Grousing begins before keynote ends

APPLE A DAY

Plugged In

January 17, 2008|By DAVID ZEILER

Even before Steve Jobs concludes one of his legendary keynotes, the grousing begins. This time has been no different. Too many Apple fans get caught up in the pre-keynote hype, rumors and wish lists that build expectations for extremely cool but utterly unlikely wonder-toys. Disappointment is almost a given.

People wanted a 3G iPhone. They didn't get it. People wanted a WiMax-enabled touch-screen mini-laptop. They got only the MacBook Air. People wanted to be blown away by another game-changing product such as last year's iPhone. Wall Street has also given the keynote a thumbs-down, slicing $9.74 from Apple stock Tuesday and another $9.40 yesterday, leaving the stock hovering at just under $160.

I have been amused over the past few days by frequent glowing references to the 2007 MWSF keynote, which - benefiting from the hindsight of the iPhone's success - is considered a classic.

Lest we forget, many Mac faithful were distraught over the absence of Mac news in last year's keynote. On Tuesday, Jobs gave us a new Mac laptop and new hardware to back up our Macs. Just last week he gave us new pro desktops and servers.

Most of the discontent on what Jobs did announce has centered on the MacBook Air. Critics don't like its sealed, non-user-replaceable battery, its lack of an optical drive, its lack of Ethernet and FireWire ports, its slower CPU (well, slower than a regular MacBook's). Sure it's thin, but it's still too wide and long, they moan. Australia's APC Magazine actually posted article listing the top 10 things wrong with the new MacBook.

A few have defended the MacBook Air, noting it is not positioned as a primary machine but as a highly portable companion to a more powerful Mac. It won't be for everyone. But it will have a constituency.

Read more about Steve Jobs' Macworld keynote on Dave Zeiler's blog at baltimoresun.com/apple.

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