We asked for your choices for the top hardware and software of the past year. You told us your favorites. And now we have a list of finalists for our annual Readers’ Choice Awards, which we’ll hand out alongside the 22nd annual Editors’ Choice Awards in our February 2007 issue. (We’ll also announce the winners at Macworld.com in December.)
So without further ado, here are the finalists for our two Readers’ Choice Awards.
Hardware of the Year
- 24-inch iMac Core 2 Duo: Released in September, this iMac runs on a 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo chip and features a 24-inch widescreen display with 1,920-by-1,200-pixel resolution and 30 percent more screen real estate than its 20-inch counterpart. More important, when fitted with a build-to-order 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo processor, the 24-inch iMac closed the performance gap with the high-end Mac Pro.
- ATI Radeon 1900XT: Available as a $250 upgrade option for the Mac Pro, this graphics card improves the performance of applications that use OpenGL graphics; its two dual-link DVI connections let you drive two 30-inch Cinema HD Displays at once.
- Mac Book: Apple replaced its entire iBook line and its 12-inch PowerBook G4 with this 13-inch laptop. The MacBook incorporates many of the upgrades introduced in the MacBook Pro, turning in impressive performance for an entry-level portable. Speaking of the MacBook Pro…
- MacBook Pro: This portable helped usher in the Intel era when it was introduced in January. Looking much like its PowerBook predecessor, the MacBook Pro offered reassuring continuity for long-time Mac laptop users, while also introducing the Core Duo (and later, Core 2 Duo ) processor.
- Mac Pro: This desktop marked the completion of Apple’s Intel transition when it debuted in August. It also pushed Apple hardware past the 3GHz mark with a build-to-order option.
- Nike + iPod Sport Kit: In a fairly modest year for iPod innovations, one of the most welcome additions was this iPod nano-compatible exercise-focused accelerometer created from a partnership between Nike and Apple.
Software of the Year
- Aperture: Debuting in late 2005, Aperture sought to fill a long-pressing need for professional photographers—a tool that would help them manage their workflow.
- Boot Camp: The switch to Intel chips meant that Macs now ran on the same processors that power Wintel boxes. And this beta software from Apple offered a simple way for Mac users to install and run Windows XP on their Intel-based hardware.
- Firefox: The cheers for Version 1.5 of Mozilla’s popular Web browser had barely subsided before Firefox 2.0 introduced even more improvements.
- Flip4Mac: Telestream’s Flip4Mac has been a valuable tool for getting Windows Media files to play in QuickTime. It became even more essential after Microsoft halted development of Windows Media Player for Mac.
- Google Earth: The software giant took mapping to new heights with this free stand-alone earth simulation program that skillfully combines satellite imagery with Google search capabilities.
- iTunes 7: Apple called this update to its music jukebox application the most significant enhancement since iTunes first arrived in 2001. It wasn’t just marketing hype—iTunes 7 featured a radically overhauled interface, new features such as support for gapless playback, and the ability to download feature-length movies from its online store.
- Parallels Desktop: This virtualization program offered the same end-result as Boot Camp—install and run Windows on your Intel-based Mac—but with one crucial twist: with Parallels Desktop, you could run Windows and Mac OS X simultaneously.
- Yojimbo: Bare Bones Software unveiled this innovative program for storing and managing snippets, notes, passwords, and other bits of data.
So those are the nominees. Again, we’ll announce the winners as part of our Eddy Awards celebration in December at Macworld.com and in our February 2007 print issue.
Good luck to the nominees, and thanks for participating in our awards.
Voting for the Readers’ Choice Awards is now complete.