When Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the latter-day P.T. Barnum of the tech world, takes the stage, you know to expect a show. But when the turtle-necked one takes the stage wearing a suit and tie as he did at Macworld Expo Tokyo 2001, watch out because all bets are off. Despite his unusual attire, however, Jobs’s keynote was his usual script of wowing the crowd with revelation upon revelation — including new graphics cards, and revamped Cubes and iMacs.
Jobs began with recaps of his keynote in San Francisco, hyping the OS X release date, and announcing that it would ship with a 17,500-character Japanese font pack — something no other computer manufacturer can boast of doing. He moved on to the Titanium PowerBook G4, again comparing it to the Sony Vaio and, oddly enough, expressing his admiration for Sony. “We love Sony . . . we aspire to be like them,” he said. He then went on to discuss the shipping delays with the PowerBook G4s. “For those of you who ordered one and haven’t gotten it yet, we apologize,” said Jobs, whose tie seemed to be affecting him in strange ways.
Jobs them moved on to talk about the new line of PowerMac G4s, and it was once again time for the obligatory G4 versus Pentium Photoshop bake-off. Jobs demonstrated the same Photoshop rendering of The Emperor’s New Groove movie poster as he did at Macworld San Francisco. To no one’s surprise, the Mac won yet again. However, Jobs did make a few revelations, most notably that all models are now shipping, and that the price of the Apple Cinema Display has been reduced to $2,999.
And then he moved on to the good stuff. First up: the GeForce3 graphics accelerator card from nVidia. The card, which has 56 million transistors and is capable of performing at 76 gigaflops, will be available as a build-to-order option for $600 from the Apple Store starting in March. Jobs called it “the most advanced graphics chip ever.” He also brought onstage John Carmack of id Software (Quake) who reiterated Jobs’s message, stating “we can bring cinematic quality to games now. The GeForce3 is the most exciting thing we’ve had to work with in years.”
Next Jobs went on to discuss Apple’s Digital Hub strategy again, and although the iDVD information was virtually identical to what he presented in San Francisco, he did have a few new things to talk about with iTunes. He noted that the software had been downloaded 750,000 times in the 44 days since it was released at Macworld San Francisco. But more important, he announced the immediate release of iTunes 1.1, which now supports over 25 different third-party external CD-RW drives.
Remember the G4 Cube? You know, that small, square thing that everyone made such a fuss about last July? Well, the machine that consumers forgot was next on Jobs’s agenda. He announced that the Cube is now available in three options at reduced prices. The 450MHz model with a DVD-RAM drive is now only $1,299. Users can also purchase the model with a CD-RW drive instead for $1,599; and a 500MHz model with CD-RW, a 60GB hard drive, and nVidia GeForce2 MX, is available for $2,199.
The now jacketless Jobs altered his trademark catchphrase “One more thing” to “a few more things,” and then proceeded to roll out a line of new iMacs with different colors, processor speed bumps, and CD-RW drives. The base line iMacs are available with 400MHz G3 processors in indigo with CD-ROM drives for $899. Up one step are 500MHz G3 iMacs with CD-RW drives available in indigo, Flower Power, and Blue Dalmatian — which sell for $1,199. The top end iMac SEs feature 600MHz processors with CD-RW drives and retail for $1,499. All are available immediately from the Apple Store.
Jobs then debuted a new series of commercials, and left the stage — presumably to lose the rest of his suit.