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Wake up and smell the news at Macworld

In response to the Perspectives column written by Charles Cooper, "Forget Macworld. Think Macsnore.":

I am a regular reader of your pieces and consider your opinions generally well-considered. I don't think you quite "got" the impact of this Macworld Expo.

Apple moved its serious server products to a 64-bit architecture, and released Xgrid, its cluster/grid computing initiative, to the public. Maybe it's not as sexy as a 20-inch G5 PowerBook would have been, but to researchers working on highly unsexy things like curing AIDS and cancer, this sort of package means they can achieve their goals faster and at lower cost.

If they release the long-rumored, 64-bit-optimized version of OS X Server/Darwin later this year, that'll be the "two" of this one-two punch.

Microsoft Office for the Mac is still a big deal. Note that there's no Microsoft Office for Linux. It was rumored that Microsoft might have dropped Mac support altogether this year, at the end of their five-year agreement to continue Mac development. It shows that Microsoft--who are as quick to get out of an unprofitable market (wireless tablet screens?) as they are to get into them to begin with--consider the Mac a long-term profit center, and thus a viable platform.

GarageBand is a big deal. For a bundled application, it's remarkably well thought out and full featured. You literally can't find anything like this on the PC without spending at least $50. It's going to convince lots of people to buy Macs to get started making music, the same way they bought them to edit home movies, get online or organize their digital photos and music collections. And it's an easy cross-sell upward to Apple's Emagic Logic line of professional audio software.

Apple doesn't necessarily bundle all its eggs in the Macworld basket anymore. They launched several major products 2 to 3 weeks after the last one, for instance. Choosing CES to announce the "hPod" was entirely appropriate--a much better venue than Macworld.

The iPod Mini isn't being sold on song capacity; it's being sold on styling, design, size and weight. It's much smaller, it's in an anodized-aluminum case (worry less about dropping it!), and it's much lighter than the Dell DJ. Plus, it can transfer songs over FireWire, and integrates with the iTunes Music Store, two things the Dell device can't do. If people need to carry around 20,000 songs, then they should buy a different device. But if they're considering something like the Rio Nitrus, they can get something nicer for $50 more. And the Dell DJ doesn't come in fun fashion colors--which one are trendy Japanese teenagers gonna' pick?

AJ Kandy
Montreal, Canada