Macworld Expo, Day 1

Yesterday was the opening day of Macworld Expo in San Francisco. The keynote ran from 9:00 to around 10:45 but I did not have a pass for it and considering the extreme interest and attendance, I wasn’t bothered by that. Since registration wasn’t open until after the keynote, I went across the street to the Metreon and followed Engadget‘s live blogging of the presentation.

My take on the announcements? "meh" I like the iPhone upgrade (GPS-like locater, web clips, multi-person SMS, song lyrics, and movie chapters) but am still quite put-out that they still don’t support tasks. I was hoping they were going to discuss the development kit for the iPhone and perhaps bring some vendor out to show a upcoming app, but I suppose that isn’t quite the venue for it.

I am also so-so on the iTunes movie rentals. I really like the concept and while we subscribe to NetFlix, I think we’ll use iTunes occasionally for those movies we don’t want to wait for. Since I am a bit frugal by nature, I would have liked it to be $1.99 and $2.99 (back catalog vs. new releqses) instead of $2.99 and $3.99 and am also disapointed by what has been called the "guy tax" of $1 extra for HD versions (if available). What’s worse, it appears that the HD versions can only be viewed on the Apple TV which leaves my Mac Mini in the SD cold. I’d bet big money that the studios required that restriction so that you can’t easily get to the file to strip the DRM and pirate like everyone strives to do.

Lastly, Apple announced the MacBook Air which is an ultra-light 13" laptop that is quite sexy in person. I have to admit, if I was in the market, I’d strongly consider one but I’m not coveting it. Many have criticized the non-user replaceable battery but having seen the unit in person, I don’t see how they could have made it removable and still keep the laptop thin. The replacement cost for the battery is reasonable, but it’s not clear if it can be replaced at an Apple Store or if it has to be sent in for servicing. Granted, you don’t really need to replace the battery often, but I’d rather not be without a laptop for days to do so.

Other than that, I spent the afternoon in the West hall which is made up of mostly smaller vendors. Some of the highlights include Skullcandy (a vendor of urban tech accessories), Budclicks (clip-on accents for earphones), Fluid Mask 3 by Vertus (alpha mask creation with a unique UI), Blurb (individual softcover and hardcover printing service), and of course Drobo by Data Robotics (a personal RAID device with very impressive features that I’ve been drooling over for a while).

Today, I’ll be hitting the South hall which is the big one. I’ll twitter what I can and do a day 2 wrap up tonight.

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