We do several flagship stories every year at Macworld —the annual Gear Guide in our December issue, for example, or our coverage of Macworld Expo (as it happens online, summarized in our March issue in print). But my favorite is the Editors’ Choice Awards, affectionately known around here as the Eddys. (Not to be confused with Folio Magazine’s Eddie Awards, of course.)
For one thing, putting together the story gives us a chance to look back on the products we’ve covered over the past year. This year, as always, I was struck by the continued depth, breadth, and vitality of the Mac marketplace. Sure, Apple had a big year (something about an Intel chip ). But so did HP, Nikon, Panasonic, Logitech, and Adobe. And, as always, smaller developers—perennials like Rogue Amoeba and Shirt Pocket as well as newcomers like Tabula Digita —had their place right next to those established heavyweights.
In Eddys past, we picked winners (and sometimes runners-up) in a bunch of different product categories (Best Printer, Best Monitor, and so forth.). A couple of years ago, we decided to drop that in favor of an open competition: Whichever products stood out for quality, utility, innovation, value, or just overall excellence would be considered. And so we have two desktop Macs, two cameras, one printer, and no monitors (an LCD is an LCD, we decided this year).
Getting rid of those categories also makes it easier to acknowledge products that might have fallen through the cracks otherwise. Hard-to-pigeon-hole products such as Micromat’s TechTool Protégé, Line 6’s TonePort UX2, and Pantone’s huey, for example, would likely have been overlooked.
But my favorite thing about the Eddys is the way we produce. It’s truly a group effort involving the entire Macworld editorial team. Starting back in September, we meet to nominate products, debate their respective merits, and winnow the list. In the process, we get a chance—all too rare, given our busy work schedules—to have a spirited discussion about the Mac and how it’s doing. There’s all kinds of experience and expertise on the Macworld staff, and the Eddys is a great showcase for both.
Which is not to say our list is the final say on the matter. Take a look at our choices and let me know: What did we miss? Which products do you think should have been winners?