Special: Macworld 2009 Keynote – The Next Day

by on January 7, 2009

It’s been a little less than 24 hours since Phil Schiller took the stage at the Moscone Center and shared the latest wares from Apple. Unfortunately, many are scratching their heads about whether or not the updates to iWork and iLife, the new 17″ MacBook Pro, and the new pricing scheme for iTunes are really that good of a product lineup.

iLife and iWork

Apple did a pretty good job with the prior versions of iWork (even when it was just Keynote), so much so that many who use the older versions are quite happy with what they can do. I have friends and family happily plugging along with various versions of iWork ’05 and iWork ’06, and I’m currently using iWork ’08 and haven’t run into any roadblocks. Obviously, if people need more power, they still go to Office. It seems Apple’s goal is to get people to move away from Office completely, which is a good move. For iWork ’08 users, this update doesn’t really seem that compelling, but if you need specific features, it’s probably worth it.

As for iLife, I have similar feelings. Having new ways to organize your photos is great, but if you’re like me, you’ve probably gotten lazy about your photos. I mostly have some Smart Albums sorting things by date and have gotten into using Events. However, many people that are in my albums (apart from family and the closest of friends) are also tied to a certain time period. Plus, I don’t have one of those new cameras with GPS, so I have to tag things by hand. These new features are cool, but only some will take advantage of them. The other updates are also more along the minor side, but will be significant to some. I think Apple’s update to iWeb is also worth noting—the widgets look really useful.

New MacBook Pro

A bigger MacBook Pro as expected, but with a non user-replaceable battery? Whaaaaaaaaaaaa? I know Apple says the battery lasts a lot longer and is supposedly good for over a thousand charges, but there’s always that safety net that you can yank out the battery and replace it with a newer one. People cried foul with the iPod, then the MacBook Air, and now this MacBook Pro, and I know the “sending it to Apple” idea is always possible. We’ll have to see how this plays out. I do like the “Antiglare” option, although I’m not sure why it couldn’t be offered across the board.

iTunes Pricing

It seems all the tech pundits took this away as the biggest announcement of the day. I think the move to a DRM-free iTunes is a great one, not for piracy reasons, but so that you can take your songs to other devices. I’m not talking about Zunes or other audio players necessarily, but how many things can you buy for your home/car/whatever that actually play AAC files, but (naturally) don’t work with iTunes Store files? Good.

The pricing structure remains to be seen, but it makes sense that certain tracks should be cheaper. I also checked out the concept of upgrading your iTunes library to iTunes Plus, for 30¢ per song, and it seems you can only do it with either the entire library or none of the library. Take your pick. I’d love to convert some songs that I actually care about and leave others that might have been the Single of the Week that wasn’t so spectacular (some are good).

What’s Next…

This keynote was pretty much what everyone expected. It was a bit boring, but Phil Schiller was able to demonstrate that he can discuss Apple’s products just as competently as Steve Jobs. Furthermore, it was Apple’s last Macworld Expo, and we weren’t expecting them to use all of the big product announcements there, but announce some things throughout the coming months. Snow Leopard would’ve been good, but we shouldn’t be complaining too much.

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