Author Archive | Harry McCracken

My Question With Steve

Yesterday, I posted about the fact that Steve Jobs usually doesn’t take questions at Apple press events–except when he does. I said that if he did, I’d try to ask a question on behalf of the Technologizer community. You are, apparently, a shy group–lots of folks read that post, but only two piped up with questions.

But the good news is:

A) Steve Jobs, Apple COO Tim Cook, and marketing head Phil Schiller did indeed field questions from the audience;

B) I was the very last person who squeezed one in (Steve greeted me like an old friend–oh, not really, he called me “blue shirt”);

C) I asked a question on behalf of a Technologizer community member thinking that I might not get a real answer–but I did, and it’s one I haven’t seen elsewhere.

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New MacBook Pro, MacBook, and Cinema Display…in Person

Want some beauty shots of Apple’s new products? Sorry, don’t have any–Apple’s Web site is now rife with ’em, though. What I do have are a few fuzzy photos I took at this morning’s event, plus some hands-on impressions.

One striking thing is that while the naming conventions of MacBook and MacBook Pro live on, the difference in industrial design does not. And even in terms of specs, the differentiation between the two classes of machine is blurry.

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Technologizer Live Coverage: Apple Notebook Event

No rumors. No predictions. No misinformation. Just the facts about Apple’s new portables, straight from Apple’s campus. Join Harry as the MacBook Pro he bought in June suddenly becomes an antique. Our liveblog of the press event starts at 10am Cupertino time.

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Final Apple Notebook Scuttlebutt Before Bedtime

[SHAMELESS PLUG: Technologizer will be liveblogging the Apple notebook event on 10/14/2008 @ 10am PT. Please join us.]

his is, I’m reasonably sure, the last time I’ll write in any detail about what Apple may announce tomorrow at its notebook event. I’m about to hit the hay, and will be at the event itself not too long after I wake up. But information (some of which may turn out to be misinformation) is still hitting the blogosphere, and I thought a quick update made sense.

First of all, if you read only one more pre-event post, make it this one by Daring Fireball’s John Gruber. He’s the furthest thing from a rumormonger, and he seems quite positive about the following:

–the new MacBook Pro combines elements of the MacBook (latchless case), MacBook Air (black keyboard), and iMac (black frame around display) and indeed sports a case made out of one piece of aluminum;

–it has a glass touchpad with no button–you press the entire pad to click;

–this is a 15-inch MacBook Pro we’re talking about; there’s no new 17-inch one.

John then says “I have some educated guesses as to what else will be announced,” and I can’t quite tell if he means that everything after that sentence is less definitive. But he says that there are new MacBooks that are similar in industrial design to the new 15-inch Pro; that the MacBook Air is getting bigger hard drives; that all the systems have Nvidia’s 9400M GPU; and that the MacBook Pro also sports an Nvidia 9600M GT. (Yup, it supposedly has two GPUs.)

Oh…he also says that there is no $800 MacBook. (I’ll channel Joe Biden and say that again: There is no $800 MacBook.) But the current white MacBook will hang around at $999. And Apple will also introduce a 24-inch LED-backlit Cinema Display.

Okay, once you’ve read Daring Fireball, go to Engadget for a fuzzy photo of the new MacBook Pro. It certainly looks legit.

Actually, I think those are the only two posts you really need to read. See you at 10am tomorrow for our live coverage from Cupertino. Happy thought: By around 11:30am tomorrow, there will be absolutely no Macbook rumors to sort through. For a little while, at least…

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Samsung Does Notebooks

If it weren’t for a certain other laptop-related announcement, the big news in laptops today would undoubtedly be this: Samsung is going to begin selling portable computers again in the U.S., re-entering one of the few personal electronics categories it doesn’t play in. (The company has been out of the market for a long time, with the exception of its Ultra Mobile PC.)

Actually, this is still reasonably big news. I got a sneak peek at the new Samsungs recently, and from what I saw, the company’s explanation of why it retreated from the PC market for so long–because it wanted to wait until it could do things right–rings true. It’s returning with a pretty full line of portables, skewing towards the high end. And Samsung being Samsung, nearly every component in these machines is actually made by Samsung, except for the CPUs, graphics, and operating systems.

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Are Macs More Expensive? Definitely–Just Ask Microsoft!

[SHAMELESS PLUG: Technologizer will be liveblogging the Apple notebook event on 10/14/2008 @ 10am PT. Please join us.]

A couple of months ago, I had a lot of fun comparing the cost of various Macs to various Windows PCs, with my goal being to determine if Macs are pricey. I learned that it’s a really complicated matter. Today, another observer has chimed in with a fresh look at the question. And that observer is…Microsoft.

Girding itself for the possibility of an $800 MacBook being unveiled tomorrow, the company has been talking to reporters about the notion of a “Mac Tax” that Mac users pay compared to comparable PCs. Its PR firm, Waggener Edstrom, sent along a prepared statement to me that attempts to provide a lot of supporting evidence for this idea.

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Apple’s Tuesday Notebook Event: What Would You Ask Steve?

[UPDATE: I did indeed ask Steve Jobs a question on behalf of the Technologizer community. Here are the details.]

At the typical Steve Jobs keynote unveiling one or more new Apple products, no time is set aside for questions. That’s not meant as stinging criticism: Time usually is set aside for attendees to get some hands-on exposure to the new products, and there are always Apple reps there who you can buttonhole for answers. But it’s rare to have an opportunity to pose queries to Steve Jobs himself.

Rare, but not unheard of: Every once in awhile he does open the floor to questions, and as I recall, this is more likely to happen in the more intimate setting of Apple’s campus “Town Hall” auditorium than the cavernous environs of San Francisco’s Moscone Center. He’s also been known to linger in the demo area and chat with attendees. So it’s possible, at least, that those in attendance tomorrow (such as me) will get some face time with the man himself, or at least with other Apple bigwigs such as Phil Schiller.

It is. of course. kind of hard to decide what questions you’d ask at the end of an event that hasn’t happened yet. But assume for the moment that tomorrow’s announcements are at least vaguely along the lines that people expect, with significantly new MacBooks and a sharply lower entry price point. What would you ask Steve Jobs? Throw out some ideas; if I like any of ’em and have the chance, I’ll pose one to him.

(And yes, you could ask him questions that have nothing at all to do with tomorrow’s news. But if you did, I know what the answer would be: “We’re here to talk about our new notebooks.” Which is not unreasonable…)

[Photo of Steve Jobs from Wikipedia by Matthew Yohe. That’s a MacBook Air he’s holding, not some unannounced wondermac…]


Windows 7 Has a Name: Windows 7! Windows 7?

Over at the Windows Vista blog, Microsoft’s Mike Nash just posted with a bit of news that’s both minor and significant: The upcoming version of Windows code-named Windows 7 will, in fact, be called Windows 7.

On one hand, the name of a new version of Windows is utterly unimportant–it could be called Windows Garanimals for all I care if it’s solid, and if it’s not solid it doesn’t matter in the least what its moniker is. But it’s nice, at least, to know the name without any further ado. And as I write about Windows 7–and I will, in great profusion–I won’t have to call it “the product code-named Windows 7, although Microsoft has not released its official name to date.”

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Our Live Coverage of Apple’s Notebook Event, Plus a Recap of the Story to Date

Economic meltdown, election, playoffs–can we put them all on hold for one morning, please? On Tuesday, the nation’s eyes will turn to Apple headquarters at One Infinite Loop in Cupertino, California, where the company will unveil new notebooks. And Technologizer will be there. I will liveblog the event from my seat in Apple’s Town Hall auditorium–connectivity willing, of course–and will provide further analysis as the day’s events warrant. Ed Oswald will provide additional coverage. And I hope you’ll be here too to share your two cents on the news, whatever it may be.

Meanwhile, here’s everything we’ve published on the subject to date–just about all of which will be rendered hopelessly obsolete before the event is done:

Is Apple’s “Brick” a Breakthrough Manufacturing Process? Rumor has it that Apple will carve new MacBooks out of solid blocks of aluminum.

The Fuzzy-Wuzzy World of Tech Spy Shots: A glimpse at a blurry photo of what’s allegedly part of the case of one of the new MacBooks.

Hey, Let’s Build an $800 MacBook! I try to figure out what sort of Mac Apple might build for the money.

New Apple Portables Due Next Week: A Rumor Recap and a Poll: Everything we think we might know, much of which is hopelessly wrong.

Twitter Chatter: What Are We Hoping Apple Announces on Tuesday? My Twitter pals share their dreams and desires.

Apple’s Tuesday Notebook Event: Please Don’t Call These Predictions: I speculate in excessive detail about what we may learn tomorrow.

See you Tuesday!


Apple’s Tuesday Notebook Event: Please Don’t Call These Predictions

[SHAMELESS PLUG: Technologizer will be liveblogging the Apple notebook event on 10/14/2008 @ 10am PT. Please join us.]

Apple predictions? I think I’ve declared more than once that I’m done making them–Apple is just too good at confounding expectations. So let’s call the thoughts I’m about to share about tomorrow’s Apple notebook event something else. Scenarios, speculations, stabs in the dark–whatever you please is okay with me.

For no particular reason, I’ll provide a predic–er, an informed guess about the likelihood that each of the following things will happen tomorrow, in the form of a percentage.

Shall we begin?

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