Article: 2003 – The Year in Review

by on December 29, 2003

2003 was a memorable year, in the news, sports, and politics. There’s enough year in reviews covering that stuff. We’re going to cover what we think was important that happened on the Mac front…Anyway, on to the top Mac-related events of 2003 (one for each month).


The “year of the laptop” started with the introduction of 2 new PowerBooks, in a 12 inch and 17 inch variety, as well as new versions of the iLife apps, as well as a different, almost strange KHTML browser known as Safari. Final Cut Express, the “little brother” to Final Cut Pro was introduced as well.


If someone wanted to run Windows on the Mac (at least on modern Macs), the only application out there was VirtualPC by Connectix. Last February, Microsoft bought VirtualPC, making it their own. This sent shockwaves throughout the Mac web, and it still doesn’t run on a G5…maybe next year.


As Volkswagen’s original Beetle will not make the 2004 lineup worldwide, the G3 iMac was removed from Apple’s Store quietly in March. News of the machine’s demise was all over the web, and could plainly be put as the Mac Observer said:

“What we think is fascinating about this article from the BBC, and other articles about the unit being canceled, however, is that we simply can not imagine such articles about Dell ending the Inspiron, or HP end-of-life-ing the Pavillion.”


On April 29, Apple released new iPods, with slimmer profiles, touch-sensitive controls, and a new “dock” connector. The new iPods have a docking station, and can sync via FireWire or USB 2. iTunes 4 was released and hit record download amounts almost immediately. The iTunes Music Store was also introduced, selling songs at a mere 99 cents.


In May, Apple removed the sharing features in iTunes, allowing people to simply stream their music, due to pressures from record labels and others…


G5…Panther…iSight…do we have to choose? Well, WWDC happened, and the new aluminum-clad, 64-bit Power Mac G5 was introduced, knocking the price of the G4s down by a considerable amount. The iSight was introduced to allow “videoconferencing for the rest of us” on iChat AV. Panther, the next generation version of OS X was previewed as well.


Apple starts the “Pods Unite” ad-campaign in partnership with Volkswagen. The promo was that anyone who bought a new Beetle got a free iPod. ‘Nuff said.


In August, we learned that the Griffin iTrip was banned from use in the United Kingdom because the Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1949 makes pirate radio stations out of iTrip/iPod users. Rather interesting, since the iTrip’s signal (well, at least from what we’ve read about this and other FM transmitters for the iPod) can barely reach your car’s radio, let alone other people.


Well, September was a big month for Mac fans…New iMacs, complete with USB 2.0 and speeds up to 1.25GHz were released on the 8th, as well as the return of a 20GB iPod, and a new 40GB iPod. 10 Million songs were sold on iTMS, and all the PowerBooks got an update.


The PowerBooks got an update in the previous month, and the iBooks, much to everyone’s surprise got updated to a G4, with USB 2.0, AirPort Extreme, DDR RAM, and a slot-load combo-drive. But, to some, that’s not much news because on October 24th, Apple released Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther), providing Mac geeks everywhere with new features and speed, even on their aging iMac G3s.


Just when people were thinking that the 17″ iMac was plenty, we got a 20″ iMac from Apple. The new iMac has a (obviously) much larger screen, but still on the relatively small base.


Unless something happens in the next 2 days that’s bigger than our final entry, we’re going to go with that Apple’s “year of the laptop” has become the “year of music”, with iPods selling at a rate of 6 per hour at the Apple Store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago (during the holiday season). iPods were completely sold out in the UK, and there’s other shortages all over the US. A fire on a FedEx plane, allegedly full of iPods did not help the short supplies. Many shelled out $500 for the 40GB model, just so they didn’t have to wait for the others to become available.

2003 was quite an eventful year for Apple, the Mac world, and even PC users (they get iTunes now, too). With rumors circulating about “mini-iPods”, iTunes 5, iMovie 3.5, and maybe a 20th Anniversary Mac (celebrating the Mac’s 20th Birthday, not Apple’s) in the coming year, we can’t wait to see what’ll happen.

Stay tuned.

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