At Macworld San Francisco yesterday Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the company’s
new iMac. MacCentral had the opportunity to use one of the machines and sit down with Apple’s Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing, Phil Schiller, to talk about the new iMac.
“If you’re a new user getting into the marketplace, you have to look at the Mac and say, ‘Wow, if I care about photos, video or music, the Mac is such a better place to be than a PC,'” Schiller told MacCentral.
Apple has made no secret over the last year that they are aggressively going after the other 95 percent of the computer market. The company’s retail stores were launched in part to give computer buyers a place to get hands on experience with a Mac. Apple’s digital hub strategy and products like iMovie, iDVD and the latest application, iPhoto take complex tasks and make them easy for the average user. And of course Apple’s iPod, which sold 125,000 units so far, is by far the best MP3 player on the market today.
“One of the benefits of trying to deliver this whole new computing experience is that we might attract more new users and Windows users to come over,” said Schiller.
But the crowning achievement for Apple is the new iMac. There is no way to describe just how cool this computer is until you sit down and start working with it. The look of the iMac is shocking at first, but it doesn’t take long for it to win you over. The screen moves up and down and side to side very easily, but it is also very sturdy. After five minutes playing with an iMac you will have to have it.
“The new iMac is as much a breakthrough as the original iMac was. It’s as forward-looking as the original iMac, but with new technologies,” said Schiller.
CRT-based iMacs continue as an option
Apple thinks the new iMac will be a huge success, but they also recognize there are some customers that won’t be able to afford the price. The company has decided to keep two original CRT iMacs available for the education market and consumers — both systems are priced under $1,000.
“Starting today we’ve kept the $799 price point of the existing iMac and we’ve taken the $1,299 CRT iMac and dropped that down to $999,” said Schiller.
Apple has long been accused of pricing its products too high, but Schiller counters that while price is important, the quality of the product and the technologies Apple puts in its computers bear consideration, as well.
“Price is very important. We work very hard to make the most affordable products we can, but we also care about making great products. We want to make the best product we can with great value and the best technology,” said Schiller.
“One of the wonderful things about the Mac is that a customer can buy a Mac, use it for a couple of years and they’ll find that it still works great — they didn’t realize how forward-looking some of these technologies were. That’s not always true in the PC world. Sometimes building the most forward looking technologies means you can’t make it the cheapest, but at least you made the best.”
Many satisfied iBook users
When changing or enhancing its product line, Apple asks customers for feedback on what they can do to make the product better. When they queried iBook owners for ideas for the next revision, they received a response that surprised them, but I’m sure also made them very happy.
“In the current iBook, the number one request from our customers for what to change in it was … nothing — I can’t remember the last time we received that answer,” said Schiller. “The number two request was a larger display.”
Apple also announced at the Expo that Mac OS X would be the default OS in all shipping Macs. Apple has been shipping dual OS machines since last May, but the default has been OS 9. Schiller said that the momentum of OS X made the decision to make it the default OS very easy. Many more applications are being released for OS X in the last quarter and some of the must have applications like Microsoft Office were released for OS X only.
Using the new iMac, you can’t help the feeling of another Apple triumph. If the products in the Apple retail stores turn heads now, wait until the end of the month when the iMacs arrive.