SAN FRANCISCO, MACWORLD 2010 — Programmer Bill Atkinson, one of the lead authors of the original Mac system, says the iPad will be a big success — and that you have to play with it to understand the magic of the multitouch interface.
“This guy is going to be a real winner,” he said, holding up a model he’d made for himself to visualize how his PhotoCard app would look on the device. Atkinson took part in Guy Kawasaki’s Friday morning keynote presentation.
“Once you get it in your hands and play with it you don’t want to set it down,” he continued. “I think Apple’s got a hit on their hands here.”
Atkinson said he’d played with an iPad for a couple of hours. It’s not a laptop and its not an iPhone, he said, but an entirely new, third device. The magic is in using your fingers to directly manipulate elements onscreen.
Returning to using a mouse is like using a remote control, he said — clumsy and awkward.
SAN FRANCISCO MACWORLD 2010 — It’s hard to miss the FastMac booth at Macworld. Just to the right of the Expo floor’s main entrance, the growing gadget and peripherals company has a prime space on the first aisle that was chock-a-block with visitors clogging the walkway to peer in at product demos and snap up the company’s awesome Apple-oriented t-shirts on the conference’s opening day Thursday.
We received an exclusive demo of a product FastMac is rightfully excited about — an updated version of its iV extended battery and portable charger that could soon mute some of the widespread criticism of the iPhone’s anemic battery life.
Many products in the extended battery class are clumsy and brickish. Despite their utility they often fall into disuse because they fundamentally alter the sleek and sexy feel of the so-called Jesus Phone. The new iV, which will apparently come in two flavors, the iV Light and an as-yet unnamed version, could make many power hungry iPhone users rethink the proposition.
With a new, super light-weight construction and supple rubber-like feel, the next-gen iVs will come with a full enclosure for 100% protection of the phone in a form factor that barely increases the weight and dimensions of the naked phone.
With a built-in LED light that calibrates with the iPhone’s camera, still and video captures in low-light situations should help elevate iPhone photography to new levels of quality and creativity.
The still-unnamed product, which should be available “soon,” according to FastMac principal Michael Lowdermilk, will incorporate a red LED which, in combination with a free remote control app, will turn an iPhone into a universal remote that can be used to change TV channels, stereo settings and a host of other useful and disruptive functions.
With no looking back, Macworld is clearly moving on in the post-Apple era and companies such as FastMac stand to gain increased attention with innovative products such as the iV — this is definitely a company to watch.
SAN FRANCISCO, MACWORLD 2010 — Graham Clarke, prepress manager at TravelSmith, a travel clothing website, is wandering Macworld in search of software to help him bring offshore jobs back onshore.
Clarke is looking for easy-to-use masking software, which will allow his company to bring a lot of image processing work — currently performed in China at rock-bottom rates — back to the U.S.
Travelsmith processes about 6,000 product images a year. Each has 10 or 15 masks, which are currently processed in China for $10 per image. “It’s very long, boring and labor intensive,” explains Clarke.
“Now it’s like painting,” Clarke says. “It’s so quick and easy, why pay for the labor? If we’re paying someone $10 to do something that takes 10 minutes then it’s time to bring it back in-house. It’s ironic. What work went offshore is now coming back because it’s so easy to do.”
Much to my surprise and delight, the crowds are showing up in droves for Macworld. Though the gates opened just 30 minutes ago, the show floor is already crowded with attendees.
“It’s a zoo up there,” said one paserby who queued up to get an entrance badge.
True, the show is restricted to the Moscone Center’s smaller North Hall (instead of both South and North halls), and it’s not as jammed as some previous opening days, but it’s still a very healthy crowd.
To be honest, I’ve always hated the Macworld show floor. The throngs get old really quick, with people shuffling along in a Magadon dream, bumping you with rucksacks full of crap, or interrupting a briefing with dumb questions.
But still, I’d be sorry to see it go. So best of luck to Paul Kent and co. Long live Macworld!
SAN FRANCISCO, MACWORLD 2010 — Helped perhaps by low expectations, David Pogue’s opening keynote here was a surprising success, playing to a packed, standing-room-only audience and bringing in a steady stream of laughs at Apple’s expense.
Pogue’s keynote was a variety show, with interviews, skits, singing and dancing — and a one-act play starring LeVar Burton as Steve Jobs.
The best thing about Macworld was always the parties. MacWeek’s annual Mac The Knife Party was a drunken bacchanal for the ages; Peachpit and O’Reily put on nice literary soirees with cash bars; and Microsoft’s events always had fancy hors d’oeuvres.
Even Apple, a stranger to shows of public hospitality, once threw parties with generous helpings of food and booze. I got so ploughed at one event, I forgot my heavy laptop bag — computer, camera and all. Apple designer Jonny Ive kindly picked it up and lugged it about all evening until we ran into each other later at a nightclub, and he handed it back.
Macworld 2010 opens today. It is the 25th annual gathering of Mac users. That’s right, 25 years!
But thanks to the absence of Apple this year, this “Mecca for Mac Heads” may be the last. So check it out while you can.
The show runs for 5 days. The Expo showfloor opens on Thursday at noon.
For the first time since the eighties, it now includes a Saturday. Expect big crowds, lots of kids.
There’s 250 exhibitors, down from 400 last year. Here’s the Exhibitor List.
Attendance is expected at about 30,000 visitors. (But most Expo visitors this year got free passes instead of paying the usual $25 fee).
People are hoping this isn’t the last Macworld but consider the history. As Jim Dalrymple notes: “Apple pulled out of Macworld Expo Boston/New York — it failed; Apple pulled out of Macworld Expo Tokyo — it failed; Apple pulled out of Apple Expo Paris — it failed.”