Hardware Product of the Year
Nearly ten years after it defined portable computing, Apple reclaimed its throne in 2001 by releasing not one, but two, sterling new notebook lines. The new iBook captured our imagination with its compact size, feature set, and price, but in our estimation the Titanium PowerBook G4 is the best product Apple has produced since the original iMac. The 667MHz model ($2,999; 800/692-7753, www.apple.com), released in October, made a good machine better, with a faster 133MHz system bus, an ATI Mobility Radeon graphics chip, and a whopping 30GB hard drive.
Software Product of the Year
Nobody will remember 2001 as a landmark year for software. Software companies, wary of releasing new applications right before Apple unveiled Mac OS X, held off on groundbreaking new updates. One notable exception is Microsoft Office v.X ($499; 800/426-9400, http://www.microsoft.com/mac). Built to run solely on Mac OS X 10.1, it offers Mac users a persuasive reason to leave OS 9 behind. For the most part, Office’s new features are unspectacular, if helpful. It’s the application’s adaptation of the Aqua interface that really makes this version shine. Office v.X gives Mac users a glimpse of what’s ahead as more applications are rewritten to run on the new operating system.
Extension conflicts, inefficient memory management, and limited multiprocessor support-all these problems bogged down the Mac operating system as the century came to a close. Apple’s engineers needed to completely rewrite it to ensure its future. They did just that, and in 2001, the Mac world met Mac OS X.
But as we learned this year, shipping an OS is only the beginning. The first version arrived in March, but it wasn’t ready for most Mac users until the release of Mac OS X 10.1 ($129; 800/692-7753, http://www.apple.com) in September. At the same time, Mac users waited for key applications. Some companies-such as FileMaker, Bare Bones, and Macromedia-shipped OS X versions of their software early on, but it wasn’t until Microsoft released Office v.X late in the year that we could finally begin to see a classic-free world.
The release of Mac OS X made last year one of transition. Now that the groundwork has been laid, we hope to feel the true impact of the modern operating system’s stability and power.
Technology of the Year
In 2000, iMovie brought digital video editing to all Mac users. Last year, we realized we needed a way to distribute and share our masterpieces. SuperDrive, the amazing DVD and CD burner more humbly known as Pioneer’s DVR-A03, came to the rescue. Apple completed the package with iDVD, an easy-to-use, although limited, DVD-authoring application-the first of its kind on any platform-and followed up with DVD Studio Pro, a more complete package for professionals. We give the Technology of the Year award to Pioneer and Apple, for making the Macintosh the best platform for creating DVD-R discs.