Year in Review: Expos
The mood was decidedly upbeat at the four "official" Apple expos of 2000 -- all held before Apple's sour financial news near the end of the year. Attendance reached all-time highs and hundreds of new products were released. Here's a look at the shows in chronological order.
Macworld San Francisco 2000
Kicking off January 2000 Macworld Expo (Jan. 5-8) in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs proclaimed the company's continued resurgence by announcing that it had sold 1,350,000 computers in the previous quarter -- or one Mac every six seconds of the quarter. He proceeded to give the first-ever public demonstration of Mac OS X's Aqua interface, with its now-familiar Dock and morphing, photo-realistic icons.
Jobs promoted the impending release of AppleWorks 6, and also talked up QuickTime 4, iTools and the Apple Store, which, at the time, had an annualized rate of more than US$1 billion. He announced that Apple would invest $200 million in the EarthLink Internet Service Provider as part of its new Internet strategy. But he got the biggest applause from Mac fans when he announced that he was dropping the "interim" from his job title and would be Apple's permanent CEO.
As usual, a host of exhibitors debuted new Mac products (see the separate sections about hardware, software, video cards and imaging peripherals). Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit previewed Internet Explorer for the Mac 5.0, and pledged support for Mac OS X in all its Mac products: Office, Internet Explorer, and Outlook Express. Show organizers reported record-breaking attendance of about 85,000 people.
Macworld Expo Toyko 2000
Laptops were on attendees' minds as Jobs used Macworld Tokyo (February 16-19) to launch revamped iBooks and PowerBooks, including the long-awaited FireWire PowerBooks running at 400MHz and 500MHz. The new iBook line featured beefed-up memory and drive capacity, but the biggest addition was the iBook Special Edition, sporting a 366MHz G3 processor and a Graphite color scheme. Apple also bumped up the speed of its Power Mac G4 system, offering 400-, 450- and 500MHz configurations.
In his keynote, the CEO also touted the recently introduced iMac DVs, noting that half of the iMac customers in Japan were first-time computer buyers, compared with 30 percent worldwide. And he revealed that Mac OS X would include high-quality Japanese fonts through an agreement with Dainippon Screen Manufacturing.
Attendance during the four days of Macworld Tokyo was 182,688, compared with 175,797 visitors for the three-day 1999 edition.
Macworld New York 2000
Apple saved its biggest hardware rollout for Macworld New York (July 18-21), where Jobs introduced new iMacs (and iMac colors), dual-processor Power Mac G4 systems and a diminutive new Mac known as the G4 Cube. Jobs said the latter combined the power of the Power Mac G4 with the style and miniaturization of the iMac to make a new class of machine.
The revised iMac line features a $799 350MHz entry-level model in a new Indigo color scheme. The other models, priced from $999 to $1,499 at speeds of 400MHz to 500MHz, include FireWire connections. Along with Indigo, Apple introduced new Ruby, Sage and Snow color schemes. In the pro line, Apple added a second processor to its mid-range (450MHz) and high-end (500MHz) systems without raising the system prices. Apple also rolled out three new displays: a $499 17-inch (16-inch viewable) Apple Studio Display CRT; a $999 15-inch Apple Studio Display flat panel; and the $3,999 22-inch Apple Cinema Display. Each uses the Apple Display Connector, a new cable and connector that carries analog and digital video signals, USB data and display power over a single cable and connector.
Jobs also touted the new and improved iMovie 2 software, which ships with all new FireWire-equipped Macs. And he announced that the Public Beta of Mac OS X would be released in September.
Among other exhibitors, Microsoft's MacBU announced that Microsoft Office 2001 for the Mac would be available in October. With 61,250 attendees, it was the largest Macworld Expo ever on the east coast. By comparison, the largest Expo in Boston, in 1995, had about 55,000; New York drew just 46,119 in 1999.
Apple Expo 2000
The big news at Apple Expo 2000 in Paris (Sept. 13-17) was Mac OS X Public Beta -- the first public release of Apple's next-generation operating system. But first, users were warned of possible disruptions as a group of disgruntled Mac users threatened to launch a protest during Jobs' keynote. However, the group called it off, as Apple UK's public relations department offered to discuss its grievances. Making matters worse, a section of the convention center was flooded after sprinkler systems went off, putting the start of the show in question.
But the keynote went on without a hitch. Jobs described OS X as the "future of the Mac," and users would soon be lining up to buy copies of the software. He also unveiled a new line of iBooks featuring FireWire ports, iMovie 2 and, on one model, DVD. The CEO also announced that ATI's Radeon graphics accelerator card was available as a build-to-order option through the online Apple Store for all Power Mac G4 and Power Mac G4 Cube systems.
Not all was peachy, though. There were long lines and angry attendees who couldn't get into Jobs' keynote. And when the Microsoft Macintosh Business Unit announced during Jobs' keynote that its Office 2001 Macintosh Edition would ship Oct. 11 or 13, there were some boos from the crowd. The show saw more than 60,000 visitors, compared to 52,000 attendees in 1999.
Macworld San Francisco 2001
Now it's almost time for the next big show. The 2001 Macworld Conference & Expo will be held Jan. 9-12 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. It, too, is expected to set a new attendance record. Apple will Webcast Jobs' keynote, and Microsoft and Macromedia execs will also make keynote presentations.
Users, of course, are anticipating what new Mac hardware Steve Jobs might have up his sleeve. During a recent conference call following Apple's first-quarter profit warning, Jobs strongly hinted that he would have much to say about new products during the keynote.
Among other highlights: Macworld magazine's Eddy Awards ceremony, recognizing the best Mac products of 2000; a charity event to raise money for a San Francisco public school district, sponsored by Macworld and Aspyr Media; a soiree for members of Mac User Groups; and MacWEEK.com's Best of Show awards. You can keep up to date on all the Expo social events by checking out the Hess Macworld Events Page.
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