Macworld Expo Resumee – Part I

This year i had for the first time the opportunity to visit Macworld Expo. Since quite a bit has been written about it (and i already shared a number of the most interesting articles I’ve read via Google reader. I will keep this post to some personal remarks and the things that were most impressing for me. Nevertheless i plan this to be a three part series. In part one i’ll share some of my observations around the keynote, part two will comprise my personal views on the three product introduced by apple (iPhone, apple tv, and airport extreme), whereas part three will contain all the other noteable things i’ve seen and heard on the showfloor (e.g. 3dconnexxions space navigator, george, macally’s forthcoming bluetooth keyboards, rain’s notebook stands, , …).So the first part begins after the jump:

Keynote Lemmings

the most impressing thing wrt. the keynote for me was neither the keynote itself nor the announced products. It was the 1 1/2 – 2 hours prior to the keynote. Having been to JavaOne a couple of times during its peak years (2000, 2001, 2002) , and attending a keynotes with 25000 attendants (also in SF’s Moscone Center) i expected the macworld keynote to be organized somewhat similar. Which means that you have to queue for maybe half an hour , then you’re getting in and can take a seat . If the keynote begins at 9 am, you’re in the keynote room maybe at 8:30.

But macworld keynote was different. even i had a platinum pass which included priority seating, the lady at the registrations said to me that i better be there at 7am when the doors opened. Since i flew in the day before the keynote i was awake at 4am and hence i thought you’re awale anyway why not walk down and have a look at 7am. So i walked to moscone arriving at 7:15. A bit of queueing around the block and i entered Moscone west around 7:30. So i was expecting to have a seat a couple of minutes later.

But not a macworld. They just moved us to the first floor, organizing two snake lines (one for priority seating, one for “regular” seating). So we started to wait in these lines. Every quarter of an hour they made some changes to the lines (e.g. moving forward 10 feed, doubling the line width, …). And we waited until 8:55. Then the doors opened and the accumulated mass of arounfd 4000 people started to move up to the third floor (where the keynote should happen). I was not alone in getting a felling that we somehow were treated like lemmings, that are moves to jump over the cliff.

The keynote room was empty (besides chairs and projectiion screen) hence there was no apparent reason for letting us wait for 1 1/2 hours in snake lines, other than building the hype and the expectations, and to make the keynote an inscenation. I could easily have skipped this part.

Apple Computer Inc.

For me (and i guess for quite an number of other people) it became obvious that Apple Inc. is now a consumer electronics company that also happens to build computers. I think that this is the right way for apple to go in order to achieve the growth analysts, shareholfer and media are demanding. I’m ok with that, as long as they are still computers that give me the option to boot into more or less every operating system available and develop and test in whatever language, system or application i’m interested in. The most obvious sign was the removal of the Computer from the name of the company.

Sure, introducing only consumer electronic products at the keynote was another sign. For me, the logical consequence would be to rename Macworld expo into somethinglike Apple World Expo in the next years.

What about the Apple I/II?

For a couple of times Steve Jobs said during his iPhone introduction that he was fortunate to be part of not only one production introduction that “changed the world” but three: the mac, the iPod and now the iPhone. May be i was one of a few that wondered why in hell he wasn’t including the Apple I/II into this list. People like me that had the chance to make their first steps in computing with an apple, and remember the times back then definitely missed it.

I personally would count the Apple I/II as the number one original invention made by Apple. The mac and the iPod were more or less ingenious reinterpretations of things invented in other places and the iPhone still has to proof that it will change the world. Definitely the multi-touch user-interface has a great potential, and i think that simplifing smartphones is the way to go (more on iPhone, apple tv and airport extreme in the second part of my Macworld Expo Resumee)