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

Logic Pro X 10.1.1 - Music creation and...
Apple Logic Pro X is the most advanced version of Logic ever. Sophisticated new tools for professional songwriting, editing, and mixing are built around a modern interface that's designed to get... Read more
VLC Media Player 2.2.0 - Popular multime...
VLC Media Player is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, MP3, OGG, ...) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It... Read more
Sound Studio 4.7.8 - Robust audio record...
Sound Studio lets you easily record and professionally edit audio on your Mac. Easily rip vinyls and digitize cassette tapes, or record lectures and voice memos. Prepare for live shows with live... Read more
LibreOffice 4.4.1.2 - Free, open-source...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
Freeway Pro 7.0.3 - Drag-and-drop Web de...
Freeway Pro lets you build websites with speed and precision... without writing a line of code! With its user-oriented drag-and-drop interface, Freeway Pro helps you piece together the website of... Read more
Cloud 3.3.0 - File sharing from your men...
Cloud is simple file sharing for the Mac. Drag a file from your Mac to the CloudApp icon in the menubar and we take care of the rest. A link to the file will automatically be copied to your clipboard... Read more
Cyberduck 4.6.5 - FTP and SFTP browser....
Cyberduck is a robust FTP/FTP-TLS/SFTP browser for the Mac whose lack of visual clutter and cleverly intuitive features make it easy to use. Support for external editors and system technologies such... Read more
Firefox 36.0 - Fast, safe Web browser. (...
Firefox for Mac offers a fast, safe Web browsing experience. Browse quickly, securely, and effortlessly. With its industry-leading features, Firefox is the choice of Web development professionals and... Read more
Thunderbird 31.5.0 - Email client from M...
As of July 2012, Thunderbird has transitioned to a new governance model, with new features being developed by the broader free software and open source community, and security fixes and improvements... Read more
VOX 2.4 - Music player that supports man...
VoxIt just sounds better! The beauty is in its simplicity, yet behind the minimal exterior lies a powerful music player with a ton of features & support for all audio formats you should ever need... Read more

Get The Whole Story – Lone Wolf Complete...
Get The Whole Story – Lone Wolf Complete is Now Available and On Sale Posted by Jessica Fisher on February 27th, 2015 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Who Wore it Best? The Counting Dead vs....
Like it or not, the “clicker” genre, popularized by cute distractions like Candy Box and Cookie Clicker, seems like it’s here to stay. So Who Wore it Best? takes a look at two recent examples: The Counting Dead and AdVenture Capitalist. | Read more »
Card Crawl, the Mini Deck Building Game,...
Card Crawl, the Mini Deck Building Game, is Coming Soon Posted by Jessica Fisher on February 27th, 2015 [ permalink ] Tinytouchtales and Mexer have announced their new game, | Read more »
Witness an all new puzzle mechanic in Bl...
Well, BlastBall MAX is not one of those games and is bucking trends such as timers, elements of randomness, and tacked-on mechanics in favor of pure puzzle gameplay. When you first boot up the game you’ll see a grid made up of squares that are each... | Read more »
This Princess Has a Dragon and She isn’t...
This Princess Has a Dragon and She isn’t Afraid to Useit. | Read more »
Mecha Showdown Review
Mecha Showdown Review By Lee Hamlet on February 27th, 2015 Our Rating: :: IN A SPINUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Mecha Showdown replaces traditional buttons with a slot machine mechanic in this robot fighting game,... | Read more »
Reliance Games and Dreamworks Unveil Rea...
Reliance Games and Dreamworks Unveil Real Steel Champions Posted by Ellis Spice on February 27th, 2015 [ permalink ] Reliance Games and Dreamworks have announced that a third game in | Read more »
Sum Idea Review
Sum Idea Review By Jennifer Allen on February 27th, 2015 Our Rating: :: TAXING NUMBERSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Sum Idea is a fairly charming but taxing puzzle game.   | Read more »
A New Badland Update Brings Daydream Lev...
A New Badland Update Brings Daydream Levels to Co-Op Posted by Ellis Spice on February 27th, 2015 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Slashing Demons Review
Slashing Demons Review By Lee Hamlet on February 27th, 2015 Our Rating: :: IT'S A LONG WAY TO THE TOPUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Slashing Demons lacks the depth or scope to take it beyond the point of being just... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple CEO Tim Cook to Deliver 2015 George Was...
Apple CEO Tim Cook will deliver the George Washington University’s Commencement address to GWU grads on May 17, at which time he will also be awarded an honorary doctorate of public service from the... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished Mac minis for up t...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 Mac minis, with models available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz... Read more
Save up to $50 on iPad Air 2s, NY tax only, f...
 B&H Photo has iPad Air 2s on sale for $50 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $469.99 $30 off - 64GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $549 $50 off - 128GB iPad Air 2... Read more
16GB iPad Air 2 on sale for $447, save $52
Walmart has the 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi on sale for $446.99 on their online store for a limited time. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale price for online orders only,... Read more
iMacs on sale for up to $205 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ iMacs on sale for up to $205 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 21″ 1.4GHz iMac: $1029 $70 off - 21″ 2.7GHz iMac: $1199 $100 off - 21″ 2.9GHz... Read more
Apple Takes 89 Percent Share of Global Smartp...
According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone operating profit reached US$21 billion in Q4 2014. The Android operating system captured a record-low 11 percent global... Read more
New Travel Health App “My Travel Health” iOS...
Rochester, Minnesota based Travel Health and Wellness LLC has announced that its new iOS app help safeguard the user’s health when traveling abroad — “My Travel Health” is now available on the Apple... Read more
Sale! MacBook Airs for up to $115 off MSRP
B&H Photo has MacBook Airs on sale for up to $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 11″ 128GB MacBook Air: $799 100 off MSRP - 11″ 256GB MacBook Air: $999 $100... Read more
15-inch 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pro (refurbishe...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished previous-generation 15″ 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pros available for $1489 including free shipping plus Apple’s standard one-year warranty. Their price is... Read more
Wither The iPad mini? End Of The Road Imminen...
AppleDailyReport’s Dennis Sellers predicts that the iPad mini is going to be left to wither on the vine, as it were, and then just allowed to fade away — a casualty of the IPhone 6 Plus and other... Read more

Jobs Board

Sr. Technical Services Consultant, *Apple*...
**Job Summary** Apple Professional Services (APS) has an opening for a senior technical position that contributes to Apple 's efforts for strategic and transactional Read more
Event Director, *Apple* Retail Marketing -...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global engagement strategy and team. Delivering an overarching brand Read more
*Apple* Pay - Site Reliability Engineer - Ap...
**Job Summary** Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.