12 Jan 2005
Mac fanatics must still be on a high from yesterday’s MacWorld. Mac mini seems, as others have said, the ideal computer to buy for your parents (the optional upgrades are expensive though); iPod shuffle is limited but tempting even just as a USB drive; iLife gets better and better; iWork’s Pages is a daring thumbed-nose in Microsoft’s direction (without actually going directly up against Word) and Keynote alone must be making many businesses consider introducing Macs.
Today I was passing through Oxford Circus on the tube and surfaced briefly to visit the Regent Street Apple Store. It’s been open a while now and I was interested in seeing how people are responding and using it.
Firstly, the feeling of open space as you walk in from the street is refreshing, but the empty area around the entrance combined with the art gallery ambience will prove a little daunting for some. It seemed reasonably busy for a mid-week morning, with up to half the products on display in use and short queues for the Genius Bar and tills.
I had a snoop through the browser history on a couple of laptops; lots of webmail and searches for tsunami news. In the theatre area upstairs most of the ‘audience’ was using PowerBooks to message and browse (free Wi-Fi?). The whole place is definitely doubling as a free cybercafé.
A bloke at an iMac was intensely browsing a web site and occasionally making notes, seemingly a web developer testing his work in Safari. Another stood petrified for some time before tentatively extending a finger towards the touchpad of an iBook.
Unsurprisingly (given the pre-launch secrecy), there was no sign yet of the new products, and I noticed a few disappointed/bemused people asking staff. A group of teenagers walked out muttering “waste of time” and “that’s shit!”.