MWSF Day One: The Addiction Continues

by Chuck Toporek

Well, the Sun has set after a long first day at Macworld San Fransisco, and it's been a day full of surprises.

By now, you've heard all the goodies, so I won't go into great detail about them, but here's a quick listing:

  • New, bigger and a smaller PowerBooks are coming soon to an Apple Store nearest you (there are 51 of them now, you know).

  • New commercials to promote the new PowerBooks.

  • AirPort Extreme, which uses 802.11g for faster wireless networking.

  • Bluetooth is built into the new PowerBooks (yeah!)

  • New versions of iPhoto, iMovie, and iDVD (2, 3, and 2, respectively).
  • iLife: The above three (iPhoto 2, iMovie 3, and iDVD 2), plus iTunes 3. Now if I can just find MyLife, life would truly be great.

  • Final Cut Express: Apple took a lesson from Adobe and beat them at their own game by releasing a watered down verision of Final Cut Pro before Adobe could get out Premiere Express. Nice...

  • Safari: A truly kick-ass and wicked-fast browser for the Mac that takes the best from the Open Source community and wraps it up with Cocoa. (So long IE. So long Chimera.)

  • Keynote: Presentation software -- made for and kick-tested by Jobs -- that'll put an end to Mac users' reliance on Powerpoint. (Could this be a precursor, or a taste of a much needed upgrade for AppleWorks?)

There were lots of other announcements during the Stevenote, but one thing I clearly heard -- as many around me did -- was Steve Jobs saying iBitch, when he clearly meant to say i-Bench when talking about the performance of Safari over other browsers for Mac OS X. I'm just glad that we finally have a fast and slick browser for the Mac, I'm just not sure I like the metal interface. But I'm happier to read the message exchange over at about Apple's use of KHTML (or Konqueror) as the basis for Safari, and how they really are contributing back to the Open Source community. By "contributing" it doesn't mean Apple's sent the KHTML guys a big fat check, but it does mean that they've sent in a huge list of changes, many of which will find their way back into KHTML. For all the naysayers out there, you should checkout the changelog.

But one announcement I clearly missed during the keynote was that Apple has taken a lesson from the streets. Not that I'm a drug user, but to me, it seems like Apple has a man on the street who's been taking lessons from a crack dealer. You know how it goes:

Drug Dealer:


Yo. You want summa this crack. Yer first shot's free, man.

Unsuspecting Citizen:

Uh, sure.

DD gives UC some crack. Four hours later, UC comes back asking for more. The second hit comes free, too, because DD is a nice guy. UC comes
back four more hours later and asks for more. Now it's going to cost UC some cash for that hit, and UC is willing to shell out said cash to DD because he really needs that fix.

And so the story goes until UC ends up wasting away, and DD's DM (Distribution Manager) is happy because they now have another faithful customer who'll come back for more.

Do you see the connection?

We saw a bit of this back at Macworld New York when Apple announced that it's iTools service was being renamed .Mac (dot-Mac) and sold as a service with some additional software for $99.95. Mac users were, well, furious to say the least, since many of them were happy having a email address and some online storage space. By the end of September 2002, Apple had 180,000 subscribers to .Mac, and in January 2003 they have 250,000. That's 70,000 new .Mac subscribers in three months. Not too bad.

So far, us Mac users have grown accustomed to iMovie, iTunes, iPhoto, and some of us, even iDVD. Sure, you can still download updated versions of iMove 3 and iPhoto 2 online after January 25th, if you want them all now as part of iLife, it'll cost you $49.

You want to edit digital video like a pro, but you don't want to pay the price for Final Cut Pro? Hey, we've got Final Cut Express for $299.

You want a bigger or smaller PowerBook? You know, something to suit your needs? Sure, we have them, too. The Big One with all the bells and whistles will cost you $3299, while the Small One will cost you $1799 (or $1999 with the SuperDrive, or tack on another $99 if want an AirPort Extreme card for 802.11g wireless networking).

Want to do slick presentations without the pain and anguish associated with using Powerpoint? Here you go little buddy, try this Keynote application -- it'll cost you $99 (although those of us attending the keynote for Keynote received a freebie on the way out the door).

Yeah, we're sorry that IE sucks on Mac OS X. Here, here's a free beta for the Safari web browser, built for Mac OS X. But will there be a cost for Safari someday?

Do you see where I'm going with this?

Mac users are being nickle-and-dimed, but we don't seem to care. Why? Because we love the Mac. Like the dogs on the covers of the O'Reilly Mac books, we're faithful to our masters.

Apple continues to innovate and develop an OS with some true killer apps to make our lives easier, and to help us share our lives (or would that be iLifes?) with others. And along with that, they continue to innovate on the hardware side by leading the way for new technologies to become mainstream words like USB, Firewire, and now Bluetooth.

Great gear. A killer OS. Useful apps. A big company that gets Open Source. What else could a Mac user want?

Here's my credit card number. Sign me up. I don't want to be a dork anymore. (Maybe that could be the new Switcher slogan?)

What's your take on Apple's new apps and services? Are they worth it?


2003-01-08 09:54:50
The Addiction Continues...
Well done, man! You expressed my feelings exactly, my order for the 12inch G4 Baby is on its way...

Bernie (from Germany)

2003-01-08 10:44:53
you make what they are doing sound like a bad thing
You make what they are doing sound like a bad thing. Dealing drugs: bad. Innovative programs, reasonable prices (albeit with the occasional bait-and-switch), robust hardware...

I prefer a comparison where someone is giving out free Krispy Kreme donuts. After 2 you're hooked. Why? Because those are some tasty applications/hardware/donuts!

2003-01-08 12:24:42
Look in the mirror
Oreilly could also be a drug dealer...

How bout post a couple chapters of book they publish... and maybe even have the authors publish weblogs...

Then when readers get hooked, they'll buy the book...

2003-01-08 12:51:37
A bargin (mostly)
I have to say that I am quite happy with the application announcements Apple made yesterday. I was happy to hear that they are still going to allow free downloads of iTunes, iPhoto and iMovie. At $49 the iLife bundle is still quite a bargain considering what you're getting. Keynote also looks like a great app at a very reasonable price I'm not quite as thrilled with last years announcement of charging for the .Mac service as it doesn't seem to give enough bang for the buck, but hey, you're never going to make everyone happy.

What really thrills me though is Apple's continuing support of open-source software. The release of Safari is a good thing (still needs tabbed browsing and a way to get rid of the underlined links) and will go a long way towards helping the KDE camp.

Much more important and not as widely reported was the release of their own X11 installer. This paves the way for people to use applications such as OpenOffice and have good alternatives to MS Office and other wonderful X-Windows based applications.

Way to go, Apple!

2003-01-08 13:17:58
These things do cost money to produce you know, would you have apple release them for free? I'm sure they would if they could without losing their shirts. It was costing apple somthing on the order of 10 million a year to do .mac for free. 10 Million a year. You cant simply hemmorage cash year after year and not have to make it up somehow, so you either pay more money for your laptop/desktop/ipod wether you use it or not or you pay for the service provided. This getting everything for free stuff isnt practical when you're running a business. I never used .mac stuff because I never needed it but it was probably financed with the purchase of my g4 tower. Apple has a fiscal responsibility to it's shareholders above that of it's whiny fickle customers. Does orielly give away safari for free? 14 days, just like the crackdealer. Way to point the finger. Welcome to capitalism this is how things work.
2003-01-08 14:58:06
Mac user - still don't like being nickle 'n dimed.
I really enjoy my mac, but face it, all the nickle 'n diming (sp?) is brutal.
2003-01-08 15:00:06
Short memories
Jeez, do your research. iMovie2 was a paid upgrade ($50) as was iDVD2 ($20). The only iApp that hasn't had a price attached for a full version upgrade was iTunes. The iApps were and remain free on new hardware. The $50 iLife bundle is actually a price drop from what anybody with a memory would have expected; and that iTunes, iPhoto and iMovie WILL be available for free via download is a huge bonus for everybody. Now should the iLife bundle be part of the .Mac subscription? Sure, I'll go with that. Should new versions of software be perpetually free? There's no way for Apple to support a business model like that, unless you're willing to stop complaining that Apple hardware is too expensive. Employee paychecks have to come from somewhere...
2003-01-08 15:57:58
you make what they are doing sound like a bad thing

Okay, then...maybe Krispy Krack?

But seriously, I'm not implying that Apple's doing bad things. I think they've got their ears open, and they're listening to what people are saying. They've got their eyes open, and they're watching what people are doing with their computers and how they rely on the Net for their daily life.

And like you say...after two Krispy Kreme's, you're hooked. Likewise with the iApps. Use a couple and you're hooked. Now you can use four together. And don't forget that iPod. ;^).

2003-01-08 16:05:50
Is .Mac a bargain (was: A bargin (mostly))

When I first heard that Apple was going to charge for .Mac, I thought "Hey, wait a minute! That's not fair!" But then I stepped back and took a look at what you're getting for that $100 membership.

If you look at it from the perspective of Virex and Backup alone, you're getting your monies worth there. If you were to go out and purchase anti-virus software and a basic backup utility, you could spend about $100 right there.

Now add on to that 100 MB of online storage, web-based tools for building a web site, integration with iPhoto, access to the FreePlay Music clips (for use as background tracks for iMovies), you're getting a lot. And you get a email address.

To me, there's a lot more to .Mac than meets the eye. The bigger question for me (and I can't get ANYONE at Apple to answer this question) is: What will the renewal cost be? If they charge people $100 annually, I can smell trouble. But if they keep it down to the $30-$40 price range, their chances of keeping .Mac subscribers around is greater.

2003-01-08 16:41:20
Short memories

I realize that Apple has to make money from somewhere, and I didn't say that I was against them doing so. I think the software that Apple is developing to go with Mac OS X is great, and actually, I'm surprised -- not PO'd -- that it's taken them this long to start charging for them.

I'm not looking for hand-outs. I want software that works on my Mac, and I'm willing to pay for them. When you look at what you get for the price, Apple's charging more than reasonable price for what they're providing.

Remember, I did say: "Here's my credit card number. Sign me up. I don't want to be a dork anymore."

I've bought an iLife. Have you?

2003-01-08 16:44:00
Please see this reply for my response.
2003-01-08 16:45:52
The Addiction Continues...
Mine will be soon. I fully intend to replace the legacy gear I'm running at home. I've been waiting for Apple to release a PowerBook with Bluetooth built-in. Now they've done that, so it's time to put the old Mac into service as a gaming machine.
Jonathan Gennick
2003-01-08 19:35:20
The Addiction Continues...
So are you ordering the 12-incher or the 17-incher? I find the 12-inch model compelling. It hits the sweetspot for me, well almost, in that it's small and somewhat light and easy to carry around.

I'd actually be more excited, I think, if Apple came out with a version with no cd-rom drive at all, or that let me swap in an extra battery in place of the CD. I can't remember the last time I used the CD in my current notebook, and I'd gladly trade the CD/DVD drive for more battery life or for less weight and a smaller form factor.

2003-01-08 23:33:16
Mr Toporek, Chuck (if you don't mind), you really have a short and selective memory.
If that isn't the case, this post is flamebait. And if it isn't flamebait, it's negligence.

Stop reading everything in Z and you might get things right.
The new versions of iPhoto, iMovie, and iDVD are 2, 3, and 3 (not 2) respectively.
iLife features iPhoto 2, iMovie 3, iDVD 3 (not 2), and iTunes 3.
iLife will be included with new Macintosh computers and each application is (or will be) available for download except iDVD 3 because it's huge and for bandwidth sake, you can't download it.
What costs $49 is the two disc CD (with the 4 apps) and DVD-ROM set.

So if you really are buying a new mac and have already pre-ordered iLife, you are spending $49 on a 5 blank DVD-ROM kit because your future PB 12" will ship with iLife included.
If you can still cancel your pre-order, I guess I've just saved you $49. You can pay me a beer next MWSF ;)

Talking about $49, that was roughly (okay, it was $49.95) the price for a .Mac subscription for iTools members, not $99.95. But don't take my word for it, take Jim's

And Mac users who have really grown accustomed to iMovie, iTunes, iPhoto, and iDVD, will not have to pay $49 for them to be a part of iLife. It's only the name of the that digital hub concept, the new level of integration between those four applications that are getting profund upgrades and they are still free like many other Apple apps.

As for your drug dealing rhapsody, you could have given much better taste examples, like O'Reilly's relation with Perl development or one of the many examples from the Microsoft's Monopoly Handbook, like OEM licenses for instance.

But what I don't really get is the part where you rant about the prices of the new software titles like Keynote or Final Cut Express, new hardware prices (12" and 17" PB) or even about Microsoft's Internet Explorer sucks so much ass on OS X!
The hardware and software prices are not overblown and IE is not even an Apple application, for Christ's sake!
And to answer your question, no, I'm not seeing where you are going with this.

Mac users are not being nickle-and-dimed. From all free Apple stuff, iTools was the only thing Apple started to charge (if my memory is playing tricks on me, someone please correct me). All the rest is still free!

If you wrote this bellow, I don't know what are you iBitching about!
"Apple continues to innovate and develop an OS with some true killer apps to make our lives easier, and to help us share our lives (or would that be iLifes?) with others. And along with that, they continue to innovate on the hardware side by leading the way for new technologies to become mainstream words like USB, Firewire, and now Bluetooth.
Great gear. A killer OS. Useful apps. A big company that gets Open Source. What else could a Mac user want?"

Keep your credit card Chuck, money can't make you less dork!

2003-01-17 18:52:57
Please stop bitching about apple charging for things
Yes, Apple is a public company. They have to pay peoples paychecks, buy raw materials to make stuff, etc. Please start a new trend, stop complaining that Apple makes people buy stuff. I am so sick of hearing some idiotic complaint about Apple charging money for things. Offering .Mac for free and then suddenly switching to charging for it does suck but hearing everyone complain about Apple charging for anything but hardware sucks worse. It's old, worn out and totally stupid to think that Apple can exist and continue to produce great products while giving them all away.