Apple’s MacWorld 2004 Keynote

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We stayed home this year; Michael’s book isn’t out yet, and I start teaching next week, and realllly want to finish a few chapters first, so we watched the keynote from home. And one of the most impressive things was the fact that we could. We’re on DSL, but we sat in front of a 12 inch dual USB iBooks, and thanks to Akamai and Apple, and the magic of QuickTime and MPEG4, it was pretty much like watching TV. Not a single real drop out, and you know, we can’t even say that about cable. I noticed Steve Jobs said that there were over 60K viewers watching the stream, and over a 100 countries. Pretty cool. I could teach like that, if I could also interact with my students via iChat AV.

I’m happy about the new G5 servers and new Xserv RAID boxes; I’d like to play with one of each. But the iLife ’04 news is very good, and not just because it might mean more work for me on books. I’m very happy Apple kept the price down; $49.00 is a steal, even for just one of the iLife apps; at $49.00 for all five, that’s less then $10.00 each, as the spouse points out. The educational price, $29.00, is a price students can afford, and the family package (install iLife ’04 on up to five family members computers) at $79.00 is a fantastic deal. I very much want to play with GarageBand. I can see lots of potential for teaching music theory and music appreciation with it. It’s often difficult for non-musicians to understand the underlying structures of a piece of music, the way melody, harmony and rhythm work together, or the way sound from several instruments is “layered.” GarageBand could help with that in several ways, not the least of which would be to have students make their own compositions; nothing explains better than creating some music yourself.

I’m also pleased about the mini iPod; it looks very good, I love the form factor, and the solid state controls, which mean fewer moving parts to wear out. I can see lots of uses for the mini iPod in education (heck I use my first generation one all the time). Get a few mini iPods at the campus library to be used for language lab work, for instance, or to be used for music listening classes, or poetry and drama, or listening to lectures again. You’d want to tag them internally so students wouldn’t forget to give them back, but that’s easy to do. I want to hold a mini iPod in my hand though; that’s the real test. It’d be nice if they came in black . . .