Tuesday, January 09, 2007

CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2007 - what has my attention.

This is a huge week in consumer electronics, with both the 2007 CES (Consumer Electronics Show) going on in Vegas, and the Macworld event in San Francisco.

The main device announced this week that everyone seems focused on is Apple's "i-Phone". I have seen it in action only on TV, since I did not attend the Apple event. From what I have seen, I must admit, it really looks to be near the pinnacle of gadget perfection. With a color touchscreen and a wonderfully well thought out user interface that makes great use of the touchscreen abilities, it is sure to be a hit even at the somewhat high $499.00 USD suggested retail.

Apple really does seem to be executing quite well in the design and usability arena. Their products end up with nearly a cult-like following, and their stock price reflects the expectations that the i-Phone further up the ante for Apple's competition. Today alone the price over $7.00 (8%!) on the news of the i-Phone and Apple-TV announcements. The user interface on this i-Phone looks nothing short of stunning in all the demonstrations today, which certainly is having an effect of investors. Apple knows how to get publicity too -- nearly every major news program had segments on this release of the i-Phone, and that is one hell of a lot of free publicity!

And, back at the CES event, there was even Apple related news, with another company called Axiotron announcing the first true Mac Tablet computer. This company is founded by a former manager from Apple. Of definite note (to me) is the wonderfully large 13.3" pen-input display, that can be used for all sorts of applications on the machine that runs OS-X (Tiger):
"The Axiotron ModBook enables its user to draw and write directly on the screen, while the handwriting recognition built into Mac OS X Tiger not only turns hand scribbles into text in every application, but also provides extended control of the system through gesture recognition,"
By comparison, news over on the PC side of things is a bit odd to say the least. Well, I say this because of a quote from Michael Dell (Dell Computers), where he states:
that "customer imagination" would be the most important driver for innovation during the year.
And, then Dell (the company) goes on to make announcements like this one:
At the center of Dell's product announcements at CES is the XPS 710 H2C. The $5,499 system is engineered to bring peak performance to gaming applications. Among the features it an innovative two-stage cooling process using a liquid-to-heat exchanger.
I'm sorry, but I was already having a hard time accepting the $500 price tag of an i-Phone, which is seriously cool, and now Dell starts talking about a killer game-PC that will cost you a third of the price of a low-end car!! Ouch dude! I like games, but really, how many (psycho) gamers are going to spend that amount of money just to have a machine that will be obsoleted by yet another Intel upgrade cycle of quad-core or eight-core or whatever CPUs in the coming months/year?

I haven't seen too much software-related news creeping out of these shows yet, though certainly Microsoft's Vista (next-generation OS) is due out quite soon, and the next release of Mac OS-X may well be announced this week too.

There have been plenty of large-screen TVs being shown on the news, and all sorts of multimedia gadgetry to go ape over if you are into that stuff. My biggest beef with nearly all of this stuff is how it has become bascially "throw away", since hardly any of it can be meaningfully upgraded -- meaning, if you purchased the last version of something, don't count on an upgrade to make your MP3 player an i-Phone or such. Not happening! And, don't think that this wave of consumable electronics (oh, I mean "consumer" electronics) is any different. Get that wallet ready to open over and over and over. Thankfully, I bypassed the entire first few waves of phone and music player gadgetry, and this new i-Phone may just finally be the one to get me. Or, maybe not :)

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