MacWorld Summary

MacWorld San Francisco 2003 Wrap-up.This is mainly the good. I'll leave the bad and the ugly up to the "real" press.

Yesterday was the last day for MWSF2003. I didn't attend this day, due to prior commitments, but I was there for the preceeding 3 days rummaging around on the floor, talking to people and looking for new and interesting stuff.

Here are some general thoughts about the show:

  • Attendance was good, but not spectacular. I've been to MacWorld's with more people, but in the last year I've been to a lot of shows with fewer.
  • Energy level was good. Despite the economy and market downgrades of Apple, people seemed to like the 802.11g announcement and the software announcments
  • Lots of little improvments of existing products. This has been a common thread through most of the shows that I've been to this year, and certainly appeared to be the case at CES (from afar).
  • The Apple Booth was crowded the entire show. Despite what some in the financial industry referred to as uninteresting product announcements, the people attending were very interested in seeing the new goods.
  • Apple employees that I spoke to indicated a large number of switcher and switcher-wanna-be's on the floor.
  • Connectix wins for the cute marketing slogan with "Switch Back, and Forth" (for those who don't know, these are the people who make VirtualPC, a PC/Windows emulator that runs on the Mac).

Cool things seen at the show:

  • Mini-me G4. There is little or no debate about this being the hit of the show. The combination of features and sub-notebook size is a great combination.
  • Luncheon Tray G4. Everybody loved the concept, but many of the people I spoke to found the 17" a bit daunting due to sheer size. Further, the additional price seemed to scare away some others. For my tastes, 'though, I couldn't live with the 1024x768 display of the Mini-me anymore, so I would guess I'll either continue using the 15" TiBook, or move to the Luncheon Tray.
  • Keyonte. One of my personal favorites. I like this software. If you've ever wanted to kick PowerPoint in the butt and move on to something that does what you really want, get this software.
  • 802.11g hardware. Hats off to Phil and the team for the new Airport Extreme (except for the name :-) ). The USB printing is a very nice feature and I'm a big fan of the external antenna port. Did I mention it goes fast and the signal can penetrate something slightly thicker than rice paper (unlike 802.11a).
  • MP3 player from SlimMP3 (or is that SliMP3). Very tiny, works over an ethernet connection, creates nice sound with a simple UI.
  • HomeBase MP3 device. This one is wireless and has a Firewire port on it to plug your iPod directly into it. No real UI to speak of.
  • CustomFlix vanity DVD publishing. For $50, these people will burn DVD's on demand (with cases and labels) and host your 30-second trailer and e-commerce.
  • CitiDISK DV-Firewire. Direct to hard disk recording for DV camcorders. It's extremely light, charges from the Firewire port, will go 80 minutes without a recharge, and holds 20,40, or 60GB of data. Once you're done recording, plug it in to your editing machine (like a new 12" PowerBook G4) and edit down your video without having to capture.

Beyond the basics of the show, it was great to see so many of the old gang of Mac heads hanging around. The Netter's Dinner had a very strong showing (despite the long, wet walk to the restaurant), and I ran across many people I hadn't seen in years.

I had a great time and wouldn't have missed it.