Macworld Expo San Francisco saw Apple introduce the new iPod mini; a new iLife suite, featuring music app GarageBand; and a family of G5-based Xserves.
However, some keynote attendees were disappointed at the lack of new or upgraded Mac systems, and the Macworld forum was hot with discussion on the same issue.
Other resellers found the announcements more encouraging. Gordon Harwood Computer's Peter Clay said: "It is great news that Apple has upgraded iLife. iLife is one of the best things that Apple has ever done. It is a cheap application that dissolves the myth that Macs are just used by designers. It has given Macs mass appeal, and will hopefully convert into more Mac sales for us."
Clay is resigned to the fact that the once-free iLife suite will from now carry a price tag: "Apple couldn't carry on giving iLife away for free. The applications have got bigger and better, and are now probably getting to the point where even iPhoto and iMovie are too big to download. It's worth paying £33 for iLife just for the new GarageBand application alone."
HP move 'brilliant' Jonathan Cole, managing director of Computer Warehouse, loved the iPod mini's ultra-portable form factor", and called it a "great product".
"I thought the enhancements to iLife were good, and GarageBand is a great idea. I felt the most significant announcement of the week, however, was the HP iPod announcement. This is a real breakthrough for Apple because it will mean that 20 per cent of computers shipped will have iTunes on it – a brilliant move!" added Cole.
Computer Warehouse is running a competition to give away one of Apple's new iPod Minis. Entrants need only state which colour they prefer.
Mini marvels Clay was also pleased with iPod minis: "The iPod is great for promoting Apple. We make no real margin on it but it gets Windows users to recognise Apple."
Clay added: "It is nice to see a cheaper iPod option even if it is only £50 less than the 15GB iPod. iPods will continue to fly of the shelves, they always do, even though they are expensive."
His only grumble is that by producing the iPod mini in five colours, Apple has ensured that resellers will need to keep more models in stock: "It means that we have to stock more to ensure that we have the colour the consumer wants – you can guarantee that the one they want will have sold out," he joked.
iPod's mini adventure Some resellers are doubtful that Apple will realize its goal of capturing market share from the 31 per cent of the MP3 player market taken by Flash-memory based music players with the iPod mini.
CoolMac's director Narinder Chandi said: "iPod mini is interesting but we expected a lower price point. £50 less would probably be more attractive to consumers. At the current price I don't think that it will sell as well as the existing iPods – the entry-level 15GB iPod is only £50 more.
As for the UK price being so much higher than the US price, Chandi said: "That is a perennial problem with hardware pricing, exaggerated by currency fluctuations – the dollar has declined significantly over the last few months."
Price quandary This sentiment was echoed by Apple vice president Greg Joswiak who said that the price announcement was "subject to change" and that the company would settle on a UK price "closer to the availability date, simply because of the volatility of the currency exchange".
Joswiak told journalists gathered at Macworld: "What we don't want to do is lock Europe into a price now, see the dollar continue to weaken, and have done all of ourselves a disservice by pricing too early."
The news about the Xserve G5 went down well with some UK resellers. For Rapid Group sales director Garrett Doyle the announcement that Xserves would now be shipping with G5 processors was the "best news to come out of the Expo". He added: "It is what our customers have been waiting for."
CoolMac's Chandi agreed: "The Xserve G5 is very exciting." But he added: "The rest of the announcements were rather lacklustre. With it being the 20th anniversary of the Mac we expected something special.
"Perhaps there will be a 20th anniversary Mac announcement later in the year. It's early days," said Clay.