We’ve been attending the winter’s Macworld Conference and Expo for many years – from the show’s heyday when Apple would kick off proceedings with a Steve Jobs-hosted keynote and then take centre stage at the expo itself, to the years following Apple’s decision not to attend the show, when the word on the street was that the event couldn’t survive.
This year’s conference proved the naysayers wrong. First a name change – from Macworld Expo to Macworld | iWorld – breathed new life into the show. And then the focus that accompanied that change – from a show largely centred on vendor booths and training, to one that also devoted space and time to the creative things people do with Apple’s technology. Macworld | iWorld embraced the enthusiasm that everyone has for Apple right now, uniting the old BMUG gang, the new hipster iOS crowd, and everyone in between.
We saw plenty of exciting Mac and iOS products and apps at this year’s event. From the hot new must-haves to the not yet launched, we tracked down the most impressive and innovative, and here we highlight the products that stood out from the crowd.
Company: Secure Mac URL:
Price: £2.99, Mac App Store
Whenever you surf the internet little bits of information about you and your browsing habits are collected. If you are worried about just how much information is being gathered, you can address your concerns with PrivacyScan.
When you run the app, it securely shreds files that could compromise your privacy. These may include newly installed apps that could contain privacy threats, or Flash cookies that are not controlled through the cookie privacy controls in a browser, so even if you delete them they will still be there.
There are various levels of shredding available, all the way up to the high-security US State Department of Defense government deletion standards, which means not only is the file disposed of, but it is written over up to 35 times.
MokaFive Mac in Minutes
Company: MokaFive URL:
Price: $150 per seat per year (£95)
As Apple’s popularity grows, IT administrators have to accept the influx of Macs entering the business environment, whether it’s company CEOs insisting on a MacBook Air or contractors bringing their own Mac to work. For these IT administrators help is at hand in the form of MokaFive, which makes it easy to secure and update desktops and laptops across an enterprise.
MokaFive wraps up VMware’s Fusion product in the extra layer of security that’s required by many enterprises. It also adds features including automatic updates of virtual machines, streaming and caching of virtual machine images, hardware-accelerated 3D graphics support, and zero-footprint install when running from a USB drive. The company describes its solution as a “Mac in Minutes” since it lets companies securely deploy their corporate Windows desktop to all their Mac users in less time than it takes to watch a movie.
Company: Aquafadas URL:
Apple launched iBooks Author just days before Macworld | iWorld, and Aquafadas was pleased to show us that its MotionComposer will be fully compatible with Apple’s solution. Its CTO Matthieu Kopp told us that the next version of the application will come with a new export capability that will create widgets that can be integrated in a iBooks Authored book.
The HTML widget in iBooks Author supports Dashboard widgets, which are HTML5 packages with a .wdgt file extension. You can use any Dashboard widget from Lion in iBooks Author, or you can create one of your own using an editor such as MotionComposer.
The application makes it possible to create interactive web animations in HTML5, without writing a single line of code.
Company: Flexibits URL:
Price: £13.99, Mac App Store
Flexibits released version 1.2 of Fantastical just in time for Macworld | iWorld. The app provides a menu-bar-based calendar and a running list of upcoming events, letting you manage your calendars without having to open your calendar program or website. We like the way you can create new events by typing natural-language descriptions. The program supports calendars hosted by iCal, BusyMac’s BusyCal, or Microsoft’s Entourage or Outlook, as well as those hosted by MobileMe, iCloud, Google Calendar or Yahoo Calendar. The new version improves recurring event entry, so you can enter: “Rock choir every Thursday at 8pm” more reliably, it also adds French, German, Italian and Spanish languages.
Company: Karelia Software URL:
Price: £54.99, Mac App Store
Now that Apple has ceased development of iWeb, we were interested to learn that Sandvox, the visual web design and authoring package from Karelia Software, is adding a number of new features. Version 2.5 offers slideshow functionality, support for exclusive Lion features and additional language support. It also provides an easy way to announce your site or its updates via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, or by email.
The new slideshow functionality offers eye-catching transitions. Users can now showcase their image collections as a slideshow by dragging and dropping them onto the new Slide Show object. Options for timing, transitions and captions are adjustable in the program’s object inspector. In addition, the photo grid now supports displayed captions derived from page contents.
Sandvox 2.5 takes advantage of some of the features in Mac OS X Lion, such as Resume, Autosave, Versions and Fullscreen mode.
Advancements in under-the-hood engineering, including a publishing engine overhaul, new placeholder displays, improvements to .m4v file compatibility, Quick Look support, and text layout and alignment enhancements, drive many of the new features in this upgrade.
Company: Blue Microphones URL:
Price: $199 (£126)
Blue Microphones displayed its latest products, which are due to ship this spring. Its $199 Spark Digital microphone uses the same condenser capsule and costs the same as the company’s analogue Spark XLR microphone, but it also comes with two adaptors – one for iOS dock connectors and another for USB, so you can record directly to your Mac. Blue claims that it’s the first professional recording option for the iPad.
The Spark Digital also includes Focus Control, providing two different sonic options: Focus Off captures crisp, powerful audio with enhanced low frequency sensitivity for recordings with greater impact and definition; while Focus On captures greater clarity and detail for a tighter, more focused sound, according to the company.
The microphone includes an adjustable desk stand and built-in shockmount, so users can position the Spark Digital without any additional mic stands or hardware. It also includes a y-cable with an attached, extended female headphone jack for direct monitoring.
GoFlex Thunderbolt Adapter
Company: Seagate URL:
Price: $99.99 (£63)
Rather than introduce a Thunderbolt drive, Seagate has introduced a Thunderbolt adaptor for its GoFlex hard drives and the company was showing off some early units at Macworld | iWorld.
Seagate’s GoFlex series of external storage use removable adaptors, so they can connect to FireWire 800, USB 3.0, eSATA, a network, a television, and now to Thunderbolt. The GoFlex Adapter doesn’t come with a drive or a cable and it doesn’t require external power. It also has just one port, so it needs to be at the end of the Thunderbolt chain. Seagate said a desktop version with two Thunderbolt ports should be out before the second quarter of 2012.
Company: Dev-Audio URL:
Dev-Audio’s Microcone is a microphone designed to record group meetings. But it isn’t just a mic: the small, cone-shaped device contains six separate directional microphones, so it can capture audio from six directions on six audio channels. You put the Microcone in the middle of the table, then start talking. As each person speaks, the mic closest to him or her picks up what he or she is saying.
(Unfortunately, the device is only effective in meetings with six or fewer participants.) The device then relays each person’s utterances as a separate audio signal to your Mac (via USB).
The Microcone comes with software that lets you adjust the volumes of each of the six channels.
LaserJet Pro 300, 400 & TopShot
Company: HP URL:
Price: LaserJet Pro 400 from £326; LaserJet Pro 300 from £495; TopShot LaserJet Pro M275 £299
HP introduced several new colour printers. The LaserJet Pro 400 color M451 is a single-function model for businesses that want to create colour documents. It prints up to 21 pages per minute (ppm) and comes in three models – M451nw, M451dn, M451dw.
Also on show was the LaserJet Pro 300 color M375, which prints up to 19ppm in mono and colour, and can scan at 1200dpi in monochrome and 600dpi in colour.
Our favourite was the TopShot LaserJet Pro M275. Targeted at small and home-based businesses, it represents a new category of multifunction printer due to its TopShot scanning technology for scanning 3D objects.
JUC400 Wormhole Switch
Company: J5Create URL:
Price: $36 (£23)
We were impressed by the JUC400 Wormhole Switch from J5Create. It’s a simple-looking cable, but it lets you do some pretty amazing things. With it, you can share a keyboard and mouse that’s connected to one Mac or PC with another Mac or PC. But that’s not all; you can also drag and drop files and folders from one computer’s desktop to another, as well as share the contents of clipboards between them.
Most keyboard/video/mouse (KVM) switches allow you to share a keyboard, mouse and display between multiple computers, but you can only use one computer at a time. The JUC400 lets you access two Macs simultaneously. Using the keyboard and mouse connected to one of the systems, you drag the cursor to the edge of one display and it jumps to the other. You can drag and drop files between computers this way, and you can also open a text document on one Mac, copy some text, and then paste it into a document on the other computer. We were even more impressed to see files dragged and dropped between a PC and a Mac.
If you have an iPad and a Camera Connection Kit, you can attach one end of the JUC400 to the iPad and the other end to a Mac or PC, and use the computer’s keyboard to type text into an open iPad app. Unfortunately, drag and drop to and from an iPad is not supported.
My Book Thunderbolt Duo
Company: Western Digital URL:
It’s been a year since Apple added the 10Gbps Thunderbolt port to the MacBook Pro, but there are still very few hard drives that use the technology. So we were delighted to see Western Digital’s My Book Thunderbolt Duo.
Two versions of the dual-drive storage system will be available (likely to be in 4TB or 6TB models). Users can either run the drives in RAID 0 or 1 configuration, either using the two drives as one storage unit, or allowing one drive to back up the other. The Duo has two Thunderbolt ports, so it’s possible to daisy chain more than one drive.
No official pricing or release information has been announced, but we should see these drives hitting the market soon.
Company: Adonit URL:
Artists who use the iPad and a stylus to draw will appreciate the Jot Touch’s support for pressure sensitivity. It reacts to the amount of pressure you apply to deliver more accurate strokes. The stylus connects to devices via Bluetooth, which means it can work on iPads, iPhones and iPods, as well as Android and Windows touchscreen devices. Some apps have been calibrated for a stylus rather than a finger and if you use one of these Jot Ready apps in conjunction with the stylus, Adonit describes the results as “the best stylus experience on the market”. You can switch between the eraser and pen by clicking a button on the side of the Jot Touch, and charge the stylus via the included USB charger.
Company: Ryz Media URL:
The blinQ allows you to transform your iPhone into a remote control for your TV. A small device called the Q plugs into your handset’s headphone jack and is paired with the blinQ TV app. The app also has a social networking feature, letting you post to Twitter or Facebook so your friends can see what you’re watching. The app learns what shows you like, and can even tell you what your friends are viewing and recommend shows it thinks you might like.
iMotion CarPlay Direct Connect 3000
Company: Monster URL:
Price: TBA, available in June
Monster is aiming to make driving while communicating with your iPod, iPhone or iPad much safer, with its iMotion CarPlay Direct Connect 3000. The device utilises motion-detection technology to allow users to control their iOS device using hand gestures, so drivers don’t have to touch their device or look away from the road. These gestures can play and pause tracks, and skip forwards or backwards through song lists. The iMotion CarPlay plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter and can be used to charge your iOS device.
Company: Nite Ize URL:
Nite Ize’s BioCase is a fully biodegradable case for your iPhone 4 or 4S. It’s designed to protect your handset, while being eco-friendly. The BioCase is made of organic materials to reduce your carbon footprint and is available in a variety of colours and patterns. Don’t worry, though, it won’t start deteriorating while you’re using it. The company says that “when consistently exposed to a composting environment, the BioCase breaks down into organic compounds in a matter of months”.
Company: Olloclip URL:
The Olloclip is a small device that slots onto your iPhone 4 or 4S’s camera lens. It can be used to take Fish-eye, Macro and Wide Angle photos. Choose between the black or red model to add a personal touch. The Olloclip can be used with any app, whether it’s Apple’s default photo app, or a third-party program such as Hipstamatic or Video Camera. It comes with lens caps for both ends, as well as a microfibre bag that doubles as a cleaning cloth.
Company: Scosche URL:
Scosche has announced what it claims is the smallest car charger for USB devices in the world. The reVOLT C2 can charge two devices at once, including iPads, as each USB port can supply 10 watts of power.
It’s designed to slot into your car’s power socket, so it doesn’t get in the way of other functions on your dashboard. The reVOLT C2 can be paired with Scosche’s free reVIVE app for battery management, so you’ll know how much talk time and audio playback time you’ve got, and you can change alert settings to inform you when your battery is at particular charge levels.
Company: Polk Audio URL:
Price: £31.50 to £63.31
Polk Audio has developed a range of sports headphones for its Performance Line-Up. It includes four UltraFit headphones, which are water resistant and have tangle-free cables for use during any sport. All of the models are available in several colour schemes, and have SecureFit support, an ear hook to help keep the earpiece in place. The UltraFit 500s and 1000s are both in-ear headphones, but the latter have a three-button remote control and microphone on the cable. The UltraFit 2000s are on-ear headphones and come with a built-in three-button remote control and microphone, and a reflective wraparound headband. And finally, at the top of the range are the UltraFit 3000s in-ear canal headphones.
iSupport iPhone mounts
Company: iSupport URL:
At Macworld | iWorld, iSupport debuted three iPhone mounts for video enthusiasts. The basic model is a lightweight mount made of ABS polymer. A rubber hood surrounds the iPhone’s camera to cut out lens glare. The iSupport Pro offers a clamshell holder to protect the phone and adds a bit more centered weight for steadier shots. The Cine Bundle is made of aircraft grade aluminum. There are three tripod mounts on the bottom and two on the top for attaching accessories, such as mics.
iStopMotion for iPad
Company: Boinx URL:
Price: £2.99 (introductory price)
iStopMotion app lets you create your own stop-motion animation movies. It allows you to shoot a series of pictures on your iPad, which can then be assembled to produce a film. The Camera Overlay means you can line up images to increase accuracy, and the Instant Playback function lets you check for mistakes. The app can also be used the app with the free iStopMotion Remote Camera app. This lets you set up an iPhone as a camera and then transfer the pictures to an iPad.
Game Your Video
Company: Global Delight URL:
Game Your Video is designed to help you create interesting videos without getting bogged down in the tedious and time-consuming editing process. You can cut out portions of video, or add reverse effects. The Flavor option lets you add a theme or genre, such as Chaplin, which makes your video look like the classic Charlie Chaplin films, or the Haunted option for spooky scenes. To add extra interest the app lets you add special effects such as slow motion, or voice effects like Chipmunk and Scary. You can also add music to your video from your iTunes library.
Once you’ve finished, you can upload your videos to YouTube and Facebook.
Company: i4Software URL:
Video Camera lets you film, edit, and share your video with various social media outlets in one app. It has a remote camera feature that lets up to eight people connect on the same WiFi network to record an event; the footage can then be edited together on one iPhone.
You can shoot HD video in 1080p, 720p and standard definition, plus control exposure, focus, white balance and zoom, and add music, transitions, titles and credits. There’s even an iPad Camera Connection kit that lets you shoot footage from cameras such as the Canon 60D.
Company: Smile URL:
Price: £6.99 (introductory price)
Like the Mac version, PDFpen for iPad lets you scribble on a draft and make notes in the margins, fill in a form, as well as make changes and fix typos in the document itself. The software includes standard proofreading symbols, and you can also save frequently used images such as your signature. You can move, resize and delete images from PDFs, and import pictures from your Photo Library to place them in PDFs. The app can store files in iCloud, Dropbox, Google Docs, and Evernote.
Company: Spark Labs URL:
TourWrist isn’t just another panoramic photo app. If you move your iPhone or iPad, the panoramic image it produces moves with the device, changing your perspective of the picture.
This means that if you’re on holiday, for example, and want to show a friend back home your hotel room, you can capture it using the app. Your friend will then be able to move their iPhone or iPad around revealing a 360-degree view of the room, using the gyroscope built into their iOS device.
You can even view other users’ location tours and share yours on the TourWrist website.
Company: Readdle URL:
A new note-taking app has arrived in the form of Remarks from Readdle. Its tools let you take notes in a way that will help you when you come to read them again, and include highlighters, text boxes, and more. Use the app to make sketches, add colour to them, and map out spider diagrams.
Remarks lets you annotate PDFs, which you can import from Dropbox, emails and other apps. You can also transfer documents to your computer, and make changes to notes using any PDF editing application on your Mac. Remarks users can even email notes to one another and edit them.
Company: Vito Technology URL:
Vito Technology has just released an update to its successful Star Walk app, which was featured by Apple in adverts for the iPad.
It uses augmented reality to show you what stars and constellations you are looking at. There’s a search tool so you can find out where a particular planet is, for example, plus a satellite tracking tool.
The update includes a calendar of celestial events for 2012 so you can plan your stargazing before you leave home, as well as the SpaceX addition that will enable users to track the trajectory of the Dragon spacecraft, though the date of this launch han’t yet been set.