I must admit, I've never been a big Apple fan. My two major stints using Apple products - once while working in the Caltech DNA sequencing lab four years ago, and another stint working in a university computing center three years ago - were not exactly positive. Sure, Marathon
was a halfway decent Doom substitute when no PCs were immediate available, but Warcraft 2 with a one button mouse was just an exercise in frustration. As for other games, there was Escape Velocity
, but after playing a lot of Wing Commander: Privateer, I just didn't see too much appeal in playing a ripoff with a much less fun, Asteroids-like interface. So sue me, flame me to hell, subscribe me to Guy Kawasaki's evangelist mailing list, whatever. I'm not an Apple fan. But I still made the trip out to MacWorld yesterday with Terence and Sam (the Gamers.com Mac editor). My main intention was to check out the latest with Bungie's Oni and Halo. Little did I know that I'd end up sitting through much of Steve Jobs' keynote with rapt attention.
It's Jobs' world - we're just living in it
Apple chief Steve Jobs always manages to create a spectacle at his convention keynote addresses. The raucous adulation of his fans, the humorous, thinly veiled jabs at the Wintel platform, and the occasional surprise appearance (Two years ago, Bill Gates coming to the rescue of a beleaguered Apple, and more recently, Noah Wyle, who played a younger Jobs in the TNT movie "Pirates of the Silicon Valley.") all help kickoff the celebration of Apple related products at MacWorld. Not that he needs the help. Jobs is a dynamic, charismatic, and almost mesmerizing speaker. Cynics might say that it wouldn't take much for him to dazzle the rabidly loyal legions of Apple users, but even to this jaded Windows user, Jobs' two hour+ filibuster was fairly compelling.
Indeed, looking and listening to Apple's latest products, I must admit that the company has pulled themselves out of the quagmire they fell into before Jobs arrived back on the scene. Back then, I could honestly see very little reason why anyone would prefer an Apple product to PC. That's all changed now. From a general consumer standpoint, Apple is a strong brand, and there are a lot of legitimate reasons why someone would want to buy their wares (by legitimate, we mean aside from the translucent pastels being so cute). Yes, to a hardcore gamer, the jury is still out. But looking at Apple's major product line with an open mind reveals that Apple's resurgence is anything but a lot of smoke and mirrors (and colored plastic).