MWSF ‘06

MacWorld San Francisco brought a few anticipated software updates (iLife
’06, iWork ’06), but most surprisingly also the intel powered iMac and the even
more surprising MacBook Pro. This several months ahead of the announced June
release date. I know Apple always releases something new at the expos and
conferences, but June 2006 <> January 2006. At up to 4x faster (processing
wise), it makes me a little sad that my brand new PowerBook is superseded by
that much at a mere two weeks

Macs arriving ahead of schedule with their state of the art dual core CPUs
catches quite some developers of guard who are not ready yet with their
universal binaries. Those are required for their applications to run natively
(as fast as possible, without emulation) on the new intel processors (while at
the same time supporting existing powerpc processors). OS X 10.4.4 is apparently
completely universal with the pro applications to follow in the coming

Because of the new processor and perhaps some other factors,
Apple decided the powerbook could use a change of name to MacBook Pro. Odd as it
sounds compared to PowerBook, it is here to stay and could mean that the iBook
will be renamed to MacBook. By all means it makes sense for Apple to update the
more popular machines first. Logically one would also boost the PowerBook first
to avoid them being outpaced by iBooks. What does the MacBook
bring extra compared to the PowerBook?

+ dual Core intel
processor at 1.67 or 1.83Ghz
+ ATI mobility X1600 with 128 or 256MB
+ 667Mhz frontside bus
+ 67% brighter screen (but slightly lower
+ iSight built-in
+ magnetic power connector
ExpressCard (replaces PCMCIA slot, only one card available yet on the
+ Apple Remote
+ iLife ’06
+ Front Row

points are:
– lower screen resolution of 1440×900 (vs 1440×960 on the
– FireWire 800 port
– built-in modem

Full MacBook Pro details

The updated
iMac. While there is only a processor upgrade compared to PowerBook-MacBook,
people who recently purchased the updated iMac with built-in iSight probably
scratch their head too, as the new intel powered iMac is up to 2x as fast.

If you loved iLife ’05, then you’ll love iLife ’06 with various updates
throughout the suite of applications. iPhoto
supports 250000 images and allows full screen editing. There is a
new ‘Photocasting’ feature by which you publish images into a folder in
subscribed people’s iPhoto library (I don’t know that I am keen on this new
feature) or to anybody’s RSS news-reader. iMovie
allows you to work on more then one project, adds themes, real-time
effects, advanced titling & effects and video podcasting. iDVD 6 brings new themes,
widescreen capability, magic iDVD for one-click DVD generation, … and also
(finally) support for third-party DVD burners. Garageband
‘s focus is on podcasting with the podcast recording studio, iChat
recording and one-click publishing to iWeb. What is iWeb? The new 5th
application in the suite aimed at easy website creation. Users can easily create
a homepage and/or blog with Apple-designed templates. They can drag & drop
replace images, add a podcast, … Think an advanced version of .mac homepage.
While this will satisfy current homepage users who upgrade to iLife ’06,
bloggers and people using 3rd party applications likely will stick with what
they’re used to because they like to be in control and have outgrown simple web
creation. iLife is universal.

Apple’s iWork pair of
applications is now universal too and updated for ’06. Pages 2
& Keynote 3 bring the user extra themes/templates,
3D charts, shapes, masking, tables with calculation and commenting.

[Updated] .Mac added support for the new iLife features
like iWeb publishing, photocasting and podcasting. Via .mac’s newsletter I
learned we now also have web access to our iDisks. By logging into .mac and
clicking on the idisk link down in the left navigation column, you can now
browse your iDisk, create new folders and upload files from any computer using
Safari, FireFox or IE.

Of course there was something iPod. The
iPod Radio Remote” is both a remote control and
FM receiver for the iPod nano & iPod video. It gives you the shuffle’s
control buttons on a little brick, into which you can plug your
earphones/headphones. On screen you get a view of an analog and digital radio

There was no live broadcast of the keynote, but the
webcast is now online
. Quicktime required.

All in all it
was a good one for Apple. And, one that finally didn’t focus on the iPod ;)

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