Apple aficionados were thrilled as usual by the announcements made by Steve Jobs in yesterday's keynote presentation at Macworld Expo in San Francisco. After last year's introduction of the revolutionary iPhone, many observers weren't sure that the Apple CEO would be able to surprise the world in a comparable fashion today. For me, the most striking aspect of today's keynote was the emergence of a coherent and integrated approach to computing, multimedia and the Internet that might be designated as the wireless philosophy. To see what this expression means, let's start with the most spectacular product presented today: the world's thinnest notebook, called MacBook Air. Steve Jobs actually extracted a specimen of this amazingly compact silver computer from an interoffice Manila envelope.
Much could be said about several splendid qualities of this machine: its LED-backlit display, its black backlit keyboard, etc. [Click the image to visit Apple's site, where you can find a lovely ad concerning this product, along with a guided tour of the new laptop.]
But I prefer to draw attention to a familiar component that is totally missing in this computer. It has no CD/DVD drive! At first sight, that sounds pretty crazy, because we've all become accustomed to using removable disks on our Macs to install new software, perform backups, play CDs and DVDs, etc. You can, of course, attach an external CD/DVD drive, but the absence of an inbuilt device sends out a new message. As far as the all-important question of backup is concerned, Macs running Leopard will henceforth be able to get backed up constantly and automatically by means of the extraordinary Time Machine software tool, which will store our precious data through a wireless connection on a delightfully simple piece of hardware called the Time Capsule:
This new approach to backup will be truly a godsend for a Mac user such as me... who has been struggling with the ugly Retrospect tool for too long.
As for other exciting announcements made by Steve Jobs, such as the possibility of renting movies through the Internet, they affect a spectators' multimedia universe that doesn't really concern me greatly. Maybe I'll end up giving in to the gadget charm of the iPhone, whose new software will make it possible to ascertain the user's geographical location by means of an ingenious system that has nothing to do with GPS. [See Apple's website for details.]
Right from the start, back in the early '80s, I became a fan of Apple products for the simple reason that they were usually ingenious, powerful and friendly. Over the last few years, I haven't been too astonished to discover that Apple's imagination and superiority are soaring exponentially. I can understand perfectly why Steve Job is looked upon, throughout the planet, as an exceptional visionary.