The view from Macworld iWorld 2012


It’s the ultimate Apple/Mac geek fest — the annual Macworld conference in San Francisco’s Moscone Center….this year re-named “Macworld iWorld” to emphasize the role that the internet now has. There was fear a few years back that Apple (who chose to stop attending the conference) would sound the death knell for Macworld — far from. There were more exhibits this year than ever. The emphasis on music, art, and writing increases yearly, and the even has become a “must attend” for Mac geeks like myself.

So, what did things look like this year? Well, there was a much larger emphasis on apps than in the past, for all versions of iOS (iPhone, iPad, and Lion). There was also a significant decrease in hardware presence, and much more on software. Xerox and HP, for example, while maintaining booths really had trouble attracting visitors — most flocked to the nearby scanner displays instead (Scansnap was doing swift business). Let’s face it — when was the last time you actually printed a photo instead of sharing it with friends by email, iPhone, or Facebook?  There was also a heavy emphasis on social events — evening parties, concerts, jam sessions heavily geared toward tech support folks who know what phrases like “the grapefruit is pink” means…

There was also a de-emphasis on the servers/work stations hardware, and much more emphasis on iPad/iPhone accessories (the ubiquitous iPhone and iPad cases, bumpers, and hard shells were omnipresent, ranging from the superb to the deranged).

What stood out? Well, folio keyboards for the iPad were big — and had huge draws. Zagg had a strong presence, and they were selling their iPad 2 zagg folios at discount….myself, I went directly for the new clamcase for iPad 2 and am waiting for its delivery in a few days — see

Input devices were also big — there were two separate pen/paintbrush-type styli for the iPad and iPhone and both even won best in show 2012 – check out the Jot Touch pen, for example — these were selling like hotcakes right off the floor…    But it wasn’t just limited to physical input — microphones for the iPhone and iPad were also hot this year, and several won best in show honors.

Want to see possibly the most jaw-dropping new application ever?….and its free on iTunes — check out TourWrist for iPad….it’s seriously the most amazing photo software you could imagine, creating 360 degree panoramas that look drop dead gorgeous on the iPad.

Also a big breakthrough — Smile software has adapted it’s PDFpen software for Mac to the iPad — PDFpen will allow Mac users to finally say goodbye to Adobe forever — something that didn’t go unnoticed at Macworld/iWorld — there was no Adobe presence at the conference at all.

Finally — and this is always a big part of Macworld — there was the camaraderie — thousands and thousands of Apple Mac fans found a place to share all that tech geek knowledge; nobody thought twice about meeting new friends with a simple “what’s your favorite app?”; and Moscone Center came to life with the world of iPhones and iPads and Lions…and nobody blinked when a Mac geek from Ann Arbor got up on stage on the second floor concourse and helped jam to some Coldplay songs on a iPad-keyboard while others from Iowa, Berkeley, and San Jose jammed on their iPad “guitars”…although ultimately it did remind me of that classic “HIMYM” scene in which Barney eggs on Ted who is dancing a rain dance with a “still funny….still funny….and now it’s just sad.”




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