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

Duplicate Annihilator 5.8.3 - Find and d...
Duplicate Annihilator takes on the time-consuming task of comparing the images in your iPhoto library using effective algorithms to make sure that no duplicate escapes. Duplicate Annihilator detects... Read more
MarsEdit 3.7.10 - Quick and convenient b...
MarsEdit is a blog editor for OS X that makes editing your blog like writing email, with spell-checking, drafts, multiple windows, and even AppleScript support. It works with with most blog services... Read more
WALTR 2 2.0.9 - $39.95
WALTR 2 helps you wirelessly drag-and-drop any music, ringtones, videos, PDF, and ePub files onto your iPhone, iPad, or iPod without iTunes. It is the second major version of Softorino's critically-... Read more
Paperless 2.3.9 - $49.95
Paperless is a digital documents manager. Remember when everyone talked about how we would soon be a paperless society? Now it seems like we use paper more than ever. Let's face it - we need and we... Read more
Adobe After Effects CC 2017 14.1 - Creat...
After Effects CC 2017 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $19.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous After Effects customer). The new, more connected After Effects CC... Read more
Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2017 11.0.2 - Digi...
Premiere Pro CC 2017 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $19.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous Premiere Pro customer). Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2017 lets you edit... Read more
ExpanDrive 5.4.4 - Access cloud storage...
ExpanDrive builds cloud storage in every application, acts just like a USB drive plugged into your Mac. With ExpanDrive, you can securely access any remote file server directly from the Finder or... Read more
Apple Final Cut Pro X 10.3.1 - Professio...
Apple Final Cut Pro X is a professional video editing solution.Completely redesigned from the ground up, Final Cut Pro adds extraordinary speed, quality, and flexibility to every part of the post-... Read more
Apple GarageBand 10.1.5 - Complete recor...
The new GarageBand is a whole music creation studio right inside your Mac -- complete with keyboard, synths, orchestral and percussion instruments, presets for guitar and voice, an entirely... Read more
Yummy FTP Pro 1.11.14 - $29.99
Yummy FTP Pro is an advanced Mac file transfer app which provides a full-featured professional toolkit combined with blazing speeds and impeccable reliability, so whether you want to transfer a few... Read more

Super Mario Run dashes onto Android in M...
Super Mario Run was one of the biggest mobile launches in 2016 before it was met with a lukewarm response by many. While the game itself plays a treat, it's pretty hard to swallow the steep price for the full game. With that said, Android users... | Read more »
WarFriends Beginner's Guide: How to...
Chillingo's new game, WarFriends, is finally available world wide, and so far it's a refreshing change from common mobile game trends. The game's a mix of tower defense, third person shooter, and collectible card game. There's a lot to unpack here... | Read more »
Super Gridland (Entertainment)
Super Gridland 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Entertainment Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Match. Build. Survive. "exquisitely tuned" - Rock Paper Shotgun No in-app purches, and no ads! | Read more »
Red's Kingdom (Games)
Red's Kingdom 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Mad King Mac has kidnapped your father and stolen your golden nut! Solve puzzles and battle goons as you explore and battle your... | Read more »
Turbo League Guide: How to tame the cont...
| Read more »
Fire Emblem: Heroes coming to Google Pla...
Nintendo gave us our first look at Fire Emblem: Heroes, the upcoming mobile Fire Emblem game the company hinted at last year. Revealed at the Fire Emblem Direct event held today, the game will condense the series' tactical RPG combat into bite-... | Read more »
ReSlice (Music)
ReSlice 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $9.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Audio Slice Machine Slice your audio samples with ReSlice and create flexible musical atoms which can be triggered by MIDI notes or... | Read more »
Stickman Surfer rides in with the tide t...
Stickson is back and this time he's taken up yet another extreme sport - surfing. Stickman Surfer is out this Thursday on both iOS and Android, so if you've been following the other Stickman adventures, you might be interested in picking this one... | Read more »
Z-Exemplar (Games)
Z-Exemplar 1.4 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.4 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
5 dastardly difficult roguelikes like th...
Edmund McMillen's popular roguelike creation The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth has finally crawled onto mobile devices. It's a grotesque dual-stick shooter that tosses you into an endless, procedurally generated basement as you, the pitiable Isaac,... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple Ranked ‘Most Intimate Brand’
The top ranked ‘”intimate” brands continued to outperform the S&P and Fortune 500 indices in revenue and profit over the past 10 years, according to MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2017 Report, the largest... Read more
B-Eng introduces SSD Health Check for Mac OS
Fehraltorf, Switzerland based independant Swiss company- B-Eng has announced the release and immediate availability of SSD Health Check 1.0, the company’s new hard drive utility for Mac OS X. As the... Read more
Apple’s Education discount saves up to $300 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free: -... Read more
4-core 3.7GHz Mac Pro on sale for $2290, save...
Guitar Center has the 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro (MD253LL/A) on sale for $2289.97 including free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Their price is a $710 savings over standard MSRP for... Read more
128GB Apple iPad Air 2, refurbished, availabl...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 128GB iPad Air 2s WiFis available for $419 including free shipping. That’s an $80 savings over standard MSRP for this model. A standard Apple one-year warranty is... Read more
13-inch 2.7GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 2015 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina Apple MacBook Pro on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro (MF839LL/A): $... Read more
Laptop Market – Flight To Quality? – The ‘Boo...
Preliminary quarterly PC shipments data released by Gartner Inc. last week reveal an interesting disparity between sales performance of major name PC vendors as opposed to that of less well-known... Read more
IBM and Bell Transform Canadian Enterprise Mo...
IBM and Bell Canada have announced they are joining forces to offer IBM MobileFirst for iOS market-ready enterprise applications for iPad, iPhone or Apple Watch. Bell, Canada’s largest communications... Read more
Otter Products is Closing… For a Day of Givin...
On Thursday, Feb. 9, Otter Products is closing doors to open hearts. In partnership with the OtterCares Foundation, the company is pausing operations for a day so all employees can volunteer with... Read more
15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
Amazon has 2015 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pros (MJLQ2LL/A) available for $1799.99 including free shipping. Apple charges $1999 for this model, so Amazon’s price is represents a $200 savings. Read more

Jobs Board

Senior Workstation Administrator - *Apple*...
…with extraordinary HR. QualificationsJOB SUMMARY/OVERVIEWThe Senior Workstation Administrator - Apple supports the mission of TriNet by providing advanced level Read more
Intermediate *Apple* macOS Systems Integrat...
**Position Summary:** SC3 is actively seeking an Intermediate Apple macOS systems integration administrator that will be responsible for providing Apple Mac Read more
*Apple* & PC Desktop Support Technician...
Apple & PC Desktop Support Technician job in Los Angeles, CA Introduction: We have immediate job openings for several Desktop Support Technicians with one of our Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (Multi-L...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.