Thoughts on iPodWorld SF 2006

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Last week I was able to attend MacWorld SF 2006 at the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco. I’ve been lucky enough to attend the last 3 MacWorlds in SF, thanks to my proximity to San Francisco. It’s all Location, Location, Location!

I would say that my 1st SF show was my favorite. For that show I used all my extra cash and bought myself a ticket to the Keynote. That was kind of cool, to see Steve Jobs showing off new products, new software, etc. In fact, everyone in attendance walked out of the keynote with free software: Keynote – the PowerPoint like presentation app that was developed specifically for Steve. Now of course, Keynote is bundled with Pages as part of the iWork suite of software.

Last years MacWorld was pretty great too, the iPod Shuffle was announced, as was the iMac Mini. Two worthwhile mac products. The mini wow’ed everyone!

This year we were treated to the new Intel powered flat panel iMac and Mac Book Pro. The Mac Book Pro was a surprising product and a great look at what is coming down the line for Mac portables.

That, and updates to iWork, and iLife. iWork has updated Pages and Keynote versions. Pages is now at v2, and Keynote is at v3. iLife had major updates to iPhoto, iDVD, iMovie, GarageBand – now your complete PodCasting studio, and a new addition: iWeb. iWeb is touted as a web builder for everyone… Well, we’ll see!

So, with all these new products and new software updates why is it that I’m thinking that this MacWorld was the least enjoyable one yet?

Is it that I’m getting jaded?
Is it that I’m getting spoiled?

No, its not really those things, its the iPod. This years MacWorld pretty much should have been called iPodWorld. I would say that well over 50% of the Expo floor was dedicated to iPod cases and accessories. It was pathetic. iPod this and iPod that. And these complaints from an iPod lover! I go to MacWorld to see the new and creative Mac stuff. Stuff like new hardware, new software, new ideas!
The first MacWorld I went to was the 2001 MW in NY, and I was blown away. One software company completely wow’ed me: Toon Boom with their new animation app called Toon Boom Studio. I found my favorite OS enhancement at MW 2004: You Software with their You Control. Great stuff there. This year? Not much. Not much at all. iPod cases. iPod fm tuners. iPod cases, and some iPod cases. Apple has built a huge product opportunity by making their iPod easy to scratch.
To not end on a negative tone, I did find a couple of things to be happy about at this years

iPodWorld MacWorld:
Canon i9900 Photo Printer. This is a 13×19 edge to edge color Photo Printer. The output is gorgeous. This printer seemed to me to be the best of the bunch for the cost. At Amazon I’ve seen it for just under $420.

Gefen HDmate – Not yet released, but this little switcher will let you play your XboX 360 on your Cinema Display, and switch between the XboX, an HD DVD player, an HDTV tuner, and your Mac. Very cool!

LightZone – A new photo editing application that lets you forget about all the technical aspects of pixels and channels and lets you focus on composition and tonality instead. I saw a brief demo of the application and was quickly impressed. They have a free 30-day demo at their site. If you do any digital photography, its worth playing with.

LightRoom – Adobe’s answer to Apple’s Aperture. What’s great about LightRoom is that it runs on current technology, and it’s fast on my 1ghz TiBook. I’ve installed Aperture on my dual 2.7 ghz G5 and its still feels a bit sluggish, LightRoom does not. but then LightRoom isn’t as sexy…

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