Keynote Reactions – The Mac on the Street Interviews

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Date: Thursday, July 19th, 2001, 15:43
Category: Archive

Never before have so many predicted so much about a Macworld keynote’s product introductions and been so wrong. So I decided to take to the Macworld floor and gauge attendees’ reactions to Jobs’ keynote yesterday, to see just what the Mac faithful think.

Never before have so many predicted so much about a Macworld keynote’s product introductions and been so wrong. So I decided to take to the Macworld floor and gauge attendees’ reactions to Jobs’ keynote yesterday, to see just what the Mac faithful think.

Randomly cornering a variety of users who were clustered around the Apple booth, I discovered that spirits were actually quite high. Surprisingly, not a single one had seen a keynote in person, even among some veterans of the show. All were impressed with Jobs’ showmanship, and despite disappointment about no new iMac, all were pleased with the news about OS X.

The best moment in the keynote for Jose Seda and Scott Hughes, tech support for the Montgomery County, MD schools? Seeing OS X 10.1 running fast, in contrast to 10.0.x. “X is really slow,” said Seda. He wanted to see a new iMac, but was happy to see a new Power Mac G4.

The new G4 wasn’t earthshaking for many of the people I talked to, but not because of any design shortcomings — for many, new G4s aren’t big news because they just bought the models introduced in January.

“We’re just not blown away by new equipment,” said Bob Fleck, at the College of Imaging Arts & Sciences of the Rochester Institute of Technology. Why not? RIT already just got a shipment of 60 new G4s. Adobe’s demonstrations of its products running under X, however, were good news. “Those are the key that will take us to X,” said Fleck. As for iDVD: “Personally, I can’t wait to get going on the family project.” RIT’s Rob Henderson was disappointed about the lack of a new iMac design, but his colleague Michael Dear said he gives Apple credit for coming out with new products during a rough time for the technology economy.

“I was mainly interested in seeing the showmanship of how [Steve] does it,” said Kee Nethery, CEO of Berkeley, CA-based Kagi, who was attending his first keynote. This keynote was different than other keynotes, however, more “historical” than evangelical. Nethery was surprised that the keynote would spend so much time on the “geekfest” of processor mHz vs. real-world speed, but said he was convinced in the end it was a “good story worth telling.”

So how does a Mac newcomer react to the keynote? “To me, I don’t know a lot about Mac hardware and software,” said Ariella McAbee of Cyber Cando in Morrisville, NC, who attended the keynote with her husband. “Everything seemed awesome. Why would anybody use anything else?”

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