The MacWorld Report

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Back from a day playing boss-sanctioned hookey from work. Had a chance to head into San Francisco for this year’s MacWorld.

While there I tried to remember when, exactly, was my first trip to MacWorld. I believe it was 1994 and I was gainfully employed by Sandia Labs. Sandia, at the time, bought quite a bit of Mac gear. Because we were such a good customer, I got a ticket to see the keynote. This was before Steve had returned and Gil Amelio was still at the helm. Anyone remember him?

That was the year that Jeff Goldblum opened the keynote with a bit of promotion for the movie “Independence Day”, a copy of which was taped to the bottom of each of our seats. I think I still have that VHS tape in a box in the garage.

Ah well, the good old days. Back when grabbing the entire collection of Iomega Buttons was cool and schwag fell like manna from the sky (I still use some of the t-shirts gained at past Comdex and MacWorld shows to check the oil in my car and polish fingerprints off my guitar).

But those days are over.

This year’s MacWorld was….to say the least…underwhelming.

It’s hard to top the buzz and excitement of the 2007 MacWorld what with the lickable iPhones twirling in jewelry showcases, so close and yet SO out of reach.

But last year’s show had a lot of buzz for the iPod too. Lots of cases, accessories, and audio software to make it fun. There was some of that this year, but it was pretty much the same gear on display as last year.

A lot of the buzz was gone too, the energy was low, there were empty booth spaces and even the Apple booth, usually the showpiece of the floor, was less than usual.

Here’s the booth:

Here’s the show floor (taken from the Apple booth):

The Apple booth was the same sort of set up as in past years. Thick gray carpet, minimalistic fixtures, highlight on the “star” product.

Last year, as mentioned, the iPhone was this dizzying spinning tantalizing thing.

So I was excited to see how they would display the new MacBook Air.

Well, here’s the answer:

That is five MacBook Air bodies hanging from a string. Uh. Okay.

I went over to take a look, and it was cool, but the swinging MacBooks were not accessible, unable to be opened, and not actually functioning machines. So it was…odd.

I did get a change to belly up to the bar and test drive one with the help of a very nice and knowledgeable Apple employee. The thing is scary light. Amazing. Three pounds. Compared to my MacBook Pro, which now feels like a ton of bricks, this thing is a feather and I can see it SO easily tucked into a bag for hitting the road.

It has this cool flip out door for the ports. Only one USB port, which I’ve read some bloggers complaining about online, but I think that can be easily managed. The screen is delicious and it just looks good. Nicely done!

The rest of the show was only ok. Like I said, low energy and not really any new products to get excited about. I had expected to see a lot of accessories for the iPhone and was gravely disappointed. The Cute Boy™ bought a new case for his, I held off. Didn’t find exactly what I wanted.

Saw a pretty cool camera case/backpack that they wanted a lot of money for, but it was really functional. Didn’t buy it, but it was nice to dream.

Tried to get close to the Canon booth, but to no avail. That one is always very popular.

Got only a few schwaggy items, but came home mostly empty handed.

So to sum up MacWorld 2008, in my opinion, it was kind of like the keynote, to quote NewMexiKen, “is that all there is?”

Oh, I tried to “live blog” from the Microsoft lounge, but it was totally packed in there. I hadn’t brought my own MacBook with me to the show, and the few iMacs they had for use were taken up by squatters. Oh well, you get this reacap instead. It’s semi-live cuz after this day, I’m dead on my feet.

All photos by Karen Fayeth and grainy cuz they were taken with an iPhone.

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