TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Feb 99 Viewpoint

Volume Number: 15 (1999)
Issue Number: 2
Column Tag: Viewpoint

Macworld '99 Trip Report

by Marshall Clow

Guess what? It didn't rain!

This January, 68,000 Macintosh fanatics, fans, developers, retailers, friends and others descended upon San Francisco's Moscone center for the annual Macworld Expo. Compared to the last few Macworlds that I have attended (New York 1998, Boston 1997, and San Francisco 1997) this was an "upbeat" Macworld. There were no sideways looks between the exhibitors, no quiet conversations about Apple's possible demise. It clear that their were a lot of exhibitors who had never been seen at a Macworld, even before and show management announced that both attendance and the number of exhibitors had increased from last January's show.

Apple announced new desktop hardware. The new G3s are faster, and can hold more memory than before. They are styled differently, too. [From now on, I'll call the new Macintoshes the "blue Macs".] The blue Macs are visually striking, and are very easy to take apart. However, like the iMac, the blue Macs have different I/O ports than previous Macs. They still have an ADB port (although you should expect that to go away fairly soon). There are IEEE-1394 (FireWire) and USB ports on the motherboard. There are no serial ports, and there is no SCSI port. You can add a third party SCSI card to a Blue Mac, and, in fact, the Apple Store has one as a "build-to-order" option. If you do order a SCSI card (and I'm guessing most developers will) be sure to make sure you can boot from it.

To match the blue Macs, Apple introduced new monitors, styled to match the blue Macs. There is a new 20" monitor, a 17" monitor, and the flat screen. A small nit: It appears that the 20" monitor requires a blue Mac, because all the controls for the monitor are USB-based, and Apple has stated that these monitors require a computer with USB on the motherboard.

It was also announced that iMacs would now be available in different colors. There was a lot of speculation as to whether Apple's choice of colors came from LifeSavers or Jello. In any case, the new iMacs are faster (266 vs. 233 MHz) and cheaper ($1199 vs. $1299) than the old iMacs. Apple had a beautiful display in their booth, with all the different color iMacs in a row, on a table that was lit from below. In my opinion, this was a great move by Apple. If computers are now commodity items (as I keep reading), then they should be distinguishable by style as well as features. All over the show floor, people were talking about what color iMac they were going to get.

SGI was showing (in a room off the show floor) their new flat panel display. It is, without a doubt, the most beautiful computer screen that I have ever seen. It is about 18" diagonally, and has a resolution of 1900 x 1024 pixels. The picture is sharp, colorful, and there is no flicker at all. The screen weighs only 8 pounds (the stand it comes with weighs another 8 pounds). The screen comes with a video card with 32 MB of RAM. What's the bad news? The screen and card together cost $2895. Maybe if I don't eat for a year or so...

USB hardware was everywhere. See the section "USB hardware" for a laundry list.

Connectix shipped "Virtual Game Station", an emulator for the Sony PlayStation. This was the most talked-about piece of software at the show. One of the really cool parts of this product (in my opinion) is that they used Apple's Input Sprockets for their game controller support. That means that any joystick/game controller/whatever that is Input Sprocket-aware can be used with VGS (those of you writing drivers, take note!)

Apple announced Mac OS X server. This will ship in February and cost about $1000. Apple announced after the show that Select partners would be able to purchase the server at a reduced cost (cost to be determined).

Apple announced "NetBoot", a facility for booting Macintoshes over the network. This feature, which school lab administrators have been wishing for since 1986, will allow them to ensure that every system in the lab has the same configuration. Unfortunately, this feature will only work with the iMacs and the blue Macs.

There were four different pavilions for small or first-time exhibitors. The "Net Innovators" pavilion was for exhibitors showing network tools, while the "Web Objects" pavilion showcased products built with WebObjects. "Sci-Tech" pavilion was the place to be for people seeking scientific software and of course Developer Central was filled with people showing developer tools. Apple also had a large area devoted to game manufacturers, and held game-playing contests during the show.

USB Hardware

Clearly USB was a central theme at the show. I was amazed at the number of companies that were building/developing/showing USB hardware at the conference. Apple has been working hard to evangelize hardware manufacturers to support USB (of course, the success of the iMac helped, too!) I counted over 30 companies with USB products (and I'm sure I missed some).

I saw mice (at least 6), "scrolling mice" (these have wheels on the side to help you scroll), trackballs, keyboards, keypads and graphics tablets. I also saw lots of game controllers, and joysticks. There were USB devices to read SmartMedia cards and Compact Flash cards (both used in digital cameras). There were several USB cameras, both the single-shot kind, as well as the "frame every few seconds" kind. There were USB hubs everywhere (I counted at least nine different manufactures with hubs).

There were floppy disk drives, Zip/Zip250 drives, and iMation drives. A company called CastleWood was showing a drive called the ORB. The drive holds 2.2 GB, and the cartridges will retail at about $30. They were not shipping the drive at the show, so I can't tell you much more about the drive, but they claim that they will have EIDE and SCSI models as well as USB.

Epson and HP were showing printers connected via USB, albeit through a USB -> serial or USB -> parallel adapter. Brother showed a laser printer that connected directly via USB. Epson, Alps, Afga and Avision showed USB scanners. There were USB-connected hard disks, CD drives, and even a CD-R writer.

Adapters were everywhere. USB -> serial, USB -> parallel, and USB -> SCSI seemed to be the most popular, but there were also USB -> PCMCI and USB -> Ethernet adapters. I saw at least two USB smartcard readers. PCI cards for adding USB to your current Mac were also common. I counted 5 different companies showing them.

At this point the iMac (and the blue Macs) are better connected than my current Mac!

As a developer, I am greatly encouraged by this flood of new hardware. I have a couple of ideas for products that use some of this hardware. I'm confident that if you think about it, you will come up with some cool product ideas too.

Many attendees were surprised that there were no PowerBook announcements from Apple. All the attention was on the blue Macs and the iMacs. Guess that leaves something for next quarter.

Besides the wave of USB hardware, the best thing about the show was the atmosphere. People were happy again about being in the Macintosh business. Customers at the show were buying both hardware and software, and that bodes well for the future of Macintosh developers.

I hope too see you all in Boston, when Macworld happens again (east coast style).


Marshall Clow is a programmer. He has worked for Palomar Software, Hewlett-Packard, and Aladdin Systems. Among other things, he has written PICT Detective, Aladdin's Resource Compression Toolkit, and way too many resource-processing tools. He currently works for Adobe Systems, where his title is "Bad Influence". When he's not coding, he can be found mountain biking with his kids or checking out microbreweries. He can be reached at mclow@mailhost2.csusm.edu.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Monosnap 3.4.0 - Versatile screenshot ut...
Monosnap lets you capture screenshots, share files, and record video and .gifs! Capture Capture full screen, just part of the screen, or a selected window Make your crop area pixel perfect with our... Read more
Tweetbot 2.5.3 - Popular Twitter client.
Tweetbot is a full-featured OS X Twitter client with a lot of personality. Whether it's the meticulously-crafted interface, sounds and animation, or features like multiple timelines and column views... Read more
Default Folder X 5.1.6 - Enhances Open a...
Default Folder X attaches a toolbar to the right side of the Open and Save dialogs in any OS X-native application. The toolbar gives you fast access to various folders and commands. You just click on... Read more
Evernote 6.12.3 - Create searchable note...
Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at anytime, from... Read more
Geekbench 4.1.2 - Measure processor and...
Geekbench provides a comprehensive set of benchmarks engineered to quickly and accurately measure processor and memory performance. Designed to make benchmarks easy to run and easy to understand,... Read more
Carbon Copy Cloner 5.0.2 - Easy-to-use b...
Carbon Copy Cloner backups are better than ordinary backups. Suppose the unthinkable happens while you're under deadline to finish a project: your Mac is unresponsive and all you hear is an ominous,... Read more
BetterTouchTool 2.305 - Customize multi-...
BetterTouchTool adds many new, fully customizable gestures to the Magic Mouse, Multi-Touch MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad. These gestures are customizable: Magic Mouse: Pinch in / out (zoom... Read more
calibre 3.8.0 - Complete e-book library...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
BetterTouchTool 2.305 - Customize multi-...
BetterTouchTool adds many new, fully customizable gestures to the Magic Mouse, Multi-Touch MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad. These gestures are customizable: Magic Mouse: Pinch in / out (zoom... Read more
calibre 3.8.0 - Complete e-book library...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more

The best new games we played this week -...
It's pretty much been one big release after another. We were privy to a bunch of surprises this week, with a lot of games we'd been waiting for quite some time dropping unexpectedly. We hope you're free this weekend, because there is a lot for... | Read more »
Stormbound: Kingdom Wars guide - how to...
Stormbound: Kingdom Wars is an excellent new RTS turned card battler out now on iOS and Android. Lovers of strategy will get a lot of enjoyment out of Stormbound's chess-like mechanics, and it's cardbased units are perfect for anyone who loves the... | Read more »
The best AR apps and games on iOS right...
iOS 11 has officially launched, and with it comes Apple's ARKit, a helpful framework that makes it easier than ever for developers to create mobile AR experiences. To celebrate the occassion, we're featuring some of the best AR apps and games on... | Read more »
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of...
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice 1.00.00 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.00.00 (iTunes) Description: ************************************************※IMPORTANT※・Please read the “When... | Read more »
Kpressor (Utilities)
Kpressor 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Utilities Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: The ultimate ZIP compression application for iPhone and iPad. - Full integration of iOS 11 with support for multitasking.-... | Read more »
Find out how you can save £35 and win a...
Nothing raises excitement like a good competition, and we’re thrilled to announce our latest contest. We’ll be sending one lucky reader and a friend to the Summoners War World Arena Championship at Le Comedia in Paris on October 7th. It’s the... | Read more »
Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story...
Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Another Lost Phone is a game about exploring the social life of a young woman whose phone you have just... | Read more »
The Witness (Games)
The Witness 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $9.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: You wake up, alone, on a strange island full of puzzles that will challenge and surprise you. You don't remember who you are, and... | Read more »
Egg, Inc. guide - how to build your gold...
Egg, Inc.'s been around for some time now, but don't you believe for one second that this quirky clicker game has gone out of style. The game keeps popping up on Reddit and other community forums thanks to the outlandish gameplay (plus, the... | Read more »
The best deals on the App Store this wee...
Good news, everyone! Your favorite day of the week has arrived at last -- it's discount roundup day! This fine Wednesday evening we're gathering up the hottest deals on the App Store. We've got action platformers, we've got puzzle games, we've got... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Looking for a 2017 12″ Retina MacBook? Save $...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 12″ Retina MacBooks available for $200-$240 off the cost of new models. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free.... Read more
Apple Offering Up To $455 Credit Toward iPhon...
iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are now available at the Apple Store, and you can receive up to $375 credit toward a new iPhone purchase when you trade in your eligible smartphone. Photo Courtesy Apple Just... Read more
AnyTrans Offers iOS Users Three Ways For Movi...
iMobie Inc. today announceed AnyTrans v6.0.1, which now can help iOS users move all data to iPhone 8/8 Plus seamlessly. The software is available both on Mac and Windows and fully able to move all... Read more
Snag a 13-inch 2.3GHz MacBook Pro for $100 of...
B&H Photo has 2017 13″ 2.3GHz MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for $100 off MSRP, each including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: – 13-inch 2.3GHz/128GB Space Gray MacBook... Read more
Verizon offers new iPhone 8 for $100-$300 off...
Verizon is offering the new iPhone 8 for up to $300 off MSRP with an eligible trade-in: • $300 off: iPhone 6S/6S Plus/7/7 Plus, Google Pixel XL, LG G6, Moto Z2 Force, Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 edge/S8/S8... Read more
Apple Refurbished 2017 13-inch MacBook Pros a...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 13″ Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today and available for $200-$300 off MSRP. A standard Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is... Read more
OWC USB-C Travel Dock with 5 Ports Connectivi...
OWC have announced the new OWC USB-C Travel Dock, the latest addition to their line of connectivity solutions. The USB-C Travel Dock lets you connect its integrated USB-C cable to a Mac or PC laptop... Read more
Pelican Products, Inc. Unveils Cases For All...
Pelican Products, Inc. has announced the launch of its full line of cases including Voyager, Adventurer, Protector, Ambassador, Interceptor (for the Apple iPhone 8 and 8 Plus backwards compatible... Read more
$100 off new 2017 13-inch MacBook Airs
B&H Photo has 2017 13″ MacBook Airs on sale today for $100 off MSRP including free shipping. B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: – 13″ 1.8GHz/128GB MacBook Air (MQD32LL/A): $899, $100 off... Read more
Apple restocks Certified Refurbished 13-inch...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $719 and 2016 models available starting at $809. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Development Operations and Site Reliability E...
Development Operations and Site Reliability Engineer, Apple Payment Gateway Job Number: 57572631 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Jul. 27, 2017 Read more
Specialist - Retail Customer Services and Sal...
The position listed below is not with Tennessee Interviews but with Apple , Inc. Tennessee Interviews is a private organization that works in collaboration with Read more
Specialist - Retail Customer Services and Sal...
The position listed below is not with South Carolina Interviews but with Apple , Inc. South Carolina Interviews is a private organization that works in collaboration Read more
Behavior Technician with *Apple* Consulting...
The position listed below is not with Washington Interviews but with APPLE CONSULTING Washington Interviews is a private organization that works in collaboration Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.