Every year around this time, the chief kahuna of Apple, Steve Jobs, delivers the keynote address at the Macworld Expo. This is a big deal for the world of Apple, because here is where the company's most significant, transformational announcements are made. For example, this is where the iPhone was first introduced last year.
At Macworld, the Apple faithful hang on Steve's every word, enveloped in the now-legendary Reality Distortion Field that turns otherwise ordinary folks into unabashed cheerleaders for the brand. Whatever new stuff Steve announces, it'll be the coolest thing ever, and they'll gladly line up ten deep to buy it.
To wit, the headlines from this year's keynote reveal a great deal of collective slobbering over a new ultra-small laptop known as the MacBook Air. It's super thin, super light and super sexy looking. Macphiles are already contemplating selling their firstborn to get one. FWIW, I want one, too.
Despite the fact that Steve announced a bunch of other stuff, the mainstream media is patently unable to take its eyes off the new uber-laptop. Many outlets are leading with this story (soldiers are dying, the economy's tanking but, hey, Apple released a new computer...don't get me started.)
They'd do well to rethink their sense of priorities. As sexy as the MacBook Air is, it isn't the big news. At the end of the day, it's a lovely machine. But like all lovely machines, it'll soon be forgotten as newer lovelier machines are introduced. The real news lies in Apple's deal with six major Hollywood studios to rent movies through iTunes.
More than a merely evolutionary machine, the movie deal potentially spells the beginning of the end for the neighborhood video store. Apple's been slowly building its iTunes world for a number of years, starting with music downloads and evolving into all media types, and this is the latest step toward iTunes ubiquity. The goal: renting movies through your TV running iTunes and controllable through a regular old remote control. It's coming, and Apple wants to lead the charge. Someday, when you're wondering when the tide began to shift away from conventional movie rentals, remember this date.
I'm barking into the wind on this, of course. Everyone's too blinded by the lovely laptop. For now, I'll be over here. Alone.
Your turn: Why do cool machines always seem to overshadow shifts in culture?
One more thing: As they're made available online, I'll post a few media links as updates to this entry. I've been yakking again. Here they are:
- BetaNews - Analysts: MacBook Air will score with Windows and Mac users. Byline Jacqueline Emigh.