In terms of IT tradeshows kicking off the year, Macworld is "2nd Event" – while CES has a much wider array of Apple-centric products/solutions than this year’s Macworld/iWorld, the event was still an opportunity for the fans to see what all of the iTalk was about and to renew old acquaintances.
If you spent a few days in SinCity for Macworld I (CES) to see the star-studded array of Apple-centric hardware, software, semi-ware; it sorta’ took your breath away. Then you go to San Francisco to see Macworld II to see a lot of the same only with a dramatically smaller venue.
At the original Macworld, we call it Macworld I, there were thousands of booths and hundreds of thousands of people jamming in booths, standing in cab lines and hoping for a dinner reservation.
At Macworld II, there were hundreds of booths, thousands of people checking out stuff with credit cards in hand, hailing cabs, eating at charming out-of-the-way restaurants.
The biggest news at the event wasn’t the stuff on the floor but:
- Apple’s blow-out results for the quarter in sales/profits
- Apple’s huge cache of money (nearly $100B) sitting in offshore accounts
- Apple passing HP in PC sales (if iPads are counted as computers)
- The assertions that Apple didn’t care about the working conditions for employees at their suppliers (fortunately, Cook subsequently and vehemently said wasn’t true)
Let's look into what was interesting at the show, starting with All Jack.
Macworld I may have had its drive-in theater LG OLED TV screen, but the new, Macworld II had a $68,000 set of speakers … so take that Shapiro!
They may not sound like your Bose speakers, but the $68,000 red leather-lined, diamond-studded speakers from All Jack would certainly make a statement in your home or apartment.
It’s totally unfair to compare the two events and you try not to but…you just can't. The only thing missing from Macworld this year was the swap meet of the very earliest of Macworlds when pale-skinned "artistic" folks walked the aisles. It's not bad... just different.
Fashion, not business
IDG, the show owner, has tried to keep the show relevant and does change with the times since the event’s namesake is shown in every booth without an overriding presence. With iPads, iPhones in everyone’s hands and IT struggling to manage/support consumer electronics in the enterprise, we’d like to see more professional stuff and fewer gadgets for geeks and regular folks. Maybe IDG can work on that for next year; but this year, Macworld/iWorld had a whole lot of fashion items and some serious (business) exhibitors.
Not that the other items weren’t serious, but we use our iPad for work first. Then, since work spills over into our home, it’s used to handle personal stuff as well.
Companies/products with a business-for-profit perspective included:
- Winjit offers some unique solutions to enhance sales force automation, brand building, service and retail operations, mobile payments, near field communications and extending enterprise systems.
- VIPorbit provides instant access to all relationship details, quick scheduling, and easy communication, including social media.
- Connected demonstrated their updated team collaboration solution which is great for helping teams work more efficiently, effectively.
- On the heels of Apple announcing its education venture, OWC introduced its GripStand station that stores, charges and syncs up to eight GripStand encased iPads.
- NewSoft's Presto! PageManager lets you read, organize, share and manage documents directly from your iPad.
- BulletTrain and iKeyboard introduced different approaches of keyboard solutions to make it easier for touch typists to use the iPad on-screen keyboard.
- Dragon gave its answer to Siri which has shown remarkable improvements on speech identification over the years.
Pre-2009, there used to be a lot of hardware add-on, add-in suppliers at the show; but with a few rare (and good) exceptions, most of the hardware shown at the event related to iPads, iPhones.
The two that stood out were Other World Computing and HP.
The Mac was – and probably still is – the video production system of choice among professionals and prosumers. So the OWC Jupiter mini-SAS storage solution seemed to be something video production folks – and businesses – would find applicable.
OWC debuted a high-performance, easily expandable Jupiter min-SAS product that grabbed the attention of the few content producers and deliverers who attended this year’s event.
While Jupiter mini-SAS didn’t have all the flash that iLovers were looking for, it delivers the price/performance videographers and small businesses need. The scalable rack-mounted solution would be great for creative types--especially the growing number of independent video operations--because it delivers three times faster I/O than fibre channel and twice the throughput of Thunderbolt. And it does it at a cost that is less than comparable fibre channel storage solutions. For video production organizations, the ultra-fast interface delivers constant and consistent data access performance preventing dropped frames.
Providing up to 4TB of storage the company also showed off their miniStack which provides plug-n-play storage for Macs and PCs. The company delivers a solution that includes hard drive, internal DVD drive, and SD card reading capabilities for storing music, photo and video libraries. You can even burn backups with the optical drive.
With USB 3.0, 2.0, Firewire 800/400 and eSATA ports, it should be easy to use as a home server and a small business solution.
Macophiles have no love for Windows-based systems and especially HP’s, but they do love the company’s printers. They have always been the printer of choice for creatives and the camp followers. HP didn’t disappoint those who attended the event with the goal of finding products they could use in their work.
Think, Print – Real Mac users still came to Macworld to see what new economic printing solutions HP is bringing out for them. This year, they got more than they bargained for - including the sorta unattractive new LaserJet Pro 400 and other high-performance printers and devices.
HP rolled out a whole series of LaserJet printers and multi-function devices, including the new HP LaserJet Pro 400 color printer shown above as well as their 300 multi-function printer and high-speed M475 printer.
They also showed off their new TopShot printer - an economic color laser printer that is also a 3D scanner.
If you’re a Mac person who does really large format printing such as a one-off and limited number of posters they had the solution.
But Mostly an iShow
Yep, that about did it for serious stuff because all the other solutions seemed to be focused on doing something more with your iPad, iPhone.
It would be great if IDG could figure out some way to tie-in all of their experience/work in the IT arena and the growing use of Apple devices in the business environment to help some of our IT friends figure out exactly how they’re going to support and protect the devices and data at work.
In what Apple has tagged the post-PC era, IDC has said that the company has a pretty solid grip on the $450 and above tablet market and probably share the business smartphone area with Samsung, their big supplier and arch enemy.
But then since the BYOD (bring your own device) office solution has taken hold; Apple’s Cook probably still isn’t interested in coming back to the show/event circuit.