Monday, January 15, 2007

Mac Fanboy For a Day

So I went into San Francisco to see MacWorld today. As an industry notable nobody minor celebrity, I command am accorded occasionally get hooked up with junkets like this. But before I start my review of the day, I need to state a few things:
  1. I am not an Apple Fan Boi. You will not see any slobbering reviews of the greatness of Steve Jobs, or even his new phone. I do admire their industrial design, some of their hardware engineering and software development. And I do use their products. But I don't use them because I think they are cool or will make me cooler. Most of them simply work more like I expect things should. Some people think that about Linux and some people even think that about Microsoft.
  2. I am even less a fan of conventions. Especially computer conventions. Early in my career, I used to go and work at these and I am simply over them. Idiot salespeople, idiot consumers, clueless demo dollies. I usually only have a few things I want to see (but would rather see them in another venue, like my living room) so I wanted to make my trip short and surgical.
After I got to the city, I parked in the Metreon parking lot and wandered over to Moscone North. Surprisingly, my badge was waiting for me (skipping the $45 exhibit entry fee suckers) and I was down on the floor within five minutes. MacWorld had expanded to both sides of old Moscone (North and South side of the street), but I'm not sure why. There was simply nothing in the North hall. After trudging down to the South hall, I found most of what I was looking for:

  • iPhone sighting
  • Garmin Training Center preview release CD
  • Apple TV
Before I get to that, thought, I must comment on the makeup of the exhibitors. I would conservatively say that 50% of the vendors were just iPod accessories. Like cases. Lots and lots of cases. And laptop bags.This really should have been called iPod World, not MacWorld.

This was clearly the bell of the ball. They had three iPhones on display in a ridiculous hermitically sealed cylinder, with people three deep staring at it. As you can see from the photo below, there isn't much to see -- except that it seems a little smaller than I thought it might be.

Behind the iPhone cylinders was a constant demo of the iPhone features, with only slightly more detail than Steve Jobs keynote. Good photos tho.

Overall, I think there needs to be a lot more info on the phones before I am sold. If Apple truly isn't going to allow any new applications or widgets to be installed on the phone, that is a deal breaker for me.

Apple TV

Although the Apple TV was also part of the keynote speech, it clearly was the red-headed stepchild. Shown outside the Apple pavilion on a thin counters, they had a few of them setup. It looks a lot like the FrontRow interface on my MacBook, I couldn't tell what kind of resolution that it was supporting. If it wasn't $300, I would probably order one.

Garmin Training Center

The real reason that I went to the MacWorld was to snag a early copy of Garmin Training Center for the Mac. The software is 9 months late and the only way to get it before February was to come to San Francisco and ask them for it. In fact, the guy actually had to go back into the display to find a copy. But I got it. And it works well. I am happily tracking my runs and rides through my GPS again.

That's all I had from the conference. And actually the coolest thing I saw all day was actually over at the Metreon across the street: that Sony Mylo is pretty cool. Not $350 cool, but pretty cool.

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