Tag Archives | Macworld Expo

There’s No Way Apple is Releasing a New iPad at Macworld. (Is There?)

Tony Bennett closes out the last Apple keynote at Macworld--to date--in January 2009.

The great thing about the Apple rumors published at Taiwanese component-news site DigiTimes is that you never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes it has scoops that really are scoops. Other times–many times–its rumors are strictly fictional. You can neither trust it nor ignore it.

Today, DigiTimes has a story I know I like, whether or not it amounts to anything. The site says that a source tells it that Apple is going to release two new iPads in January, with super-high-res screens. But the part of the rumor that’s entertaining is that DigiTimes’ source says that Apple will announce its new tablets at Macworld/iWorld–the conference formerly known as Macworld Expo –which is being held starting on January 26th in San Francisco.

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Me at Macworld Expo

About twenty years after I attended my first Macworld Expo, I’m tickled to be speaking at one. Week after next, I’m part of a new Macworld feature called the Industry Forum, which consists of quick presentations by a bunch of folks–other speakers include Macworld Editorial Director Jason Snell, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, Mac founding father Bill Atkinson, and others.

As usual, Macworld is at San Francisco’s Moscone Center; I go on Wednesday, January 26th at 10:40am. (The conference sessions run from January 25th-29th and the show floor opens on the 27th.) My topic is “Thoughts on Mobile,” and I plan to spend twenty minutes exploring the current state of competition between iOS devices and their competition and mulling over where it may lead in the months and years to come.

Hope to see you there!


Where Does Macworld Expo Go From Here?

Macworld Expo 2009With Apple pulling out of Macworld Expo after this year, that has become the big question for IDG — the event’s sponsor. Steve Jobs’ presence at the show was what made the show a worthwhile stop on the tech trade show circuit, and without that Macworld loses a lot of its draw.

One of the first things it can do now since it is free of Apple is possibly move the show back east. Once upon a time there used to be two events: the main show in January, and then another smaller event in Boston during the summer.

In a town hall event at the close of the show, that was mentioned. What got even bigger applause was the suggestion that IDG may consider bringing the show back to New York City — the original East coast location.

IDG is calling the Apple-less Macworld 2010 the beginning of an “evolution,” which will focus on the things that make the Mac ecosystem tick rather than what Steve is announcing on stage.

This could actually benefit exhibitors. They would no longer be overshadowed by Apple, and would be able to get much more face time with the media. I don’t see how that could be a bad thing, unless the tech media decides en masse to stop going to the event.

Exhibitors and instructors seem to still be giving the show a shot: about 60 exhibitors are already signed up for the 2010 show, and almost all instructors will be returning as well.

The next several months will be critical to the survival of Macworld. If they cannot secure enough exhibitors by this summer, I can almost guarantee that Macworld 2010 will be the last.


12 Questions About Phil Schiller’s Macworld Expo Keynote: How My Guesses Last Week Jibed With Reality

Phil Schiller Macworld Expo keynote imagesI say that I don’t do Apple predictions anymore, but I’m not above musing about upcoming events and expressing opinions about what could happen. Last week, I did just that for Phil Schiller’s first and last Macworld Expo San Francisco keynote, in the form of a dozen questions and attempts to answer them. Now that it’s come and gone, let’s review the questions I asked, the tentative stabs at answers I provided last week, and what actually happened.

Without any further ado…

1. Will Schiller make reference to the unique nature of his keynote?

What I guessed: Yes. But only to joke briefly at the start and break the tension, which will be oozing through the room when the keynote begins.

What happened: Nothing that I remember other than a very oblique thank-you to the audience at the start. Certainly no wacky schtick or self-effacing humor. And if he mentioned Steve Jobs at all, I’m forgetting it at the moment.

2. Will he get all defensive about Apple’s abandonment of Macworld Expo as of 2010?

What I guessed: Nope. It would be startling if he mentioned it at all.

What happened: No direct reference, but a pretty clear dig when he bragged about the number of customers who enter Apple Stores each week, said “I’m sorry,” and pointed out it was equal to a hundred Macworld Expos.

3. Will he announce anything interesting?

What I guessed: Possibly. Everybody’s assuming that nothing any more pulse-pounding than a refreshed Mac Mini will be unveiled, but I’m not so sure. Steve Jobs might be avoiding the show as much because it’ll be a downer as because there’s nothing of note to talk about. Apple clearly wants to shine more limelight on execs other than Jobs. And hey, it’s not inconceivable that even a new Mac Mini could be cool.

What happened: One Apple fan’s snoozer is another’s blockbuster. News today included the end of iTunes DRM (overdue), the new 17-inch MacBook Pro (presumably once meant to launch with its smaller counterparts and with a sealed battery that will be, ahem, controversial), iWork and iWork.com (which are niche products in the Apple world), and iLife 09 (pretty neat looking). There were more things that people reasonably hoped might be announced–new Mac Minis, new iMacs, a 32GB iPhone, a new Apple TV–than were actually unveiled.

4. Will he announce anything hugely newsworthy–on the level of the Intel transition or the iPhone?

What I guessed: Nah. Surely not. Right?

What happened: He didn’t.

5. Will he follow the Jobs keynote format?

What I guessed: No. I’d think he’d want to mix things up to avoid a point-by-point comparison. So the Jobs outline (impressive stats/minor product introduction/bigger product introduction/One More Thing/Acknowledgment of Apple staffers’ contributions/musical guest) will probably not be Schiller’s template.

What happened: It was more Jobsian than I expected, and came pretty darn close to Jobs outline I reference above.

6. Will he pause to gulp bottled water?

What I guessed: Only for yuks.

What happened: I had my head down so I could furiously liveblog for much of the event, but as far as I know, Phil remained parched. Maybe he had a Sprite backstage during one of his breaks.

8. Will he take questions from the audience?

What I guessed: No. Too dangerous.

What happened: He didn’t (but as far as I recall, Jobs never does at Macworld Expo, either–only at smaller events).

9. Will the keynote attract a Jobsian avalanche of press coverage?

What I guessed: Sort of. For one thing, the lack of Jobs is almost as newsworthy as the presence of Jobs. And expectations for Schiller and for the event in general are so low that it shouldn’t be hard to exceed them. I’m guessing that at least some pundits will decide the event wasn’t as bad as they expected it to be.

What happened: There’s certainly tons of coverage of the keynote today. So far, most of the comment on the product announcements I’ve seen has been anywhere from downbeat to extremely downbeat. I haven’t seen much discussion of Schiller as Jobs substitute, but I thought he was OK. (Actually, it wasn’t unpleasant to have a keynote that was low on reality-distortion–though he did refer to the changes at the iTunes Store as “profound.”)

10. Will there be any surprises?

What I guessed: Maybe. It’s not really in Apple’s interest for its final Macworld Expo keynote to be a completely boring downer of an event. If the company can do anything unexpected and upbeat, it might.

What happened: Schiller did treat the iTunes announcements as a “one more thing,” although he didn’t really engage in the kabuki of a real Steve Jobs one-more-thing announcement. (It was more like “Aw, you know we saved one more thing.”) But I’d say the biggest surprise was the appearance of Tony Bennett at the end. He got the kind of response from the audience they usually give Jobs, and was wonderful. (Schiller was received politely. Very, very politely.)

11. Will Apple hold its own independent “keynote” event?

What I guessed: Yes, as soon as whatever wasn’t ready for Macworld Expo is ready to go, and with Steve Jobs. As soon as in the next couple of weeks, and likely by the end of February.

What may happene: I still think this is a likely scenario, although I don’t know how Jobs’s statement that he’s going to spend the next few months reversing his weight loss plays into this.

12. Who will keynote 2010’s Macworld Expo?

What I guessed: It’s gotta be David Pogue. Definitely David Pogue. And you know, he could be great.

What may happen: I dunno. But I’m doing a post-show interview with Macworld Expo show manager Paul Kent later this week–maybe I’ll ask him.

I maintain that what I was doing last week wasn’t making predictions, so I’m not going to give myself a grade. But I will be back with further thoughts about the event…and would love to hear yours. (Thanks, by the way, to the hundreds of people who attended our live coverage today–I had fun, even if this wasn’t the keynote was a little less than historic.)

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Apple’s Brilliant Video Engineer: Anonymous No More

My favorite moment at this year’s Macworld Expo keynote had nothing to do with any of the products that were unveiled–it was was about the unveiling of a person.

At last year’s Macworld Expo keynote, Steve Jobs waxed rhapsodic about the Apple engineer who had gone on vacation to the Cayman Islands, shot video, and had trouble editing it–and who then invented the all-new, simpler iMovie as a result. He couldn’t have spoken more highly about the guy, but he never mentioned his name. I pinged an Apple contact to ask who this brilliant Apple employee was, and got a prompt and polite note back saying that they wouldn’t disclose his name.

After I wrote about this experience and said that I thought Apple should give its developers some glory–as it did in the early days of the Mac–I got an e-mail from someone who said that the iMovie inventor was surely Randy Ubillos, one of the creators of Adobe Premiere. My correspondent provided some pretty compelling evidence. But I decided not to identify Ubillos as Jobs’ video engineer–not because  I was afraid of ticking off Apple but simply because I had no idea if Ubillos wanted to be identified, and didn’t want to invade his privacy or cause trouble for him.

Today, Phil Schiller devoted a meaningful chunk of his Macworld Expo keynote to an ugrade to Ubillos’s version of iMovie that brings back some of the powerful features that folks missed, and adds some interesting extras like the ability to create animated maps. (Let’s face it: Ubillos may be enormously talented but iMovie 08 received a mixed reception at best, a fact Schiller pretty much politely acknowledged today.) But Schiller, who demoed iPhoto himself, didn’t show off iMovie 09–instead, he brought Ubillos onstage. The software’s creator got to do the demo and receive the applause.

Steve Jobs has often compared computer scientists to artists–and it was a delight to see one such artist get some credit today. May some of this colleagues come into the spotlight at future Apple product launches…


One Last Thing, And It’s About iTunes

I guess Steve has “one more thing” trademarked. Phil wrapped up this years keynote with a little news on iTunes, which involves three things: price, which would now be in three tiers: 69 cents, 99 cents, and $1.29; the ability to purchase music over AT&T 3G; and what we’ve been waiting for, 8 million DRM-free tracks on iTunes from the four major labels, with the entire store DRM-free by the end of the quarter.

More details as we get them..

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17-inch MacBook Pro Coming

Along with the other announcements from what has been a really low-key keynote is a new 17-inch MacBook Pro model. Inside will be Core 2 Duo up to 2.93-GHZ and up to 8GB of RAM. Dual GeForce graphics will be standard as well as a 320GB HDD. Biggest news here? The battery within the laptop is embedded, and non-removable. However, enhancements are making it possible to have an 8-hour battery life and can be charged up to 1,000 times. Phil indicated this is the future for Apple: soon none of its laptops will have removable batteries. No price change will come with this model: it will remain at $2,799.

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More from SchillerNote: iWork.com

Well, if this is it, I have to say this was probably the most boring MacWorld keynote ever, and its probably obvious now why Steve Jobs isn’t giving it. These announcements, save for the work on iLife, are missing any punch.

iWork.com is not a full blown online version of the productivity suite as some had predicted, but instead is more of a collaboration site. Users will be able to upload and download documents from the site, and you can add comments and notes on the document. Multiple people can view and annotate.

The feature launches in beta today as a free service, but eventually will be fee-based, Phil says.

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Second up from SchillerNote: iWork ’09

Phil said he had three things, and honestly so far I’m kinda unimpressed. Well, his next subject is iWork. Here’s what’s being announced here.

Keynote: Will support “magic move” transitions, which are essentially can animate objects between two slides, movement of objects in a 3D space, new text transitions, and so forth. New themes are also available, and Keynote Remote allows the user to employ a Touch or iPhone to control presentations.

Pages: New “full screen view,” new “dynamic outline” feature in Pages, and mail merge with Numbers spreadsheet, new templates.

Numbers: New and improved formulas. Schiller seems to admit that Numbers needed a lot of help in order to make it the primary spreadsheet for people.

Overall, a muted announcement in my book. $79 seperately, $49 when purchased with a new Mac. A family pack option will also be available for $99, and users can get iLife and iWork together for $169, which would be available in mid-January.

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First Up from SchillerNote: iLife ’09

Some neat enhancements in iLife ’09 coming out of the keynote so far. Noteably the enhancements to iPhoto are catching my eye, and come in two new features: Faces and Places.

Faces is actually a face recognition algorithm of sorts. Pictures of the faces of your friends are posted on a corkboard. Clicking on that face will actually search through your photos and attempt to locate all pictures with that person in your photo album. It will even ask for new faces and ask you to identify them so it can automatically categorize them.

Next is Places, which incorporates geotagging into the application, then displays where photos were taken on Google Maps, which is built into the application.

Camera doesn’t support geotagging? No worries, you can do it manually. Other enhancements: uploading of slideshows to iPhones or Touche and direct upload of photos from iPhoto to Facebook or Flickr.

iMovie will get advanced timeline control, and new single click themes. Video stabilization is now built in, and you can create Google Earth-like 3D maps of your travels.

GarageBand is also getting a really cool new feature called “Learn to Play.” On-screen video teachers will help novices learn how to play either the keyboard or guitar, which would teach the basics in nine lessons, each costing $4.99.

One of the lessons? John Fogarty teaching you how to play “Proud Mary.” Call me crazy, but I prefer the Ike and Tina Turner version…

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