While I've been far to busy to blog (I have a half-written post about Japan that I really need to tend to), I am going to miss some sleep to post about Apple, which I also haven't done for awhile. Just because I haven't been writing in my blog about Apple, doesn't mean that I'm not thinking about them incessantly.
I have been in the mood to upgrade my primary Mac, an iMac G5 2.1Ghz (the last PowerPC iMac released) for awhile now. The new Intel-based Macs are just stupid fast, and I'm only human.
However, while I am pretty satisfied with the form factor of my current iMac, I've been in more of a desktop mood lately. So, I was kindof hoping that Apple would have some more significant hardware announcements today - like a really beefed up Mac mini, or a much cheaper Mac Pro. Instead, we got this:
The new iMac, glossy glare and all.
Generally speaking, the upgraded specs and lower price of the new iMacs are quite tempting to me. So while I was in San Francisco tonight, I hopped over to the Apple store gave the new iMac a once-over. First off, I must admit that the aluminum finish looks much better in person than it does photographed. And the new iMac does appear to be a lot smaller than the model that it replaces. But that glossy display -- it is really turning me off. When you look dead on at it, it's pretty reasonable. But as you can see from the photo I posted above (taken by my iPhone, btw), viewing this display from the side shows all sorts of glare. I also found the viewing angle of the LCD to be a bit worse than my current iMac -- when looking at it from above, the colors were really washed out (Update: confirmation that the LCD isn't as good in the new 20" iMac from Macintouch).
As for the new keyboard, it certainly looks neat:
The new iMac keyboard - it certainly is thin.
But in the limited amount of typing that I did on it, the new keyboard didn't feel very comfortable. It's a moot point for me (I'm a diehard Kinesis man now), but I think that the new iMac keyboard is yet another example of Apple placing form over function.
In general, I'm not really happy with Apple's current Mac lineup. I think Apple's portables are actually pretty fantastic - and they are the main reason why Apple has been selling more Macs than ever the past few quarters (the MacBook, in particular, is killer). However, if you're not in the market for a portable, your choices on the Mac side are pretty thin. The Mac mini is under-powered for the price (integrated graphics, 5400 rpm disk), and the Mac Pro is way overpowered (with a corresponding price).
I think that Apple is making a pretty big mistake in not being more aggressive with the Mac - they're on a roll, and they should be doing everything in their power to attract as many people as they can to the platform. If Apple's management isn't worried about cannibalizing iPod sales with the new iPhone, why are they worried about cannibalizing iMac or Mac Pro sales with a super-duper Mac mini? Even though the Mac community has been talking about this for years, I really think that it's time for the xMac - the only question, at this point, is if Apple has the stones to make one.
It looks like I shouldn't hold my breath on this one - my guess is that Apple is going to stay on their current course of form over function, and "not shipping junk" - thus ultimately limiting how much they can grow the market-share of the Mac. And since everything that Apple does (the iPod, the iPhone, Apple TV, etc) ultimately grows out of the Mac - I think not investing in the Mac is a pretty huge mistake for Apple. If I were a shareholder, I'd be pretty unhappy about this. Yet as long as Apple keeps posting fabulous profits, I don't expect that the shareholders or analysts are going to pay any attention to the deficiencies in the Mac lineup.
Quite a shame.
Update: I was going to write an additional post about the need for an xMac, but I found today that Don MacAskill (who is super-cool btw, I met him at Foo Camp) has summed things up better than I ever could.