Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Nothing short of miracles will do from Jobs

OK, I am a self-confessed Apple addict. Have been for 25 years I'm afraid. Too old and late now for rehab. So at 5.06pm UK time, I was glued to my screen to watch Steve Jobs tell me what gizmos I was might yearn for in 2008.

He started with some impressive sales figures for 2007. For example, 4 million iPhones sold to date putting Apple in the number two slot to RIM and about equal to all the other contenders combined. We had the expected announcement about movie rentals via iTunes (including HD versions), a revamped Apple TV (we've had these features in our house for 18 months though) and some really neat upgrades to the iPhone. The "Where am I" feature looked really good. But none of these had the WOW factor that we expect from a Jobs presentation.

Something approaching that only came at the end when Steve took a MacBook Air out of one of those interoffice envelopes. The MacBook Air is REALLY thin - 0.76 inchs at its max. point. I was really pleased to see that it came with an 80g hard drive. You can get a 64g flash drive but that nearly doubles the price ($3098 compared with $1799 for the hard drive version). What it doesn't have is a DVD drive. It has a neat attachment that allows you to use the DVD drive on a nearby Mac via WiFI and if you really want a optical drive there is a $99 optional add on.

As you can see in the pictures below, the MacBook Air really does look...fantastic! But as I said in my post last week, I've been using a treasured Panasonic Toughbook for 5 years now and have been waiting to see how the MacBook Air measured up to the latest model before deciding to buy a new one. On first sight, I think I'll go for a Toughbook W5 which is lighter (2.9lbs compared with the Air's 3lbs) has all the ports I need for things like a mouse, 3G card, ethernet and SD slot (none of which the Air has) and is ruggedised. Of course it only comes with XP or Vista - but, in life, you can't always have everything.

As I look at Apple stock, maybe I am not alone in my initial impressions. Apple is down a massive 7.6% so far today (8.30pm UK) - which makes a fall of over 17% in the first two weeks of 2008.

I am sure that the Air will be a huge commercial success. But it hasn't got the "earth has just moved" factor that I got with the Lisa and Mac back in 1983/1984 or indeed more lately with the iPod, iMac and the iPhone. That must be the problem being a God like Steve Jobs - nothing short of miracles will do anymore.

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