Reactions to the new iMacs at the PC World Croydon Macworld Expo Tokyo beamback were mixed – punters were happy to see the inclusion of a new CD-RW drive in the Cube and select iMacs, but were unsure that the two new iMac colours would be successful.
Mary Branscombe, senior editor of AOL Technology and Computing, said: "The iMacs are very nice and colourful, but about a year too late. Apple is including things that they've forgotten to do. Leaving it this long is an indication that it has got it wrong."
This view was echoed by an anonymous industry source who said: "I am very disappointed with the CD-RW drives. They are good but a natural progression that Apple should have introduced earlier.
"The iMac has peaked and fallen away, and I am dubious whether these new products will re-energize the group. Despite that, they are good value for money.
"Apple is not as innovative as it was. I would rather they had spent the money on improving speed than to come up with those colours. I do not think these will sell. This seems like a last ditch attempt to liven up the brand. I don't see any radical changes."
Missing G4 Maneesh Patel, a director at Mygate , said: "I would have liked to have seen the G4 chip feature in the high-end iMacs. We are happy that all iMacs now sell with a CD-RW." Mygate will be announcing future software and peripheral bundles with the new iMacs.
The launch of the new iMacs met many of the show-goer's anticipations. Hallmark designer Steve Smith said: "I am here to see the keynote. I am also expecting new stuff tonight after the amazing January releases. I have a Power Mac 5300c, one of the first Power Macs. If I saw a new iMac tonight, I would be prepared to part with my credit card for one. Apple has a pretty amazing range at the moment."
Similarly IT administrator Diego Inconelli commented: "I've come to Croydon to check out new hardware, Apple has had a bad quarter, and I want to see what they are going to do to pick things up. The last update to iMacs was July 2000 - about nine months ago."
Read Macworld's iMac Flower Power with CD-RW for more on the new product releases.
Apple branding The event also unveiled PC World's Mac Ecosystem - an environment where Apple products are placed together, so customers can find Mac applications in the same place.
Apple's PR officer David Millar said: "People are quite impressed that they are seeing Macs in this environment. The atmosphere is very good and customers appreciate a chance to come in and meet folk from Apple. People invest so much time in the Mac market, but they don't often get to see the products that soon after their launch."
"It was a win-win situation for everyone," Simon Turner, PC World's managing director, told Macworld. "Apple and ourselves wanted to create an environment that's more than just units of PC hardware. The Ecosystem brings the lot together, a better experience for the Mac customer - it's what the Mac community is about."
There are plans to roll out the Ecosystem to ten stores in London. Turner added: "I thought the event was very positive. We provided a platform for the Jobs announcement to a loyal Apple community."
The PC World event, attended by over 300 people, saw PC World take over £20,000 in sales. Turner said: "Apple has always stood for innovation, technology and design. The industry desperately needs that at the moment in the face of declining PC sales. Apple has a knack of coming up with what customers want."