Macworld SF: Disappointment or Bank Account Raiding Fun?

I admit I get a little excited by new technology introductions. Take the recent introduction of the Segway personal Mobility device. I was a bit over stimulated. I woke up early to watch the unveiling on Good Morning America. I was impressed that this new high tech gadget would go over gravel, ramps, snow and even ice. Heck, I can’t walk across ice without incurring several compound fractures. Still I felt underwhelmed where was the irresistible urge to acquire one? Perhaps, I mused, I am in the minority. Perhaps the more intelligent folks surrounding me think this new “personal mobility device” is incredibly impressive. Was my initial reaction indicative of the majority of folks? To answer this question I would need to do some serious research, contract with a couple of polling firms and spend big dough. I briefly considered pursuing this course of action and decided it would probably make for drier than usual reading. Instead I turned to my lovely wife who was also watching Good Morning America and asked her if she thought it was cool. The conversation is related below:

“Honey, wake up, they just unveiled that ginger thingy.” said I.

“It’s a spice used with sushi, go back to sleep.” She replied.

“No it’s a new gadget, it’s going to revolutionize world, Look there it is!”

(Wife cracks one eye open) “Isn’t that what we got your nephew for Christmas last year?” My wife inquired.

“Of course not, we got Matt a scooter, this is a computer controlled gyroscopically balanced personal mobility device” I responded.

“So?” she inquired.

“It goes over ice!” I exhorted.

“So does scotch” She observed.

“I mean you can drive it over ice” I parried.

“I stay home when it’s icy” She responded.

“Now you won’t have to!” I deflected.

“Why, so I can drive around and look at all the idiots who bought scooters?” She observed.

“But it’s techno, it’s cool, it’s….it goes over gravel too.” said I, grasping somewhat.

“You’re such a geek, go back to sleep, and the answer is no, you can’t have one” and with that she trumped my last, desperate gambit.

A geek, a sucker for technology, is that what my wife thinks of me? Apparently, but I can’t understand why. I don’t even need a personal mobility device. I already own a multi passenger mobility enabler which is powered by a four chambered energy conversion unit that utilizes a rapid oxidation energy scheme dependent on prehistoric energy sources (or, as some call it, a car). So I don’t need or want this new, untippable scooter. So I rate the introduction of the Segway was a failure. I haven’t heard of any massive backorders and, as noted above, the mass media deluge didn’t inspire me to pine for one.

Surprisingly all the above provides a nice transition (note the careful avoidance of the easy pun) to the big Mac media event. MacWorld is where the big stuff gets introduced so the question is: Will MacWorld leave the faithful feeling like they just met the Segway or will we all be digging deep to buy the latest and greatest?

Macworld SF is saddled with conjecture about improvements across the board. Heck, you can’t swing a dead cat without hearing some rumor about what’s going to be revealed at MacWorld SF. (And I tried, I procured a dead cat, swung said cat and smacked into “G5 at 2.6 GHz.”) Off the top of my head: flat panel iMac rumor, G5 Rumor, redesigned TiBook (doubtful, what could make a TiBook better?), GHz barrier broken to tiny little pieces rumor, 400 MHz bus rumor. Which all sounds very exciting, but if it’s just a MHz bump on the high end and a boring looking flat panel iMac we may all feel Segwayed. On the other hand if it’s full of radical new form factors, stuff so cool it makes the TiBook look like the early LED digital watches then I’m raiding the bank account and buying my legally allowed amount of hipness.

My money is on scenario two (and I mean this literally, I own Apple stock). I may be looking at the world through bondi blue glasses but I suspect (without any grounding in actual fact) that this is going to be a spectacular MacWorld. The turtlenecked one has a track record of cool intros but it’s been a little while since something “supercool” or “uberhip” has come along (I’m thinking of the TiBook). So it’s time for major league niftiness to be unleashed. I suspect the rumored flat panel iMac will be inescapably great. So great, in fact, I am going to have to come up with a rationale to jettison my G4 in favor of a “lesser” machine. I shudder to think how cool (and costly) the top end box may be. I hear the arguments already, the newest G4’s are already superb. The recent incarnations of the G4 may actually be amazing if you’re a horse power craving power user, but until “revolutionary” is used by the mainstream media I’m not jettisoning my G4 for the “speaker cover free” model. Somehow I think the Stevinator will take the top end from “It would be nice to have” to “That’s so freakin’ cool!”

Of course I might be the victim of horribly optimistic thinking. We might not get a flat panel iMac; we might get a new “itchy” color scheme. We might not get a G5, we might get a 1 Ghz G4, wheeee. We might all say it’s just a computer.

Will Junior be forced to attend a state college thanks to the college fund being raided? Will that dusty spot under current machine finally get a good cleaning? Will you be inspired to buy more computer than you need? I suppose we’ll have to wait until January to find out.

Chris Seibold

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