Highs & Lows in Apple Land 2006

With 2006 drawing to a close very soon, I thought it would be nice to share with you my thoughts on the Highs and Lows in the world of Apple over the past year.

There has been so many positive things for us all to enjoy, that I think I will get the few 'Lows' out of the way first, starting with Microsoft's Media Player for Mac. I know a lot of users hated it, but at least if Microsoft had kept developing it may have turned into something worthwhile. Flip4Mac has filled the gap with support for playing Windows Media files from within Quicktime, so all is not lost.

The stock options fiasco for many companies, found its way over to Apple, with them doing their own investigation. This has since come to the news pages again, with the Financial Times reporting that Steve Jobs himself "was handed 7.5m stock options in 2001 without the required authorisation from the company’s board of directors, according to people familiar with the matter." Let us hope that Apple sort things out and get back on the straight and narrow for 2007.

The PowerPC is no more and whilst many are singing praise of the new Intel based Macs, many were raged at the end of the PowerPC chips. I suppose this can be put down to a comfort-zone, where we became so at-one with the G5 and G4 range of Macs that change scared a lot of people (myself included).

On a more positive note, so many good things happened for us all in 2006, to start with the release of new iMacs, MacBooks, and MacBook Pros. Yes, at first I was scared about the move to Intel, but these new models that sport the Intel Core Duo (and now the Core2Duo) chip are fantastic. The MacBook Pro was just an update with a processor change, the iMac much the same, but the new MacBook is really cool. It offers a nice form-factor, excellent performance, built-in iSight and much more besides. It makes me really look forward to what Apple might do next with the MacBook Pro, maybe a redesign is on the cards.

Parallels, Boot Camp and VMWare just made my day. These new software technologies allow you to run Windows and/or Windows applications on your Mac. Each solution takes a slightly different approach, but the end result is pretty much the same. For myself, I do not need to or intend to run Windows on my Mac, I am more than happy with OS X, but for those that would not consider a Mac because they need to run a particular Windows application, well now they have no excuse... which leads me nicely to my next comment.

Apple are selling more Macs than ever, which I think is really a lot to do with the switch to Intel processors. MacBook sales alone are going really well, with this keenly priced 13.3-inch laptop finding its way into many peoples homes. The whole range of Macs has now transitioned over to the Intel processor and this leaves 2007 open for some very interesting new releases and updates.

Adobe is coming along nicely too, with Universal versions of Acrobat and just recently the beta version of PhotoShop CS3. Earlier in the year Quark gave us a Universal version of Xpress, so the main design applications can now really run at full speed. The software transition really has been smooth, with nothing really for anyone to complain about.

2007 is going to be good, we can expect the next version of the OS (Leopard) in January, possibly accompanied by a new iPod, maybe an updated Mac Mini and later in the year the much rumoured Apple mobile phone, iTV, and hopefully some sort of touch screen based portable Mac. Wow, what a year 2006 has been, and what a year we have to look forward too in 2007. Thanks Apple, and thanks Steve.