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Never mind that Apple Computer Corp. posted a $247 million loss for its first fiscal quarter (compared to a year ago, when it earned $183 million), according to The New York Times. That didn’t deter the faithful from mobbing San Francisco’s Moscone Center last month for the annual Macworld Conference and Expo, where the always-charismatic Steve Jobs offered his annual keynote monologue — and introduced a basket full of new products that he hopes will swing things around. Among them: 1) a one-inch thick Titanium G4 PowerBook laptop that he says is even “sexier” (and better performing) than the wildly popular Sony Vaio; 2) a 733 MHz Power Mac G4 desktop with a “SuperDrive” that can burn DVDs (and, he insists — and demo’d — burns rubber over the new Pentium 4 chip); 3) new iTunes software to simplify music collections; and 4) an upgrade of Apple’s professional digital editing software, DVD Studio Pro. Jobs also announced that the long-awaited, fluid UNIX-sympatico new operating system, OS X, will ship on March 24, and begin to be bundled with machines next summer. LEGAL ANGLE? After the 90-minute speech, we pondered the obvious question: What does this have to do with legal? After all, Apple has all but abandoned any efforts to target the legal market, despite its claims that it owns about 9 percent of the small firm crowd. In his talk, he seemed to emphasize Apple’s increasing role in digital photography and video, showing how consumers can easily create iMovies, and with the new desktop SuperDrive, burn them onto CDs — and even DVDs — at lightening fast speed. In the past, reproduction typically took about 24x, so it would take a day to copy an hour of video. But the new equipment can burn at a 2x rate — this means a half-hour tape can be duplicated in an hour.) That’s when we all had a Helen Keller moment. There’s one application that seems an absolute natural for Apple: litigation support. In my past life, I was (albeit briefly) a plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyer at a San Francisco law firm that handled plane and car crash cases, among other causes of action. As a bambino attorney, I handled grunt work, including helping with the creation of court exhibits. If I had then owned a set of Apple tools (the SuperDrive G4, a camcorder and/or digital camera, and the iMovie software), I could have saved my firm a ton of money by simply shooting accident sites, and creating viable demonstrative evidence. I could have produced on my own one of those poignant “day in the life” movies essential in good plaintiffs’ cases — evidence that in the past had to be outsourced for big bucks. What a concept! After Jobs’ speech I checked into the latest gossip on the MacLaw listserv, and guess what everybody was talking about. Yup. Seattle’s Herman Wacker suggested that Mac tools could also could be used to produce client education videos, something he found too expensive to outsource. “Now I am thinking I could self-produce and publish it with iMovie,” he proposed. Daniel Dobkin of Great Neck, N.Y., suggested completing films in Quicktime video, and then burning CDs. “We all know juries virtually require graphics for effective litigation,” concurred Victoria Herring, a Des Moines, Iowa solo. “And the main dividing line is cost and price. If a solo with a Mac can do a good product, and display it via a Mac and CD in the courtroom, that solo can be as good as any humongous law firm,” she said. “I think we should spread this news to our litigating friends,” said Herring. “There’s a whole untapped market once they open their eyes to the possibilility that they can add a Mac, etc., to their office equipment and be more efficient,” she concluded.

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