Apple Picking Season

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CBS/iStockphoto
Now that Fall is here, intrepid weekend travelers in the Northeast wander the woods for apple picking time. Ah, the smell of falling leaves and branches of fruit hanging down. So as my wife, the kids, and all our friends go out "fruiting," I'm pretending to be sick at home doing a little "Apple picking" of my own. The Apples I've picked up are from the nice people in Cupertino, Calif., home of the Macintosh.

Power Mac G5
This is the pick of the season. We've started calling it the Cheese grater because frankly, the perforated metal face (which helps to keep it cool) gives it an industrial and somewhat "grating" appearance.

This is the most powerful Apple ever, with a 5th generation Power PC processor made by IBM running at speeds of up to 2.0 gigahertz. Now before PC-philes get into the whole "megahertz" debate, remember, these are not the same chips that are powering Windows computers, so comparing the two is like comparing apples and, yes, oranges. This translates into performance that smokes the Wintel competition, easily handling computationally challenging programs, such as video editing, DVD creation, etc. The Power Mac G5 comes with a sublimely new Airport Extreme 802.11g wireless connection card, which is about five times as a fast as your old 802.11b card. Add to that the super-fast FireWire 800 and 2 USB 2.0 ports so you can connect it to video cameras, printers, and just about everything else.

The unit is sleek, and even though it's cooled by nine – count 'em, nine – fans, it's remarkably quiet. We just love it. The Power Mac G5 starts at $1,999 and goes up to over three grand for the dual-processor mamajama, which we would love trying to justify on our expense reports.

Bluetooth Keyboard and Mouse
I've not been much of a fan for Bluetooth devices, noting their wimpy range and uncertain connectivity. But Apple has introduced a functional and sleek line of Bluetooth keyboards and mice. At $69 each, they sure clean up the wires all over my otherwise stylish Apple-laden desk. If you have an older Mac, you can stick a Bluetooth dongle into your USB port (sounds obscene, doesn't it?) and enjoy the same performance.

15-inch Aluminum Powerbook G4
This is the flagship of Apple's redesigned portable line. Gone is the titanium notebook, complete with its peeling paint and easily scratchable surface. In its place is an all anodized aluminum beauty that can take as many knocks as it gets second glances.

Like its 17-inch brother, the 15" Powerbook features backlit keys which auto adjusts for ambient room light… and we like it. Like its titanium predecessor, it's a only an inch thick, but feels more solid… and we are not giving it back.

The base price $1,999 for the 1 Ghz machine with DVD/CD-RW combo drive. But I would spring for the faster 1.25 Ghz chip and the Superdrive that lets you burn DVDs as well as CDs, because I will be using this bad boy for editing and sharing videos and photographs. They also have a 12-inch version (base price $1,599) and a 17-inch monster (starting at $2599) As for the 17-inch monster, I tried to love it, but it was too big for me.

iSight camera and iChat DV software
As for new software from our (Steve) Jobsian friends, iChat is the latest attempt at two way videoconferencing. Well, more than an attempt, this video conferencing technology is clean, works clearly, and seamlessly allows two way chats in near-television-quality over a broadband internet connection. Like everything Apple does, the iSight camera is beautiful, expensive, and works really well. The camera is $149 and the iChat DV software is currently free beta software but will cost $30 at the end of October. It will be free, if you upgrade your operating system to the upcoming version 10.3, codename: Panther.

New iPods
We've talked so much about these, you could probably download our praise from the iTunes Music Store. The newest iPods come in 10 gb (can hold 2,500 songs for $299), 20 gig (5000 songs for $399), and the whopping 40 gb (10,000 songs – do you even have that many? – for $499). It's a shame you can store so much music on these iPods, because I'm spending my kids college fund (don't tell my wife) downloading music from Apple's music store. The great part is that songs are just 99 cents each, I'm not stealing them from anybody, and it is so easy to find the music I'm looking for in the iTunes Music Store.

Now for those of you wondering about that huge 23-inch flat panel cinema display you saw on our TV segment, that's the 23-inch Flat Panel Cinema Display. It's so beautiful, there aren't enough words to describe it. But if you tried, and received a dollar for every word, you still couldn't afford it. It's $1,999. I'm pawning my children.
By Daniel Dubno and Bob Bicknell