Thanks to the good people at Mac Rumors.com, I was able to attend MacWorld this year. No, they did not provide all expenses paid trip to San Francisco. Instead, they posted photos and a text accounting of what was going on as it happened. For the Apple-obsessed, this is manna from heaven.
Jobs was reportedly geeked beyond belief for this yearâs speech. The International Herald Tribune reported Jobs told associates he was âmore excited about his current project than he was about the Macintosh.â Itâs important to remember that Jobs and Apple are masters of hype, but masters who tend to deliver the goods.
After a quick run through some sales numbers (the iPod is crushing Microsoftâs Zune, the iTunes store has sold its 2 billionth song and 1.4 million movies), and the rollout of Apple TV
(a silver box that sits in your entertainment center and wirelessly streams digital content from nearby computers to your television), Jobs finally broke out the big gun: the long-rumored cell phone/iPod combo, named the Apple iPhone.
And that's the Apple symbol, folks. Despite the âartist-formerly-known-as-Princeâ handle, the iPhone looks like a winner right out of the box. The device bundles an iPod, cell phone and hand-held computer in a ridiculously sleek package. How sleek?
For starters, there is a total of one button on the unit, making the front basically all screen. Make that all touchscreen, as the phone is operated by fingertip (no stylus here). While it is still too early to say whether Apple has âreinvented the phoneâ (as the company claims), the features list is pretty amazing. (The highest resolution screen Apple has ever shipped; syncs with iTunes; an all-new interface for making calls/getting voicemail; runs Appleâs OS X operating system and major applications; and so on. For a more complete list, click here.) The phone will be paired exclusively with Cingular and go on sale in June with a price of $499 or $599 (4 or 8 gigs of memory).
After the grand unveiling, Jobs got synergistic with Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang who made various partnership announcements. (Yang even begged Jobs for a phone, although I suspect he can afford to buy one when they go on sale.) The search kings were followed by Cingular CEO Stan Sigman who engaged in even more corporate synergy wanking, and the keynote speech seemed to be winding down. But would there be âone last thingâ?
In the past, Jobs has saved a big surprise as a kicker. This year, the surprise wasnât a slimmed down iPod, but a slimmed down company moniker. With family and friends looking on, Jobs completed Appleâs long shift from humble computer maker to a new-economy consumer-electronics behemoth simply by dumping âComputerâ from the brand name. From now on, itâs just Apple, Inc. And they mean business.
Cross-posted over at The Smorg.com.