Believe it or not, last week marked the first time that I spent the entire week at
Macworld Expo. In years past, I’ve flown in for the
keynote, stayed through whatever conference sessions I was slated to speak at, and then flown home. This year, though, I got to take in the whole experience, and I must say, it was a great time…but also a great deal of work! As a fellow presenter told me one afternoon, “I love it when Expo rolls into town…and I love it just as much when the week is over!”
I took a fair number of pictures during the week, most of which are incredibly boring. That hasn’t stopped me, though, from compiling them into
a photo album. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
The first thing I noticed was that the show floor
seemed much more crowded
and lively than it was last year. Some of that, to be sure, is because show organizers had everything in Moscone Center’s South Hall; last year, the games and smaller developers were in the north hall. But even with that adjustment, I personally think the show’s attendance was up greatly over recent years.
Clearly, a large part of that is due to the
iPod. Despite Steve Jobs’ insistence that this was, after all,
world, iPod-related stuff was everywhere. I saw carrying cases and speaker systems and plug-in adapters for any feature you might think of, including blinking lights to use when running with an iPod at night (now
a safe thing to be doing; anyone up for a
?). The iPod is clearly a very, very big business. I wonder when we’ll see the first iPod Expo?
Beyond the world of iPod, there were some interesting new software apps (the beta version of
looks like a worthy competitor to my current fave
), but no real “oh my gosh that’s amazing!” products. The Apple booth was constantly mobbed, and both the Intel Macs look like winners. In particular, the
(not yet sure about that name) was amazingly quick compared to my 12-inch PowerBook G4/1.33GHz. I’m tempted, but my current laptop is meeting my needs just fine. By the way, I recorded
a short movie (3.9MB)
of the new magnetic plug in action. It’s not the greatest film (I was trying to record with about 500 people pushing and shoving to reach the machine), but you get a good sense for how it works. I know some people are nervous because this is yet another unique power adapter for an Apple laptop…but after too many yanked power cords on mine, I think it’s borderline genius.
I also participated in the MacBraniac quiz show challenge, where our team (myself, Jason Snell, Rich Siegel of BareBones, and Tonya Egnst of TidBITS) defeated the challengers (Dori Smith, Sandee Cohen, Andy Ihnatko, and Scott Knaster) in ‘overtime’ (we were tied after all the standard questions). This means that I’m now undefeated in MacBraniac challenges, having also won (in overtime again)
this past summer in Boston. Through both competitions, which probably means about 50 questions or so, I can proudly state I’ve answered maybe four of them all by myself—clearly the key to winning is getting chosen as a team member by a really bright team! If you’ve never seen one of these, they’re well worth the time; Chris Breen does a great job picking questions that make us look like we don’t know anything, and the teams, judges, and audience have a great time with the friendly competition. This year, there was even some free cake for members of the audience.
And now, something not really related to the show. The
hotel I stayed at
featured the most amazing vending machine I’ve ever seen—
here’s a small portion of it. But instead of trying to describe it myself, it just so happens that Mathew Honan
wrote about this very machine
Wednesday for Playlist. Check out his writeup for all the details. Suffice it to say that, if you’re ever near the Argent (on Third Street, two blocks north of Moscone), it’s worth a visit to the lobby to see this machine.
I guess I could sum up the week by saying I was most excited by the first two Intel machines Apple has rolled out, and I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months bring. Based on what we’ve seen so far, I think by this time next year, the overall speed of the Mac platform will have taken a gigantic step forward.