Midpoint Report

By Philip Dyer

"I'm exhausted."

This is the reply that has replaced the traditional, "Fine, and you?" when people at this week's Macworld Expo in San Francisco say, "How are you doing?" Oh, I'm not complaining; in fact, this is probably the single most important sign at the show that the Mac is making an incredible comeback. There are so many new products and events to see that show attendees are running themselves ragged trying to make it to all of them. If you will be attending the last two days of the show and want to narrow your search down a bit, check out Macworld's Best of Show Awards to get a list of the must-see products at the Expo.

My overall impressions of the Expo so far: It's the biggest one we've seen in years. It's easily twice as impressive as last year's San Francisco Expo, with more vendors, more new products, and certainly more colorful products than ever before. Apple's pavilion is absolutely huge, and it's been packed since the doors opened Tuesday morning. Even Steve Jobs was milling around the Apple area Tuesday afternoon, shaking hands and getting feedback from awestruck Mac aficionados.

Of course, the big stories so far are the new Yosemite G3 desktops and the multicolored iMacs. If you haven't seen them yet, they alone are worth the price of admission. Both systems have been covered at length by every publication that writes about the Mac. Nevertheless, there are two important angles on these new machines that I think are still worth mentioning.

Issue One: Some Mac pros have voiced concerns about Apple's decision to ship its oft-maligned round mouse with the new G3 desktops. The single biggest windfall for this questionable decision will go to Macsense (booth 416, www.macsensetech.com, which had the good sense to make lemonade out of Apple's lemons. The company created a mouse extension called the iCatch that fits over the round mouse, turning it back into the shape we're all used to. This simple piece of plastic will save lots of Yosemite and iMac users from repetitive stress injuries and will make Macsense a fortune.

Issue Two: A fun side effect of the flavorful new iMac colors is the hysteria they've inspired in iMac peripheral makers. Many of them haven't even finished developing their Bondi blue lineup yet, and now they have to come out with five new colors. To make matters worse, Apple will no longer make any Bondi blue machines as soon as the Rev B iMacs run out. The mantra among USB peripheral manufacturers has been that they will be making all of their products in the new colors; my guess is only the ones with the most marketing and shipping savvy will survive.

One last note about my observations at the midpoint of this year's San Francisco Expo: You know how each time you get on an airplane, every single person is reading the latest John Grisham novel? Well, the Macworld Expo equivalent of John Grisham is the iMac. Virtually every company at the show is displaying how their products work on or with an iMac. If you have a low tolerance for teal, I suggest bringing tinted sun glasses.

P.S. The quote of the show so far came from Douglas Adams during his Macworld Live! appearance; "We wanted to use text-to-speech for Starship Titanic, but all of the characters ended up sounding like semi-concussed Scandinavians."

 

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