit about the entire Macworld editorial staff.Every year at this time, we’re working hard to finalize our annual Editors’ Choice awards (the Eddys, for short). But this year, we’ve been thinking about another Eddie: Macworld recently won Folio magazine’s Eddie award for the best consumer technology magazine, beating out PC World (the three-year reigning champion), as well as the excellent new magazine Make .

The award is a testament to the incredibly hard work that Macworld’ s editorial team has done during the past year. As for our own Eddy Awards—well, you’ll just have to wait until the next issue to find out who won those.

What do you think? Are you forgoing a PowerPC Mac and waiting for one with Intel inside? What kinds of digital photography problems vex you? Who should win this year’s Eddys? Let me know in our forums, or send an e-mail.

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