New iMacs, iWork, iLife, iEtc. (and pukelight)

Boom! It's Wednesday's IT Blogwatch: in which Steve Jobs unveils a load of new Mac stuff. Not to mention the LED flashlight that makes its victims vomit...

Gregg Keizer reports:

Apple Inc. today refreshed its iMac desktop line, dropping the model with the smallest screen, cutting the price of the top-end system, and tweaking the design for a thinner, trimmer look.


The entry-level iMac, now priced $200 above the previous cheapest model, includes a 20-in. screen, a 2.0-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 1GB of memory and a 250GB hard drive. The $1,499 middle model, which also has a 20-in. screen, features a 320GB drive, a 2.4-GHz processor and a faster ATI graphics card. At the top of the lineup, the 24-in. iMac, which sells for $200 less than the previous top-end model, contains the same innards as the $1,499 model but features a larger screen ... A new keyboard -- which was the focus of rampant Internet speculation over the last week -- is more MacBook-like and comes in an optional wireless version.

Jobs also demonstrated new features in iPhoto, part of the revamped iLife '08 suite; new links between both iPhoto and Apple's iPhone, and the company's .Mac online service; and other iLife '08 applications, including a refreshed iWeb and a totally redesigned iMovie ... The iLife '08 suite, which retails for $79 separately, ships with all new Macs. Apple's second major suite -- iWork -- received an update, too. The entry-level application bundle, which last got an upgrade in January 2006, now includes a spreadsheet, dubbed Numbers, to complement the Keynote presentation maker and the Pages word-processor-cum-document-designer, which made up earlier editions. [more]

Eric Bangeman adds:

Apple CEO Steve Jobs ... lifted the curtain on a redesigned iMac constructed out of glass and aluminum. The new iMac sports Firewire 800 for the first time, while retaining the other features of the previous generation ... On the inside, the iMacs will have a Core 2 Extreme CPU ... [plus] room for 4GB of RAM and a 1TB of hard drive space.


.Mac has been under particular scrutiny recently, as Apple has done compartively little to update it in recent years. Jobs announced a couple of new features for Apple's webmail and storage service, including what he called a "rich Web 2.0 experience." .Mac subscribers will get tighter integration between iPhoto and .Mac with improved galleries. Perhaps most importantly, the storage limit has been bumped to 10GB.

Apple is also extending .Mac functionality to the iPhone. The iPhone can interface with .Mac, with iPhone users able to add photos to iPhoto and their .Mac galleries directly from their iPhones. [more]

Harry McCracken is back from vacation:

I'm here in Cupertino at Apple headquarters for a press event. Steve Jobs has arrived onstage--and is saying that Mac sales are growing at 3X the industry average ... making fun of messy PC desktops in Jobsian fashion.


iPhoto: Much better. New feature called Events organizes your pictures by the event where you took them by default ... The books and calendars you can order from Apple are better (the books have dustjackets) ... Calendars are 70 percent bigger at the same price.


On to iWorks, Apple's productivity sort-of-a-suite ... Keynote, the presentation app, has features such as fancy new text effects and slick animations. "Smart builds" let "mere morals" do A-B animations of objects ... Numbers has English-languarge formulas, checkblocks, slides, and "a flexible canvas" that lets you "format one part without screwing up the other." In other words, one sheet can have multiple, differently-formatted mini-spreadsheets within it.


Jobs refuses comment on Apple TV ... Jobs says the company's goal is to make the best PCs, ones they can recommend to anyone, and sell them at the best price they can. But "we just can't ship junk...there are thresholds we can't cross because of who we are." [more]

David Chartier confirms the iMac range-topper:

Now that I can finally get into the store (barely), I can confirm commenters are right: there is a 4th iMac at the top of the line offering a 24-inch display, 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM and a 500GB SATA Hard Drive for $2299. [more]

Here's Michael Gartenberg's first take:

iMac - The most striking change to the all in one iMac is the move to a combination of brushed metal and glass enclosure. Designed to be evocative of both the iPhone and iPod. The screen is amazing, big and beautiful and glossy ... At a time when more consumer purchases for high tech products are driven by form as function, it looks like another Apple product coming to market at the right time.

iLife - Lots of cool new features here ... All in all, nice evolutionary updates that keep the entire suite of apps king of the hill for the creative consumer.

iWork - Both Keynote and Pages have been updated ... but the real showstopper is the long awaited spreadsheet component called Numbers. Numbers changes the way spreadsheets work ... you owe it to yourself to take a look at what Apple's done here.


Apple has once raised the bar not only for form but function as well ... More importantly, Apple continues to drive a complete consumer experience, with synergy that goes across product lines, from the Mac to the iPhone to the iPod and Apple TV. [more]

Darren Murph spots another tidbit:

As if Cupertino didn't give you enough to chew on today, it looks like the Mac Pro received a small update as well. 'Course, it seems pretty minute until you check out the pricetag ($999, for those wondering), but nevertheless, users looking to maximize their machine can now opt for a PCI Express RAID card to come built right in. The card promises "up to 304MBps of sequential read performance in RAID 0" and supports RAID levels 0, 1, 5, 0+1, and Enhanced JBOD. Moreover, it sports 256MB of cache and an integrated 72-hour battery for protection, and while the machine ships with each hard drive individually configured in the Enhanced JBOD level, you can migrate the drives into a RAID setup of your choosing without reinstalling OS X by tapping into Apple's RAID Utility software.. [more]

Paul Miller is feeling touchy:

So we didn't get the multitouch iMac today that some might have been hoping for, but Steve Jobs did drop one tasty hint about the oft-rumored technology. During the Q&A portion of today's keynote, somebody referred the iPhone's multitouch sensing and asked, "what about for the Mac?" Steve, surprisingly, replied. "Makes sense for the iPhone, not sure it makes sense in the Mac. Classify that as a research project."

So there you have it, straight from the horse's mouth: Apple is at least considering letting you get all touchy touchy with your Mac's screen. [more]

Here's Ray6, damning with faint praise:

[Here's] a front row seat to Steve (let his glory raise us from our mediocre existence) Jobs's new product bash.

New iMacs (not much has changed; except they're even thinner and made out of aluminium). Boosted specs which seem a little mid range to me, but never mind that, just look at the size of the thing! It's about the same depth as my LCD monitor!

New keyboards (smaller, with the same chiclet keys you see on Sony's smaller laptops and the Macbooks). You'll either love it or hate it.

.Mac subscribers now have 10GB of storage space, which brings the service closer to the rear of the pack; whereas before, it hadn't even left the trap.

iLife gets an upgrade. Jobs touts a new feature in iPhoto which will automatically import pictures into dated folders. Now why didn't somebody else think of this before now? Hang on; I think everyone else did. [more]

Brian Lam brings us his own demo:

Here's a video I took in Cupertino today of the new Apple keyboards, iMacs, and what I consider the best features of iPhoto and iMovie: skimming ... iPhoto [is] able to "skim" through sets of images collected into events. iMovie gets skimming of clips, and other enhancements which make editing very fast.. [more]

Buffer overflow:

Around the Net Around Computerworld Previously in IT Blogwatch

And finally... The Incapacitating Flashlight [hat tip: John Paczkowski]

Richi Jennings is an independent technology and marketing consultant, specializing in email, blogging, Linux, and computer security. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You too can pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email:

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon