MacWorld Expo San Francisco

For the about 15th year or more in a row, I attended MacWorld Expo this week in San Francisco. It’s the one show that I haven’t missed in a long time. As a fanboy of all that is Apple, this show is the like the gathering of the faithful. It’s also the time of the year where I catch up with people I know, like Scott Gaidano, who owns Drivesavers, and Mark James, CEO of SoftRAID. This year, I attended both Tuesday and Wednesday, with Tuesday being Steve Jobs’ Keynote speech.

I arrived Tuesday morning around 10:30 with a barcode that showed that I have pre-registered. Usually, the show is in Moscone Center, North and South hall. This year, they decided to do it in South and the new West hall. Unfortunately, the registration and the keynote speech were both at the West hall. When I arrived, the keynote speech was still going on and for the stupidest reasons, they decided to keep the doors locked until it was done. That means people who pre-registered or those who want to register had to wait outside the building on the sidewalk until the speech was done. It didn’t help the fact that it was one of the coldest morning San Francisco that I can remember. Everyone was grumbling. It was a total waste of people’s time.

When the door finally opened near 11 AM, flood of people rushed in to get in line to get their badges. The picture above shows the chaos that followed. My friend Stephanie and I got in line and luckily we got our badge in less than 30 minutes.

The show was interesting and filled with innovative products. The first item I was drawn to was MacBook Air, one of the thinnest notebook ever.

My first impression was a “wow”. It’s a sheer genius to design a product like that. However, as I learned more about it, the notebook lost some of the luster. The biggest problem I see is the sealed battery. Users can not change the battery! That is a serious issue. Despite a generous 5 hours per charge, what happens when you run out of juice? You have to find a plug. Not only that, once the battery dies, you can’t just buy a new one and put it in. You have to bring it in for a repair, just to change the battery! Serious design flaw there. Other than that, there are a lot to like about it, full size keyboard, 13.3” screen, light weight, option for Solid State Drive (SSD), etc.

Other products that was announced weren’t as exciting. The TimeCapsule was intriguing because of the price. It’s not a RAID system so I am not sure if I would trust it with the data but it does have 802.11n and since it’s wireless, it’s convenient.

I was hoping for a upgrade to the iphone or a mid level system between MacMini and the MacPro. I like my iMac but I would love a system where I can upgrade a bit better. Also missing was any kind of announcement to support Bluray drives. HD video camcorders are everywhere but I can’t edit or burn to disc my movies to show on TV. They need to support some kind of HD discs soon.

Other products that interested me were some new products I have never seen before. Like these keyboards.

The first allows you to type with just one hand. Other one lets you adjust the angle of the split keyboard for comfort.

On the photo/video area. They were selling this lightbox but included was a software that allowed users to adjust the pictures taken with the device.

The software was easy to use and many of the Photoshop functions were done with just one click. Not too bad at around $250.

Another product was the chroma background for real time background replacement for videos. Software included.

Another interesting product was a software that allows you to print a 3D picture that was pretty impressive. You print the picture, then you put this plastic sheet in front and when you move the picture, you see a different angle of the subject. It was interesting to me with many possible applications.

Another product, wireless speakers. Well, sort of. It’s a wireless device that connects you from the source of the music to the speakers. It’s a small device that you connect at both ends. This could be interesting since rear speakers for the surround sound can be a hassle to connect up the wires.

Here are pictures of other products I saw there.

Overall, it’s the biggest MacWorld in years but I didn’t see any revolutionary products there. Maybe next year.

On January 19, 2008, posted in: Uncategorized by
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