Apple introduced a trio of new notebook computers and a new 24″ LCD display monitor yesterday, and judging by reader reactions in the Apple blogosphere, the company kept alive its multiyear, unbroken streak of failing to be all things to all people.
Steve Jobs gave ample stage time to Apple design chief Jony Ive, who pulled back the curtain on the company’s design and manufacturing processes to try and impress the assembled media with Apple’s industry-leading, visionary thinking about laptop design and production.
Much of the discussion at the event centered around “under-the-hood” improvements to the new Macs’ graphic display processors (Nvidia GeForce 9400M and 9600M) and to the increasingly fine distinctions between Apple’s “Pro” line of MacBooks and those geared toward average consumers. In a nutshell, consumers are expected to make do with smaller display screens and no Firewire.
Toward the end of the event, Jobs showed an illustrative documentary about the new manufacturing and machining processes, which build the notebook cases out of solid blocks of “environmentally responsible” aluminum in a manner that VP of Product Design Dan Riccio described as “kinda like how you make pasta.”
In all, the presentation seemed designed to let people know, in Ive’s words, “how much we care.”
But do Apple’s customers care how much the company cares? Follow the jump for some choice user comments on the company’s latest offerings.
“I am the only person waiting feverishly outside the Apple Store. I am such a weinie,” wrote a MacRumors user in Newark, NJ this morning.
While my colleague Pete Mortensen was both guarded and effusive in his praise for Apple’s new offerings – he called the new MacBook family “incredible” but also said “there are … puzzlements” – the biggest gripe users seem to have is the lack of a matte screen option across the entire new product line.
“Those new glossy screens are not a smart idea for a lot of people. Sitting at the airport trying to read one of those is going to be a challenge,” wrote one Cult of Mac commenter, and “The lack of a matte screen option is actually a deal-breaker for me,” says another.
“New MacBook Family Shows Apple Doesn’t Care About Mac Users” was a suggested revision to the title of Pete’s analysis and one MacRumors forum user said, “I am thinking a dell or hp at this point in time…”
Losing Firewire on the MacBook consumer line seems like a slap in the face to some, though it’s likely people will learn to deal with it, as user Scott told us, “I’m very sad about that”¦but that just means when I get a new laptop I have to get a MBP”¦because I use firewire hard drives and EyeTV”¦but I have usb drives and usb EyeTV I can use”¦so its a toss up”¦”
By far the most controversial development yesterday appears to be Apple’s introduction of the Mini DisplayPort and the fact that the new 24″ LCD Cinema Displays connect only to them. Mortensen calls Apple’s choice “bizarre” and is already pining for Mini DisplayPort-to-HDMI and Mini DisplayPort-to-DisplayPort converters. “This new display port [is] crap”¦how many different adapters am I going to have to buy?” wonders one commenter, and another writes, “the Mini DisplayPort is ridiculous. I still want one.”
There is always a vocal portion of the Apple community who complain bitterly about anything new from the company. Because Apple has been so successful in the past, people have incredibly high expectations and every time Steve Jobs doesn’t introduce a device that will clean your clock and buff your shoes and pack you a nice healthy lunch, people are let down.
The reality, illustrated by Apple’s little production documentary and Ive’s impassioned description of his love for the “insides” of the computers he designs, is that the company is unbelievably forward-looking and continues to run circles around the competition.
As Cult of Mac commenter deocliciano put it, “You gotta love them for being risky! People most of time does NOT know what is good for them! I want SHEAR power!”