Thursday, January 11, 2007

Geek Thursday: iCame, iSaw, iPhoned

My apologies to everyone who expects to see Geek Wednesday know, Wednesday. I had one of those moments that occur to all of us just before a major Bush policy speech, and I had to vent. But we've only lost a day, so let's have a Geek Thursday. But first, click that graphic and watch as the golden gaze of Jon Stewart falls on some Homeland Security mannequin who wins Jon's "Turd D'or" award for a phrase that is sure to echo through corporate boardrooms for years to come.

Geek Thursday: iStock

It just so happens I was in Frisco for Macworld on Tuesday, and I happened to run into Steve in a bar, hours after his Keynote at which he rolled out those two new products, the Apple TV and the iPhone. I asked him, "hey Steve, why didn't you have 'one more thing...'?"

He proceeded to explain: the "one more thing" this year was a new product meant exclusively for Apple management. It's a piece of software designed around the same code base as MacSheet, the new Excel-killer spreadsheet app that is being added to the iWork collection. But because of the special purpose that this application serves, even iWork had to be kept under wraps for the public show.

iStock, Steve explained, is a revolutionary app that can find the highest stock price for your favorite investment vehicle across a five-year period, down to the minute and second. "It's Time Machine, the new backup feature we're adding to Leopard, on steroids," Steve added. iStock will get you that best price backward in time and then automatically complete all the necessary paperwork for you to cash in, and it comes complete with a widget-style smokescreen device to keep the SEC off your trail.

Well Steve, what can we say except that at the Martha Stewart Penitentiary For Soft Time, the prison stripes come in black turtle neck.

Here's one of the new products that Steve actually introduced Tuesday at Macworld Expo, and once you take a look at the demo, you'll probably want one.

Yet on the whole, I think Rob Griffiths of Macworld (the magazine) hit the target dead-center on this Expo: it was disappointing. No further Leopard announcements or demos; no new Macs; no new iPods; no new software. Just a phone and a TV box. On the latter, our own Nearly Cupertino Nick has the following observations:

The Apple TV was definitely nothing to get excited about. Too expensive for what it does (which isn't much). I'm surprised Apple only went with a standard HD connection, unless they plan to upgrade to 1080i for $399 in a few months. I can't see it having a long life. At this point, why not spend the extra money and get a Mac mini that you can hook up to your TV? You get much more functionality too. The worst thing is that the AppleTV doesn't even take a cable input! It can't even act like a DVR! XP Media Center still has Apple beat here.

By the way, next week we'll be hearing from NC Nick again—who incidentally is a true geek, and with the sheepskins and the florescent tan to prove it—as we conduct a brief debate on the future of IT in the enterprise. I'll try to remember to post on Geek Wednesday this time.

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