Macworlds are no fun. There’s just too much to see, not enough time, floors are hard, feet are sore.
Kate and I journeyed to the exhibit floor Tuesday afternoon. Here’s what we liked and didn’t like.
Not a Zune in sight. Not one. Maybe Zune users had to check their bricks in at the exhibit floor door. iPods? Everywhere.
Tops on our list of ultra cool was the Axiotron ModBook. This is the tablet Mac that Apple won’t build for the rest of us.
Once you see it and hold it, ModBook makes you want one from Apple. Steve Jobs has indicated that Apple doesn’t like that space but he said the same thing about video on iPods.
ModBook is a MacBook with no keyboard and a special touch screen. It’s a tablet Mac. The iSight camera is still built-in, same Intel Core 2 Duo chips, wireless, Bluetooth, Combo to SuperDrive (depends on model).
There’s a digitzer pen, and a WACOM Penabled Digitizer. Pricing ranges from $2,199 to $2,699, so you’re paying about $1,000 for the customized MacBook-as-Mac-tablet configuration.
Microsoft was doing a show-n-tell on Microsoft Office 2008. They’re skipping 2007, the name tacked on to the Windows version.
This is an all new Office, new interface, new features—especially PowerPoint. Check out the Ribbon. That’s a feature we like. It’s from the Windows version. It’s cool.
Obviously, crowds were lengthy at the Apple exhibit, particularly for iPhone, but AppleTV, too. The same for Parallels Desktop runnning Windows in a Mac. Not on a Mac. In Mac OS X.
Some of those in-the-know folks I talked with about Mac OS X Leopard and Parallels seemed to think that Leopard would finally blow away Windows for good; features, security, stability, enhancements, graphics, media. ease-of-use, and, importantly, virtualization.
In other words, the Mac could be the only desktop or notebook computer anyone would want. OS X, Linux, Windows et al.
Adobe’s presence was strong and lines were long. Photoshop running on Intel Macs was the highlight, though I was impressed with Adobe’s desire to compete with Apple in media production.
Audio and video are back in the Adobe camp with Premiere, Soundbooth, and Production Studio.
The coolest looking device that I can’t afford, besides the ModBook, is George. Yes, Virginia, there is another iPod speaker system, and this one is less than $600.
George sounds great, and looks modern and sleek and elegant, except for one thing. The iPod sticks out of the dock right on top of George. I love my iPod and good music but that’s just wrong in so many ways.
Roxio was there with another version of Toast, this time 8.0. Mac users love Toast, but there were plenty of grumbles at the upgrade price, the retail price, and the fact that TiVoToGo for Mac was bundled. That means you pay for TiVoToGo by buying Toast.
Greenpeace was outside making noise. Inside, no one cared.
Late last week Carol spilled the beans about Apple’s secret sauce—iTunes and QuickTime. This week it was all about the iTunes, iPhoto, Mail interface. The left column, center column, sometimes right-column interface we all know and love.
Xsilva introduced Lightspeed2, their point-of-sale application for the Mac. Lightspeed2 is a multi-user point-of-sale system for Mac OS X that looks and runs like iTunes.
Behind the scenes is OpenBase SQL, sales, service, inventory, tracking, purchasing tools are built in, including admnistration and reporting tools.
That looked like a good solution for small businesses. Point and click with graphics in an iTunes look.
Microsoft announced their new Windows Home Server at CES in Las Vegas.
Those drives are a Mac user’s best friend for backing up music, movies, photos, and valuable documents. The new Data Backup 3 features automataed backup across multiple hard drives. Take that, Windows Home Server.
What we didn’t like makes up a much shorter list. QuarkXPress was upgraded to 7.1. Quark remains popular despite years of poor dealings with many Mac users. $749 is too much for QuarkXPress, but upgrades are a mere $199.
There was plenty of discussion on the exhibit floor about Apple dropping “computer” from the corporate name. Most speculation centered around, not dropping the Mac as some have rumored, but more of a “what’s next” after iPhone.
I haven’t read it officially, but old timers are saying this was easily the best Macworld ever. There was also plenty of conversation about this being the last Macworld ever.
The last Macworld? Yes, that’s right, and probably tied to the corporate name to change to plain old “Apple.” Even though IDG owns and runs Macworld Expo, what Apple wants is what Apple gets, and it may be that Apple thinks there are enough products in the line to move to Appleworld 2008.
Remember Macworld Boston, then Macworld New York? Once Apple pulled the plug on participation, the east coast show disappeared. What Apple wants, Apple gets, and Apple is no longer a computer company, and Macs are no longer the only product line.
What do you think? Is the Mac taking a back seat to other Apple products? How long before iPod and iPhone sales top that of the Mac line? What else does Apple have in line? Share your thoughtful consideration in the Comments section below.