Down But Not Out

New PowerBooks, Safari, Keynote, and Other Things to Wean Us from Microsoft

Dirk Pilat - 2003.01.20

It is 8 a.m. on a cloudy Tuesday morning* at Sydney Airport, and I just have stepped off a grueling 19 hour flight from Frankfurt via Singapore, just to sit around now for another 6 hours until my plane to New Zealand buzzes off, so I thought I use the spare time to reflect on a couple of the exciting (or maybe not) new developments in our very own Vatican (also known as Apple Headquarters), presented to us by our very own prophet, the honourable archdeacon Stevie St. Jobs.

* The good doctor did write this on a Tuesday morning (which would have been Monday afternoon or evening here in the States), but he forgot his Palm's cradle, so he didn't actually send it in until Saturday, January 18. And that's why this article is appearing on Monday (or maybe it's Tuesday already in New Zealand, Australia, and the rest of the Orient). dk

There is plenty of good news to rejoice: 600,000 sold iPods, 250,000 sold .mac accounts, plenty of new software, and even the deliverance of our very own Web browser, the mysteriously named Safari. And what an interesting piece of software it is - based on KDE's Konqueror, this is (although still buggy) a lean, mean browsing machine that (by the time it's out of beta) will probably be the #1 browser for most Apple heads, and, as recently reported by MacSlash, the new source will probably end up in the new versions of Konqueror, being the good open source citizen that Apple intends to be.

With the coming evolution of OpenOffice for OS X out of beta and the release of the PowerPoint killer Keynote, this will be another stepping stone towards independence from Microsoft products - and good riddance.

On the other hand, I hear you wail, what happens if Bill "the devil" Gates finally has enough of Steve's shenanigans and closes down the (unusually aptly named) Macintosh Business Unit (MBU), leaving Apple without streetcred in the corporate world? Will we finally become a branch of Dell, or, even worse, Gateway? That would probably the time when we all would abandon our beloved PowerPCs and finally succumb to inevitable and all start using AMDs (of course running OpenBSD).

On the other hand, Bill Gates is still said to make quite a bit of money with the MBU and would be foolish to close down such a lucrative money spinner.

I personally believe that we will continue to find Microsoft products on our desktops (although I have been wrong so many times before that my predictions mean literally nothing) and continue to marvel what handsome and functional software can be produced by Microsoft if they only set a lean team of dedicated and excellent coders on the task. If you think that this is a compliment towards Microsoft, you're right. Yes, miracles happen sometimes.

Now quickly to the other stuff: The new PowerBooks are indeed beautiful, although I have to admit that I don't see the practicability of the 17" version - that thing is seriously broad, and after having a look around in my wardrobe, I certainly couldn't find hand luggage that I could fit this beastie in.

On the other hand, the small PowerBook is seriously sexy, and I have to admit that I am severely tempted by this extremely compact piece of engineering. I could certainly see the smaller PowerBook as the replacement of my beloved iBook in the next couple of months.

Mmh, let's just wait for the prices to fall a bit.

With that I'll leave you to make up your own minds and, as usual, post some feedback on thepilum.com so I can learn from your views. Just wish me luck that I won't sleep through the boarding of my flight.

Snore.... LEM

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