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turd on a stick

So all that hype, all week of baiting from Apple and rumors galore, and what do we get? iPhoto and a new iMac. Sigh.

iPhoto is nifty, sure. I haven't played with it yet (and, of course, I can't because I'm on OS9.2), but I've been taking digital photos since 1997 and sure could use a good way to organize them. If it does as well with images as iTunes does with mp3s, it could be really cool. But then, only people with OSX will know for sure. A shame, too, because if Apple would release these apps to the Windows World, we might just win some converts.

Then there's the new iMac. Can I be honest here? I think it looks like a turd on a stick. I can't wait to see the case mods. And if the point was really to create a Digital Hub, why are the ports hidden in the back of the machine, where you have to bend over your desk to get to them? Why not place them proudly in front? Why make a hub that is embarrassed of its hub-ness?

Then again, I thought the first iMac was a dog, and I actually liked the Cube, so what do I know.


The biggest news today is really that all new Macs will boot into OSX by default now. This is important because it symbolizes the last step past the point-of-no-return in the transition from classic Mac OS to the new one, across the Apple line. Of all the announcements, this is the one that's got me the most worried. I remember how hard it was to teach my dad how to use the classic Mac OS. I just can't imagine teaching someone how to use OSX with all that slidey, candy-colored nonsense. Nor can I imagine using it on a daily basis.

If I've learned one thing as a freelance designer, it's that flashy design will get you attention, but once you've got a client on the hook, they want to know you're serious. They want to be taken seriously, and they want you to take the work seriously. The new iMac with OSX looks anything but serious. It's all flash. So the press will swoon and the kids will dig it, but the parents with the checkbooks (as well as anyone over 13 ) will hesitate. Hell, I'm a design weenie and I'm hesitating. I can't imagine having that thing on my desk. I can't imagine trying to make a living using it.

All of this gives me The Fear for Apple. I hope I'm wrong.

{ 11:00am }



» I beg to differ Derek. It's quite cool, but in a slightly subtler way for me. I'm seeing the evolution of my real desktop with this new iMac. This is just one more step in a long evolution.

When I think of my first Mac (I had the original back in '84) and I just set up my old doorstop of a 7100 on my daughter's desk for her educational CDs -- and she's just 5-- life is changing. How we work is changing (egads! I'm starting to sound like an Apple commercial!).

This isn't to say I will buy one but I sort of see this as a benchmark. Of course, let's see what Apple has learned since the demise of the cube. Cube or half-sphere: what's the diff? Marketing (didn't Apple market the cube to executives?).

And let's not count out the fickle public.

Jeff  { 1.7.02 @ 12:18pm }

» I've been using OS X for about 6 months now on an everyday basis and I no longer boot back into raw 9.x at all. There are a few things that I miss about the old OS, but in general what I have found with X is that although yes, it is wizzy looking, it is also extremely functional. A bit of a different take than many have had, for sure, but I'm not just boosting here - I think I have just given it an honest shot. Now that Office and BBEdit are available, I only open Classic for Photoshop.

The other thing I'd add is that to my eye the new iMac looks a lot more serious than the older versions. The whole announcement today didn't live up to hype though, and I think your comment about hiding the ports on the back is probably the best thing I've read on the subject all day.

Michael Boyle  { 1.7.02 @ 12:25pm }

» re: the location of the ports -- a good observation from MetaFilter:

you have 180 degrees of screen pivot to work with. Turn the base 90 degrees so the ports [are] on the side.

matt  { 1.7.02 @ 1:52pm }

» Here's a forehead-slapping "Duh!" of a thought: You've got a flat panel display on a stick. Why not allow the user to turn it 90 degrees and have the screen flip to be used vertically instead of horizontally? Suddenly all those long web pages have a proper screen format. And what's the "i" in "iMac" for anyway? Internet! Now that would be a wow feature....

Derek M. Powazek  { 1.7.02 @ 2:10pm }

» *lol*

turd on a stick, that's a good one :>

i didn't expect it to look as it does-- it really is an *interesting* look. but, i agree, iPhoto looks to be pretty awesome :)

first in line for purchase after i pay off this computer, though? the extravagant iPod, of course :)

(and just think, this is the first macintosh computer i have ever owned; i think i've been brainwashed ;)

– amy  { 1.7.02 @ 4:09pm }

» Derek, if you don't mind me saying so, I think you're missing the point. The iMac is pretty damn cool looking and will save a HELL of a lot of space on the desktop.

And sure there will be some adjustment to OS X for those converting from v9. No doubt. But what about all of those people who use Windows? And UNIX? I'm one of those recent converts. My candy-colored OS X running on my whizzy Titanium Powerbook G4 has me more excited than I can remember about a computer.

I LOVE this machine. I LOVE this OS. I LOVE the Unix underpinnings. I LOVE the lack of crashes and the lack of Microsoft BS. And I don't miss Windows one bit.

There are a whole lot of others out there to be converted. One of the biggest complaints about Linux is the unfriendliness of the OS to the consumer. No such thing can be said about this OS...

*drool* *drool* *drool* *drool*

Jay  { 1.7.02 @ 11:47pm }

» Jay, my friend, there's a difference between missing a point and simply having a different opinion.

I agree that the TiBook is one sexy beast. But the new iMac? Turd on a stick.

Derek M. Powazek  { 1.7.02 @ 11:52pm }

» I love the points about the port location, and think that the rotating monitor would be simply amazing... what a great idea. And since I fear change once I'm used to something, I still haven't switched to OSX so I do fear that. But Jay makes a good point about first timers from Windows.

I can't say I agree with turd on a stick though. No, it's not as sexy as the TiBook, but it really is damned cool. For a mainstream, entry-level computer, this is so much cooler than anything out there. Space-saving, neat-looking, and powerful as hell. Whereas I saw the cube as sort of a designer, fans-only piece, this thing is going to be the best-seller and is really going to make a difference. I mean, an 800mHz G4 that takes up as much space as a desk lamp? Wow.

Perhaps that's overstating, but I think it's really cool and is going to make a whole hell of a lot of college freshmen and 1st time computer owners VERY impressed. Hell, it'd make me, a longtime Mac user impressed.... (which leads me to my one complaint, with specs like those, who needs a G4 tower now? Time to upgrade that line by a lot...)

Also, get rid of the single mouse style, already. Jeez...

Dave  { 1.8.02 @ 12:05am }

» My first impressions were exactly the same as yours Derek. But I have to say, the little beast is growing on me. I converted to OSX about three weeks ago, and yes - it's still not quite there - and yes - it's not particularly fast on my old G4 400, but it does have some substantial advantages and I honestly believe now that it will be the next major step in OSes. And the iMac - again - unfortunately it's growing on me. It's GOT to look cute - iMacs are supposed to look unthreatening. But the more I see it in context places, the more sense it makes to me...

Tom Coates  { 1.8.02 @ 2:15am }

» Okay, I will admit this: When I saw the CD tray slide out, forming a kind of smile on the base, for the first time, I realized it was an iMac.

I guess the bottom line is, the iMac isn't made for me – I'm definitely in the pro category in my computer needs. The iMac is for the general consumer, and it'll be up to them to make or break this new design.

Derek M. Powazek  { 1.8.02 @ 2:25am }

» A guy at work who is a pretty straight forward home user caught me in the caf at the office this morning practically drooling over the new iMac. I've grown to like it OK, but as you concluded for yourself, Derek, I'm not the market for these machines.

So if that kind of basic-level user is any indication (and of course a sample size of one is pretty lame), it might be a hit.

My friend here uses OS X too. Never used 9 at all. Loves it (I quizzed him on that!)

Michael Boyle  { 1.8.02 @ 6:33am }

» First off, I'll say that the new iMac look is interesting and I wouldn't mind having one on my desk (knowing full well that I'd never give up my Quicksilver tower ever ever ever.)


But, that being said, it is only a new iMac. It's been redesigned yes, but the iMac is nothing new. We were supposed to be blown away, taken aback and completely stunned by the latest Apple releases. Apple claimed that the new stuff was way beyond what the rumor sites were speculating. The forums were abuzz with talk of the new G5, an Apple PDA, and even OS X for Intel. Warp speed ahead was the cry.

Warp speed, indeed. This unprecedented hype for what pretty much amounted to iPhoto and the new iMac was an unprecedented let-down. I have faith Apple will continue to release groundbreaking products and I will continue to be devoted. But I will never believe the hype again, view another keynote speech or engage in pointless speculation over their new offerings. I'll just read about it the next day. They really pissed me off this time.

Scott  { 1.8.02 @ 7:21am }

» what a mutt!

i can't believe that Apple made something as unelegant and unbalanced as the new iMac.
it might look good when you're sitting in front of it, but on a pedestal -- no way!

i know, i know, a computer is for computing, not admiring in a gallery. that is true for all but Macs. Macs are for computing AND admiring.

it looks like student work from industrial design class in undergraduate school.

conceptually, iPhoto is way cool and smart. can't wait to start using it.

– michael b  { 1.8.02 @ 11:21am }

» Scott,
I hope the Apple people were listening to all that speculation. Quite often, it's indicative of what users, and especially the continuous "power buyers" want.
(Still waiting for the Star Trek Communicator cell phone...)

I think the look of the iMac is kind of neat, although I would have gone for something more angled and mod looking, and as for OS X, I've noticed that it seems to make new computer users more comfy, so that's great.
I think the reason the Cube failed was because it was being sold head to head with that dual processor machine, which was more powerful and cheaper.
(I'm right aren't I?)
Is competing against yourself ever a good idea?
Most people won't pay for cute alone. They want to feel like they got a good deal, too.

– Devorah  { 1.8.02 @ 8:02pm }

» All good points...

I'm a bit biased, but...

I got to play with one yesterday and I can add this. Yes, the ports are in the back but it never felt so good to put your hand on a computer and "SPIN" it to get to the ports. The base yearns for you to touch it....and it feels so good in the palm of each hand.

Yes the iMac is marketed to consumers and education...but the 800 mhz iMac with the SuperDrive and Nvidia card would blow away my 450 G4.

Hey D, I didn't know you had a Dual 800 with a SuperDrive! Yea the 800 iMac would be a step down for sombody with a d800 or 867 G4

– Kevin-John  { 1.9.02 @ 7:50am }

» Oh, totally. I have like four of them. One I use as a stepstool in the kitchen....

Derek M. Powazek  { 1.9.02 @ 11:06am }

» I'm a windows user and I would love to use iPhoto or iTunes and the new mp3 player.

I hope they become available for windows.

– tom  { 1.10.02 @ 10:41am }


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