So Apple has taken the rare step of announcing it's not going to update its range by the end of this year. It's done this because the rumors have been floating around for so long - people were expecting a new iMac and a new Mac Mini to come out as early as next week. Apple has decided enough of this tittle-tattle is enough and it's quashed the reports, period. The holiday season's range is set.
I'm actually quite pleased about this. Let's leave the product alone (we all know it's very pretty, OK, and it has a lot of fans including me). One of Apple's massive strengths is that it's a marketing wonder. Steve Jobs walks onto a stage and people applaud. He unveils new product and people gasp. The iPhone, at least the 3G version, was a sensation. Previously there have been tiny iPods that could hold loads of music - an impressive development. There were also desktop systems that looked really stylish and had loads of technical bangs to the buck.
My problem with Apple is frankly with the last launch. New laptops are of course welcome, often, but I'm hard-pushed to work out exactly what the problem was with the old ones this time around. And yaaay, we have iPods...in new colors. Well, OK, they've given the iPods a respray. For this the journalists came out of hiding and attended what was billed as a major launch?
We now come to next week's non-announcement. There will be no new iMac, at least until January (I'm basing that date only on the idea that Apple has set its products for 2008 - I have no idea whether there's anything coming in early 2009). I look at my year old iMac and something occurs to me.
It isn't broken. It works. It looks good. There is no need to replace this model.
I have to grant you, this is a dangerous attitude that would undermine the very existence of the computer industry. People need to renew their boxes every other year or so or else the whole system is in danger of collapse, and as any American knows, 'the system could collapse' is less of an idle threat than it used to be.
Nonetheless, this latest announcement seems to indicate - maybe because of the economic climate, maybe because of green concerns, maybe because of a bunch of other stuff - that Apple isn't going to release some product simply because it can, or because it believes its customers are schmucks who'll buy something for hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a fashion statement.
I applaud it. I'd like to see fewer announcements from Apple and indeed others over the next 12 months. I'd even suggest that a resprayed iPod isn't actually much of an announcement.
Details of the announcement (or non-announcement if you prefer) are here.
P. S. It hasn't escaped our attention this side of the pond that America has a little election happening today. In the past, a number of British journalists have tried to influence the result - one newspaper over here tried in 2004 to get its readers to write letters to people in swing States to get people not to vote for Bush. The reaction was understandably hostile. I wouldn't dream of doing anything like that, but would hope voters will be sensitive to the fact that as well as your own nation the President will influence the lives of just about everyone else in the world. I hope you'll make your decisions based on this as well as localised concerns. Good luck with the new guy, whichever it is.