The MacWorld New York Keynote was presented yesterday by Steve Jobs, and I'm not real impressed. Apple's Bluetooth and Rendevous implementations show that they've still got good ideas, and I think their ability to provide an all-in-one solution for 90% of what consumers would like to do with their PCs still makes a Mac the best consumer PC out there, in theory.

There are a few things that didn't sit well with me in reality, however. Apple's move from iTools as a free service that offered email, net-storage, and web space, over to .Mac ("dot Mac") as a $100/year "pay to play" service (with admittedly more features than iTools) with no real middle ground, is a big mistake. Honestly, how much does it cost Apple to serve out 10 megs of web pages per Mac sold or to keep email forwarding turned on? You're paying a premium for your Mac; you should expect premium support. Now that Apple's broken an implicit promise they're going to have to eat a little PR crow.

To the concept that Macs cost a premium, people (incl Jobs at the keynote) said and say, "For a comparable computer in the Windows world you'd have to pay quite a bit more!" Well, sure. If I want a PC that looks like a lamp and burns DVDs I'm going to pay through the nose for some maniac to build me one.

But for a new PC that does exactly what I want it to I'm out all of -- keep my old hard drive and carry the one -- $351 + shipping (and an hour to put it together)! Not to mention the Mac still doesn't have as many apps as Windows, nor is processor performance on par with current Pentium 4's and AMD XP processors. For very specfic uses the G4 is an excellent processor -- editing video, for example. But for, say, programming in Java or even getting good speed with window paints on the desktop we're not quite there [in OS X 10.1.5]. Apple doesn't have the luxury of writing checks it can't cash when it comes to keeping its users feeling like they've been well treated.

Which brings me to my last quick gripe -- $129 for OS X 10.2? Sure, if I'm upgrading from OS 9, but I've got OS X. Why do I want to pay another $129 for "150 brand new features"? Heck, about 100 of those haven't happened yet (the Rendevous demo that allows a networked printer to be used with no configuration is an example) -- or they're features I can't use without shelling out for .Mac. I'm not impressed. At least iTunes 3 is free. But only for OS X.

It's planned obsolescence, "buy or bye", embrace and discard, all for the sake of squeezing dough outta my turnip. It's not new to Mac users, but Apple's getting uncommonly good at it.

Apple's got a good thing. In the interest of keeping in the black, I think Apple might expect its users to not only have Jaguar on the hard drive, but also parked in the driveway.