The MacWorld in San Francisco has changed over the years many times. After many consecutive years of downsizing, last year's show was the largest in at least a decade. This year, the show was almost twice as large as last year, and in the West Hall of the Moscone Center, it was so packed that it was almost impossible to walk. It didn't help that there was massive confusion about registration that sent many people back and forth between the South and West halls twice while trying to check in.
Everyone talks about the halo effect of the iPod, and there are still a lot of iPod-related items, but the iPhone is almost certainly what has made the difference in the last year. Apple has sold 2 million units, and in the smart phone market, it's second only to the Blackberry, and bigger than the next three (Palm, Nokia and Motorola) combined.
But Apple also has increased its computer market as well, going from 3 to 8 percent of the market in only a few years. Today they introduced a new laptop that can be as little as two-tenths of an inch thick. It fits in a manila envelope. Is this really necessary? For the price? It certainly looks cool. Sideways, it's almost invisible. (Rumors of a tablet appear to be just a rumor.)
They also introduced a software update for the iPhone. I was hoping they would announce that the new 16 Gig versions were coming in a few months, and then they would clear stock on the 4 Gig models with another $100 price cut. Oh well, looks like I'll be waiting for a while longer before getting one. The Software update is minor, with the coolest function being the ability of the phone to figure out where it is, without using GPS!
Apple's new operating system (Leopard) has a cool function called Time Machine which allows you to bring your computer back to an earlier version at any time, by creating incremental backups. Today they announced an Airport that has a hard drive built in for backing up, which could save you in the event of a system failure. Very cool.
But undoubtedly the biggest announcement was that iTunes will be renting movies from every major studio. (They also updated Apple TV so it is more versatile.) Looks like the BluRay - HD DVD battle will soon be irrelevant. VOD is the wave of the future.