Apple Hardware Software

New iProducts

Apple iMac

Apple iMac Aug 2007

So todays announcement was the new iMac. Wasn’t much of a surprise as it was due, and the rumor sites were pretty consistent. The new design wasn’t much of a surprise either. I love the metal, and think it’s great on the G5/Mac Pro. I never really cared for the glossy display, but I don’t think that’s a deal breaker. Lenovo did a poll on screen preference and found the overwhelming majority (86%) preferred anti-glare. It’s definitely my preference. I do however think it matters more on laptops than on desktops since laptops will on occasion be subject to lighting that produces glare, while a desktop is typically setup in a position that wouldn’t facilitate the problem.

Apple Keyboard

Apple Keyboard Aug 2007

Also new is the revised Apple Keyboard. This was leaked a little early. Gizmodo did a good breakdown on the changes to the key layout. I think the most surprising move was eliminating the Apple logo in favor of the word “command”. My guess would be the feel of the new keyboard is very similar to modern Apple laptops (Gizmodo says it does), but not as cramped. If that’s really the case, given the construction of this keyboard it could be a very comfortable keyboard.

Surprisingly Apple lists the keyboard’s requirements as:

  • Mac OS X v10.4.10 or later
  • Keyboard software update

For a keyboard? This sounds a little strange. I’m virtually positive if you plugged it into any computer it would work fine, but some of the special keys may not be mapped correctly. I’m almost positive it will work fine in Windows XP/Vista as well, since Apple has Boot Camp. I suspect Apple will at some point ship Windows software for the keyboard for users who want to use Windows in Boot Camp, as well as those who just want the Apple Keyboard. My guess is that it’s either just not ready yet, or they want to gauge interest.

iLife ’08

iLife ’08 looked pretty good, but I’m not a heavy user, so it didn’t impress me as much as I guess it should have. Organizing photos by events is extremely handy and seems very well done. iMovie also has quite a few enhancements that should make movie editing much easier.

iWork ’08

iWork ’08 impressed me a little more. So much like Office, yet so much more polished and eloquent. What’s impressive is that the final results look so good, and the process to get those results seems intuitive. Numbers in particular looks really great. Will this eat into Microsoft Office’s market share? No. Will it make life easier for many Mac professionals who want to make some nice looking documents? Absolutely.


One thing I thought was noteworthy is Steve apparently mentioned that the keyboard photos were leaked online. Considering Apple’s tight lipped history, that was somewhat interesting. Still no sign of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. He didn’t spend any real time on it, barely a mention. Considering it’s August, and the last big event before October, this was a little surprising. I’m wondering if this could mean a further delay.

My predictions from yesterday weren’t to bad, though they were mostly obvious. The only thing I was a little surprised about was the missing update on Leopard. I still think the Mac Mini will see a speed bump by the end of the year.

Mac Rumors notes that according to the Apple press release for the iMac, Airport Extreme now has Gigabit Ethernet (something that was sadly missing). No mention elsewhere on the site. I wonder if this is official, or just something that slipped out. It’s looking better and better.

Edit: According to CNet, the Mac Mini did get an speed bump! That means another prediction was right.

Product images courtesy of Apple.

Apple Hardware

Microsoft’s Playground

Beautiful tour of Microsoft’s Mac Lab. I think my favorite is the pic of all the Mac Mini’s. Every geek’s dream is to have a hardware collection that vast. I really love how they manage OS versions:

…On each machine we have two volumes: ChangeOS and Mac OS X. The Mac OS X volume is where we install the different versions of the OS. We boot to the ChangeOS volume to free up the Mac OS X volume for modification. When we trigger an automation run we specify the OS version and language. Each machine then reboots to the ChangeOS partition, caches the OS .dmg locally and uses the asr command line tool to restore the image. The tool that does this work is one I wrote (in AppleScript Studio no less!) called Lab Assistant. We have images of the Mac OS from 8.1 all the way up to 10.4.6 in all the languages our products support. …

Very cool stuff. I’d love if they would automate that into a nice little installer, similar to Apple’s new Boot Camp. Very cool stuff indeed.


Boot Camp

All I can say about this is WOW. Kinda makes me want to add an Intel Mac to my collection (though I think I would really want a tower with dual processor or something really beefy, rather than current models).

What I really wonder now is, why they don’t make Boot Camp so that you can boot from an infinite amount of OS’s including Linux? Hopefully that’s under way.

Either way, really cool, and makes me love Apple hardware even more.