★ Macworld Keynote

Today, Steve Jobs delivered the opening keynote for this year's Macworld. It wasn't as exciting as last year but there are definitely some things to get excited over. Most important of all, Apple has come out with the iPod mini. About the size of a business card, and coming in 5 different colors, I can see a lot of people getting excited over this. The 4 GB hard drive has enough space for about 1,000 songs. The only thing that I wasn't so excited about was the price. I was expecting something a little less expensive since a lot of people were thinking that Apple was going to go after the lower priced mp3 market. On the other hand, I can see the niche that this player is targeting. Someone who thinks that 10,000 songs is a ridiculous amount of music to carry and they want something even smaller than the iPod to go jogging with. We will see when they ship in February.

The other release that I got excited over was the new iLife suite and more specifically, Garage Band. iPhoto is supposedly much, much faster and can handle photo libraries of up to 25,000 pictures. I have around 2,000 pictures and iPhoto lags. They also added more flexibility as to how you organize and manage your photos. You can rate your photos similar to rating in iTunes and you can create smart albums, just like in iTunes.

Garage Band is the type of program that defines what kind of company Apple is. They believe that a computer is not just an appliance that completes tasks, but a tool that you can use to create things. If you had a chance to see the keynote, you would know what I'm talking about. Steve Jobs had John Mayer come up and demo how the software worked. I literally was sold like 30 seconds into the demo. Even the musically challenged, like me, can create their own music with loops and samples from different types of instruments. You can also plug in a USB keyboard or even directly hook up a guitar to your computer and start recording music over the background loops you've recorded. And since it's an iLife app, it's integrated with the rest of the iApps, so you can record your own music, export it into iTunes, then listen to your own music on the go by loading it onto your iPod. iLife '04 comes out on January 16th.