The reaction of UK Mac dealers to Apple CEO Steve Jobs' Macworld Expo product announcements was mixed, ranging from "stunning" to "boring".
Maneesh Patel, Mygate's marketing director, heaped praise on Apple's new G4s. He said: "The G4s are stunning from a price point of view. It's good to see the entry-level machine drop to £1,199. This is a good move."
Patel also praised Apple vice president Phil Schiller's efforts to debunk the so-called megahertz myth, referring to his keynote showdown between the 867MHz Power Mac G4 and a 1.7GHz Pentium 4.
Clean sweep Both chips were demonstrated de-interlacing video, image-cropping, and encoding using Cleaner 5. The Power Mac G4 outperformed the Pentium on each. "The megahertz myth is a key message Apple needs to tell more people," Patel said. The latest G4s are faster, yet cheaper than the fastest Pentiums."
But Patel was disappointed, if unsurprised, that Apple didn't ship an LCD iMac range. Prior to the keynote, gossip columns were rife with chatter of a new iMac design. However, he feels New York may be the calm before the storm: "Apple didn't want to lose the impact of its new G4 announcement with the release of another product, and vice-versa. I also think Apple could be waiting for the prices of flat panels to drop further, before embarking on an LCD iMac launch."
Future iMac Garrett Doyle, managing director, of Macline expressed whole-hearted approval of the announcements, pleased with the simplified G4 line-up. He anticipates an iMac revival, believing flat-panel models are on the horizon.
"The new range of colours will sell better than the Flower Power and Dalmatian iMacs, whose sales were strong but then petered out. But we have seen a revival of iMac sales recently with Apple's free RAM offer.
"I was expecting something different from the keynote. Everyone got caught up in the rumours of LCD iMacs. If they exist, it's important to get it right before they're brought out.
"As a reseller, I was happy with the announcements. I think Apple has controlled the expectations of this announcement, it was what I thought would happen."
But Neil Chapman, Mac&More's sales director, expressed reservations about Apple's latest product innovations. He said: "A lot of people have been waiting to spend money at these announcements.
"We were selling hundreds of iMacs months ago, but not anymore. People were expecting a new iMac to rival Microsoft's X-box and Sony's Playstation. Speed bumps do not sell iMacs."
Warning Chapman advises Apple to focus on the video and general business market. He warned: "The Macintosh is incredible, and what Apple has done is sheer genius. But, Apple is in danger of becoming boring."
He was unimpressed when Jobs chucked a faulty camera off the stage during a failed demonstration. He said: "This is an example of Steve Jobs' arrogance, yet that's the frustration many customers feel when trying to install Mac OS X.
"I get the feeling Apple is not trying to push the products for anyone else apart from itself."
Earnings Other industry pundits felt the keynote was lacklustre. Sanford Bernstein analyst Vadim Zlotnikov said: "There weren't a lot of surprises. The most surprising thing right now is Apple's earnings."
TechTV Web producer Dave Roos lamented that Jobs "pulled out the big guns and wowed the eager crowd with... processor upgrades".
CRN's Russell Redman was more optimistic. Despite saying Jobs "didn't uncork any big surprises on Wednesday's key note", he felt the expo was a fitting platform for Mac OS X - with the announcements of the Mac OS 10.1 update and third-party products Carbonized for the app.
Apple's shares closed last night on the Nasdaq at $20.79, down $4.31 from the previous day's close of $25.10.