The 2012 Macworld Expo isn’t what it was five or six years ago but it still pulled in the Apple faithful to ogle the latest Apple-related products and knick-knacks.
The show is redefining itself as iWorld to promote a focus on iOS devices iPhone and iPad – and the Macintosh itself was certainly relegated to the periphery despite its continuing rise in traditional computing market share.
Anything to do with Apple is popular right now. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a revival of the Lisa in the coming months.
In the old days the Macworld show would kick off with a bang and a clutch of booms, during the keynote address by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Queues for the prized tickets to these grandstand announcements would start to form in the early hours of the morning, and media would scramble for VIP tickets to get the best views of whatever Apple was showing off for the first time there.
Even in the dark days of Apple’s depression every January Macworld Expo would be squeezed into the two giant North and South Halls of the San Francisco Moscone Center. And there’d be enough for a second Expo on the East Coast that summer.
After Apple pulled out of the show a few years back Macworld Expo has trimmed itself to just one of those halls, and later to the smaller Moscone West – where it remains today.
The bigger Moscone halls were home to the Photonics show, an expo based around lasers and biomedical optics. Comparing both shows you’d think that it was lasers that dominated 21st century tech, not Apple.
While the show itself is much smaller the booths at the 2012 Macworld and iWorld Expo were crowded on Day One.
Apple, of course, was not there, and nor were old Expo stalwarts such as Adobe, Canon, Epson and Quark. But HP had a stand up front, and Xerox had a few tables at the back.
The demographic of the show goers doesn’t seem to have changed much. Among the throngs of casually dressed Mac fans and iPhone-toting newbies were the usual mobility scooters, wide bottoms and pony tails.
If Apple had sneaked into the show to see what was going on it would have been pleased with the interest these attendees showed in just about every booth. People were out there buying real product, not just gazing at the unattainable.
Head of Apple design Jony Ive would have hated it, though. Every one of his lovingly designed products was covered, wrapped up and generally disguised with a raft of snap on, seal-up cases and covers. Nothing was missed.
iPhone and iPad cases were available in every hue and skin. There was even a choice of sports balls to disguise the Apple tablet.
You could attach the iPhone to any form of transport.
And there were some vehicles parked inside.
How to charge your iPhones, and other iOS devices.
Don't get your iPad or iPhone wet, the Apple Genius said. But there were several exhibitors showing off waterproffing solutions.
How about an iPhone case with a built-in bottle opener?
Check out these speakers. They look expensive, don't they?
They are - but that's the price for the uniqueness, isn't it?
They made the stuff at Bang & Olufsen look quite reasonable.
At the other end of the scale were these cute Star Wars USB flash memory sticks.
Hey, HP were exhibiting at Macworld, too. Good for them.
And, er, a trampoline - for people in skis, and iPod headphones.
We liked the new Zagg keyboards and cases for the iPad.
And the iPro Lens attachments for the iPhone, including this fisheye lens.
Some of the product names were a bit off-putting though. Here's Andy Shalat's Willy WIlly iPhone charger case...
... which could be attached to the iDangle or iPole.
Macworld iWorld returns to San Francisco next year, January 31 – February 2, 2013. More of the same expected.