While welcoming the appearance of the G4 Cube, some are concerned that its launch has made Apple’s product strategy less clear.
Design boon Bryan Speece, director of marketing at 3dfx, said: "The G4 Cube is an excellent machine, the launch of multiprocessing G4s makes it clear that Apple wants to capture more market share in the high-end, Silicon Graphics 3D and design space." He added: "The main challenge I see is that its all-in-one USB, power and video cable seems to limit consumers to using Apple monitors."
Stephen Hawkins, of UK dealer AM Micro, said: "I think the G4 Cube will offer serious opportunities for peripheral manufacturers - some sort of adaptor is definitely on the cards. The price is impressive - if you design computers you can see that it’s a stunning piece of kit."
UK dealer, Gareth Doyle of MacLine, said: "The G4 Cube is good. The new iMacs are quite disappointing, excepting the entry-level price. It’s a shame we didn’t see a new PowerBook, but I think it’s possible they are holding this back for some reason, perhaps for Apple Expo, Paris."
Apple Store exclusive Doyle took issue with Apple over one element of the G4 Cube strategy, he said: "It’s an incredible shame they are only distributing one G4 Cube through the dealerships. Apple has been very smart here, they are getting an incredibly good buzz."
"The G4 Cube is Apple’s gentle move to put a Mac in every living room", said James Druckrey, president of harman multimedia. "I think the G4 Cube is the most beautiful industrial design I’ve ever seen in the computer industry," he added.
Carrie Hazard, of software publishers, Radialogic, was enthusiastic about iMac. She said: "The new colours are great, and the SoundSticks are fantastic." Expo-attendee Alice Bentley was impressed by all Apple’s announcements, bar the Snow iMac. She said: "I don’t like it. It lacks the impact of Graphite, it’s not really a domestic machine."
Competition Antonio Tejada, a Mac technical support volunteer, felt: "The new mouse and keyboard are good - but, for a few dollars more, you can buy Microsoft’s three-button Intellimouse."
Stall holders are enjoying busy traffic at the Expo. "I haven’t had lunch for two days," said Adrian Burton of eMedia, "It’s been so busy we didn’t even know about the G4 Cube till today. People are looking, asking questions, and buying."
"We’ve had so much traffic," said a MacSoft employee, who confirmed that games were being snapped up by attendees, particularly the Sims, Driver and Asteroids. He also mentioned the emergence of an older breed of gamer at the show, buying titles such as Westlake Interactive’s port of Scrabble.
Aspyr Media’s Brandon Owens said: "We are very busy." Pointing out the interest being shown in the Macworld launched Deus Ex title. Synthetik Software told us that Studio Artist - their image synthezising and paint application - is enjoying excellent reactions.
Crowded out Pradnya Goil, harman multimedia’s PR consultant, claimed: "After the keynote, Jonathan Ive and Steve Jobs came over to look at the SoundSticks, it was so busy here that they couldn’t even get into the stand." harman’s stand continues to be mobbed.
FileMaker, Macromedia, Microsoft and Adobe, have constant crowds at their stands, with visitors asking questions and enjoying rolling product demonstrations. Apple’s huge stand is never silent, with thousands queuing to gain a glance at the G4 Cube. US TV stations are giving the company heavy coverage. Thursday’s New York Times described the "Wow" factor, expressed by Expo attendees in praise of Apple’s machine.
The Expo is gaining heavy coverage on the Web, primarily from Mac-focused sites, but also from PC-orientated news services, such as Cnet and ZDNet. Attention has also come from major mainstream news channels worldwide, such as silicon.com and BBC online.
Friday is the final day of Macworld Expo, stay tuned to Macworld online for more news, as it emerges.