MacWorld 04 Keynote

by Volker Weber

I was very much underwhelmed by the keynote address from MacWorld. Let's sum up the news:

Hardware: Xserve now G5, Xserve RAID upgraded, new 4 gig iPod mini ($249), 10 gig model upgraded to 15 gig ($299), in-ear headphones ($39), musical keyboard ($99).

Software: Final Cut Express ($299, $99 upgrade from 1.0), iLife '04 in 10 days from now ($49), Microsoft Office in a few months.

iLife adds one important application: Garageband, based on software Apple acquired with the German company emagic eighteen months ago. I wish I could play the piano. Since I can't it won't be useful to me, but I am sure to a lot of other people. This is one great value for $49. And it will change music in a big way. Like desktop publishing that brought design to the inept, we may get a lot more bad music shortly. Wait for muzak created from thousands of loops. That is the downside. The upside is it enables more talent to grow. Which will win in the end.

Amongst serveral updates in iLife, the new iPhoto will finally be able to handle thousands of images. Currently it does not. So this is what I am waiting for. Microsoft Office was a yawner. I am not going to take notes with Word. I promise. :-)

The iPod mini looks way to expensive. Add 50 bucks and get the real thing. 3 times the storage. The servers have no meaning for me. YMMV.

Maybe I was expecting too much. A big bang celebrating the 20 years anniversary of the Mac. Did not happen.

So, what do you think?


One funny aspect that I didn't pick up on originally was the 1984 ad they showed. It is now available on the Apple website at

The original ad has been modified slightly. For the most part, it is the exact same ad; I have played the two versions side by side. Execpt for this one small thing. Has anyone else noticed it?

Joe Canadian, 2004-01-06

I don't remember seeing the first one but in watching this one I would guess that the difference is the iPod on her side. Great commercial... I only wish I had a mac, maybe soon.

Tom Brandt, 2004-01-06

Good one !

Volker Weber, 2004-01-06

I, too, was underwhelmed (though I am very excited about the iLife update ... especially iPhoto). But Steve mentioned in the beginning of the keynote (the only part I watched) that this will be a year of celebrating 20 years of the Mac. So, while this keynote kinda sucked, hopefully the next one will deliver more.

the Xserve update is amazing. while its not the biggest deal for the mere end user, both the xserve and the raid are amazing deals at the price and feature set. So that was a major deal and worthy of a macworld keynote.

john head, 2004-01-06

Yes, I noticed the difference in the ad immediately and had a good laugh. We need more subversive stuff like that coming from Cupertino.

I agree that the iPod is nice but the price is underwhelming. And the influence of GarageBand cannot be overstated because Apple is bundling it with every new iMac. I still miss the days when programming languages were bundled with computers...

Mike, 2004-01-07

With every new Mac, actually. That makes more sense.

Mike, 2004-01-07

I was excited about the iLife announcements. iPhoto had to get better at supporting large volumes of photos to be in the same league as Photoshop Album. GarageBand rocks. There's going to be a metric ton of crap music produced with it and a few real gems. I'm looking forward to finding some of the gems. The iPod was a disappointment. They missed the price point by $50. At $200, it would have been pretty easy to justify buying one for most people. They've obviously been right about the current models. Maybe I'm wrong since I'm not a marketing guy. I do feel better since Apple and I are even now. I bought my iBook just before they came out with the G4 iBook. One point for them. After getting a 10gig iPod for Christmas, I traded it in at the Apple Store and upgraded to the 40gig. One point for me. Also, I thought it was funny I was using Deep Notes (free) to take notes while Microsoft was talking about how you can pay for their software to take notes.

Michael Braly, 2004-01-07

All about consolidation I guess, though the mini iPod pricing is definitely a joke. With regards programming languages, every new Mac comes with heaps!!

Ben Poole, 2004-01-07

I too am excited about iPhoto and GarageBand. I'm not a musician, but I think it will be a blast to introduce the six-year-old to music.

I have the 15GB iPod but I only have it half full. But, I'm the type of user that would love the mini since 4GB is enough for me--just a little music but more audiobooks. I'm sure it will be priced at $199 in 6 months.

Just remember that the 20th anniversary of the mac can be celebrated all year. G5 Powerbook anyone?

"iLife is like Microsoft Office for the rest of your life." Please. I can the whooshing sound from here. I don't even use Office at work nor at home. Where's my iWrite? Someone got scared with Keynote...

Joseph Pollone, 2004-01-09

Old archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


Paypal vowe