The Real Steve Jobs Introduces New iMacs And Software - InformationWeek

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The Real Steve Jobs Introduces New iMacs And Software

After months of iPhone hype, Jobs was eager to discuss his company's Mac-oriented hardware and software innovations.

At a press event at its Cupertino, Calif. headquarters, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced a redesigned aluminum and glass iMac, new versions of its iLife and iWork software suites, and a renovated .Mac online service.

After months of iPhone hype, Jobs was eager to discuss his company's Mac-oriented hardware and software innovations. He stressed that Apple's Mac sales had growth three times as fast as other manufacturers' PC sales over the past four quarters.

Jobs made a point of contrasting the typical PC, tangled in cables, with the clean design aesthetic of the new iMac. Apple's philosophy was to "put everything all-in-one and clean up the mess and deliver a better computer at the same time," he said.

The new iMacs embody that philosophy. They're thinner than before and encased in aluminum and glass for easier recycling.

There's an inherent disconnect in addressing the end of a product's life at its introduction. Jobs dealt with that by explaining that the reason Apple was obsolescing its products was "because we really care about this stuff."

Jobs made no mention of the flak Apple has received from environmental groups like Greenpeace in recent months. But the fact that Jobs emphasized that the new iMacs are recyclable suggests Apple has been paying attention to critics pushing for greener products and practices.

"Apple has made a big deal about being green and it's interesting that they're calling out those features," said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with JupiterResearch, following the event. "When you buy a computer, you're not always thinking about how it's going to be recycled. But it really shows Apple is paying attention to a very important issue."

The new iMacs come in two models: 20" ($1199, $1499) and 24" ($1799). They feature Intel Core 2 Duo chips, running at up to 2.8 GHz, with 4 Mbyte of shared L2 cache and up to 4 Gbyte of DDR2 SDRAM memory. They come with either the ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT, 128 Mbyte of GDDR3 memory, or the ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO, 256 Mbyte of GDDR3 memory. And they now support up to 1 Tbyte of internal hard disk storage.

Accessories for the new iMacs include a slot-loading 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support, built-in iSight video camera and microphone, AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking, Bluetooth 2.0, a redesigned keyboard, Apple's Mighty Mouse, and an infrared remote.

Jobs then proceeded to detail the changes to Apple's iLife suite of digital lifestyle applications. "Apple invented this whole category of digital lifestyle apps many, many years ago," he said.

Apple's iLife '08 ($79) consists of iPhoto, iMovie, iWeb, iDVD, and Garageband. The iPhoto and iMovie applications saw the most significant changes. iPhoto gained a new organizational interface called Events to help photographers sort and find their images among libraries with thousands of pictures.

"It is not unusual at all to find a photo library with 5,000 or 6,000 photos," Jobs explained. "You can find them but it's getting to be a bit like finding a needle in a haystack."

iPhoto Events are groups of pictures created through both automatic and deliberate actions, based on various criteria like when the pictures where taken. Events allow for a new form of rapid previewing called "skimming." Apple has applied to patent the technique, Jobs said.

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