Reflections of an Inveterate Apple-Watcher

Apple made a bevy of announcements on Monday. The two that most interested me were iPhoto and the new iMac.

I’ve been looking for some decent software to organize and manage our photo collection for a month or two now, so the announcement of iPhoto was manna for us. We’ve had a digital camera for several years now, and have accumulated over 3,000 photos – not a huge number, but enough that trying to deal with them becomes pretty unwieldy. I downloaded iPhoto immediately after the announcement, and loaded up all the photos I could lay hands on Monday night. Kathy’s been going through and categorizing them with appropriate keywords as well so that we can instantly call up all the photos of Emily, or every photo with Abigail and Kathy together, for example. The printing seems to work well, and the ability to design and lay out a book is a stroke of genius, though we haven’t yet seen fit to plunk down $30 to put it to the test. There are a few rough edges in the interface yet, and it has crashed a time or two on us when we’ve tried to import a whole pile of photos at once, but it’s utility far outweighs its disadvantages.

The new iMac is, of course, an eye-catcher. It seems to be the first hardware fruits of Apple’s digital hub strategy, with more ports for connecting various gadgets to it than any Mac to date. Though it doesn’t really do anything new, it’s a remarkably powerful machine for an entry-level desktop. (Oddly enough, for the first time Apple’s entry-level portables are actually cheaper than their desktop machines.) The new design looks like it will be more at home in the world of cubicles and corporations than the old machines were. Combined with OS X and Apple’s various iApps, it will bring a lot of utility to the consumer as well. But my favorite aspect of the announcement? You can now have a complete system for creating and burning your own DVD’s for $1,800. Cool.

Miscellaneous observations: I just noticed the tagline Apple has posted for iPhoto: “Shoot like Ansel. Organize like Martha.” Hee hee. Steve Jobs is getting more gracious in his old age. He handled Time’s premature leak of the iMac design and a demo gone wrong with much less fury than has been typical in the past. The new iMac video animates the machine with motions eerily similar to those of the lamp in Luxo Jr., a short produced by Steve’s other concern, Pixar. I was surprised as the monolith with the new iMac on it rose during Steve’s presentation that there was no “Also Sprach Zarathustra” thundering from the sound system.