Wednesday, January 07, 2009
I've been going to MacWorld for many years, in San Francisco, Boston, and New York. As I've reported in the past, the show has changed drastically over the years. It used to be about computers! Now it's mostly about iPod and iPhone accessories (much like Apple). There are big rumors before every show, and a few turn out to be true in Steve Jobs legendary keynotes.
This year, the rumors before the show overshadowed the show itself. Steve was rumored to be sick, very sick, based on a serious weight loss. He then canceled his keynote appearance, fueling the rumors. Finally the day before the show, he gave a press release explaining his weight loss was due to a hormonal imbalance. Strangely, stock prices went up after the press release, showing how closely Apple is related to Jobs.
To add insult to injury, Apple also previously announced that this would be the last MacWorld they would be attending. Although IDG announced this would not be the last MacWorld, there's a high probability that it will be. Jobs has had a long love-hate relationship with MacWorld. He moved the Boston show to New York and then quit going to that show which drove the show out of business.
As a result, the whole show seemed to have the atmosphere of a wake.
I missed the keynote, but there were virtually not exciting announcements. Very little new software for the iPhone, and no new hardware, despite the rumors of 32 Gig iPhones. Precious little new Mac hardware, with upgrades only to the 17" MacBook.
Most of the upgrades were to iLife and iWork, two software packages most professionals could do without. The only noteworthy upgrade is to iPhoto, which incorporates facial recognition. Unfortunately the demo I saw was maybe 70% accurate. Not ready for prime time. Also adding GPS data to photos for indenifying locations, but this has been availabel on other professional cameras for a while.
There were quite a few companies showing USB microphone, and other new companies showing sound-isolating ear buds. Some of them were wuite good, but priced very high. Otherwise, not a lot of interest at the show. It can easily be seen in a day.