Thursday, October 22, 2009

Apple Mesmerizes with New iMacs (and Delivers Emporer's New Clothes Moment)



So, I'm really impressed with the updates Apple delivered this week. They've reloaded their product line-up quite nicely (after failing to impress with their most recent iPod touch refresh). Particularly interesting to me is the new iMac. Here's why...

When we remodeled our kitchen, I specifically wanted an area where the kids could play games do homework on the computer while still being part of the action. We built in a desk area with a couple of stations that I've envisioned being the perfect place for two little angels to quietly work. It hasn't quite worked out that way, but the kids (now for 4 and 2) do enjoy playing on our 4-year-old iBook for the most part. Occasionally, they'll fight over it and they sometimes get annoyed with it being too slow to run the Flash-based Noggin/Hot Wheels/Playhouse Disney games. I crack up when Sam says he wants to throw the computer (or Firefox itself) out the window. He's a chip off the old block.

So what's the Emporer's New Clothes moment? At about 1 minute into the video, which is a very well done promotional piece, Johnathan Ive is describing the display. He says they've discovered a way to take the glass "right to the very perimeter" of the machine which they have but then he goes on to say "there's just display and then no display".

Huh? What about the inch of the display around the perimeter that's black and is *not* display?

It's this kind of bizarre non-sensical statement that perplexes me and occasionally drives me crazy. First, what are they going to say when the display actually does go right to the edge of the machine? Second, everyone can see as he's saying it that it's not true. It creates, for me, this air of their products being beyond criticism. As in- if you have a problem with your PC, Windows sucks. If you have a problem with your Mac- you must be doing something wrong.

All of that said, I do think the iMac is leaps and bounds ahead of comparable all-in-ones currently on the market from PC manufacturers. I'm really digging the new widescreen display and the 21.5" size looks perfect for our situation. I'm entertaining the idea of running Windows XP (gasp!) on it.

Why? Well first, I imagine it would run incredibly fast, and increasingly I'm simply looking for the operating system to do very basic things. Like run the Google Chrome Browser and get out of the way. Or make it easy to run great free software like Picasa or TweetDeck (or whatever the great new thing is going to be in 2 years) without there being a lag before it is available on the Mac.

Another thing I haven't enjoyed about
Mac OS X on the iBook is that I feel it is better suited to a desktop where you have a very large display and multiple windows up next to each other at the same the same time. Even on my desktop PC I have only 1 window up at a time and I switch through them on the taskbar. Why is this relevant? Well, since there's no right button on the iBook to make it a snap to right-click cut and paste, I find getting around on the iBook with OS X more cumbersome than on a PC notebook with a way to right-click. I know there's a way to create right-click zone on the touchpad with some additional software on Tiger, but that's clunky.

Okay, enough bashing. I love their hardware- think it's beautiful. I want an iMac for the family. This Christmas or sooner. Oh yeah- and I'm thinking about ordering it with a wired keyboard with all of the regular keys a PC has so I can delete-to-the-right/home/end with a single key.

By the way- if you haven't checked out the Fake Steve Jobs blog and you like this kind of stuff I highly recommend it. Here's 2 posts that I think capture the essence of his hilarious style:
What do you think? Is it time for a Mac? If so, is it time to crossover from a PC for the first time?

3 comments:

Michelle said...

Well, Obviously, I am a Mac person. We bought out new mac in February and I am thrilled with it. We got the 21.5" model with the wired keyboard with all the regular keys. I use spreadsheets frequently and so was happy to have the 10k on the side. I am surprised at how much I love the keyboard....I thought it would cause carpal tunnel problems, but it is just the opposite. Your boys will absolutely love the photobooth! I am going out today to get my copy of the new Snow Leopard version of OSX.

That being said, Phil is more of a UNIX guy (has been since the dawn of time) and runs Linex on his computer at work and on his laptop. After a frustrating experience with his 8 year old laptop this summer (really slow and skips around on the page randomly), he decided it might be time to upgrade. For him thre was a cost issue, since he had limited funds from work for the new equipment. In the end, after much research, he got a new macbook and is happy with it also (he got it after the release of snow leopard, so he is all updated on the OS).

I think you will be very happy too!

Michelle said...

Oh...and btw...Apple has had right click for 12 years. Open preferences and select the mouse and just turn on the secondary click - right. For the laptop, try holding control and clicking...should get your right click for you. two fingered click for the new multi touch trackpad.

Michelle

Robert Dwyer said...

Hi Michelle!

Before this week, all they had was 20" and 24" for iMacs, right? So you it sounds like you have the 20" iMac? Glad to hear the extended keyboard was useful. I think having a keyboard like that would improve my impression of working on a Mac.

The MacBook is a beautiful machine as well. I've seen an uptick in corporate users I work with carrying MacBooks lately. Very cool.

Regarding the control-click to emulate the right-click. I don't like it. I right click frequently enough that it's cumbersome to control-click, especially since I'm frequently doing something with the pointer immediately prior to right clicking. Further, I always forget whether it's control, option, apple, or what combined with the click that triggers the right click. Bah! I think this is one area where Apple really got it wrong and they should eat crow and sell laptops with 2-buttons. Heard a funny thing yesterday about the Magic Mouse on Twitter: "This is how far Apple went to prove they weren't wrong about 2 mouse buttons." I thought that appropriately summed up the situation.

Thanks for checking in!
-Bob

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