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MacWorld 2010

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I had the opportunity to make the annual pilgrimage to San Francisco for the convention known as MacWorld. This year signaled a new era in the history of the show as Apple and Steve Jobs were no where to be found. Apple made the decision last year to pull out of the trade show to schedule their own time table for product releases. As a result, the show was noticeably smaller but the vibe of the Mac following is still going strong.

I arrived at the show bright and early to attend the “keynote” presenter David Pogue of the New York Times. If you’re not familiar with Pogue, I highly recommend checking out his writings about technology. He has a very unique perspective that isn’t the nerdy tech speak you’ll find on most technology blogs. He has a music background and was once a conductor before entering writing for the New York Times. His hour long keynote today (which was usually Steve Jobs signature opening for the show), was billed “Late Night with Pogue” using the talk show format made famous by Letterman and Leno. He used the opportunity to spoof current trends in technology using song parody (“Apps…I did it Again”), hawk his book on Twitter use, and interview the people behind “Autotune the News” a YouTube Sensation. As a surprise, he brought on an actor with credible geek cred, Levar Burton, from Star Trek, Roots and my childhood favorite, “Reading Rainbow.”

Best of Show – MacWorld 2010

I had an opportunity to attend the Best of Show session that highlighted the best new innovations for the Mac platform for the year. Here are the highlights and some thoughts

  • SkyVoyager app: This is a very cool application you can download in the App Store. It is a astronomy map that uses the iPhone 3GS’s compass and GPS features to give the user an augmented reality based view of the night time sky so you can name planets and constellations. There are other apps in the store that do a similar job but this app has a very easy to use user interface and includes a feature called SkyFi that allows you to connect your iPhone to a telescope (with additional cables). Using your iPhone to point out the various constellations will then send commands to your telescope to aim its sights on stars in question. It is executed very impressively. If you’re a stargazer, this app is definitely for you.
  • Paper Show: This is a presentation tool that uses special paper, pen and a bluetooth USB dongle. In a simple phrase, it will allow you to present Powerpoint on steroids. The pen has a tiny digital camera attached to the tip and using the special paper provided, it will track all of your writing and transmit your input, via the bluetooth USB dongle, to your computer. This way, you can overlay any writing, diagrams or comments from your paper and have it directly on top of your presentations on screen. The demonstration during the show provided many great applications for business presentations or for teachers in the classroom.
  • Inklet : This is a graphics software that enables your Mac touch pad to become a tablet. Using that small rectangular space, you can use a stylus to make fine, precise drawings and lines or even your finger to jot notes. For $25, not a bad software suite for the graphic designer.
  • Microvision ShowWX: This was my personal Best of Show. Microvision was on hand to demonstrate a pocket laser pico projector. In layman’s terms, this gadget is a pocket sized projector that you can hook up to your iPod, iPhone or any device with a video output and display on any surface. It’s great for the business person on the go that needs to make presentations or for simply sharing videos and pictures with friends. The image quality is amazingly bright and clear. Here’s a demo video:
  • Quickofice: This is an iPhone app that brings together popular cloud based storage services into one application. It uses services like Evernote, MobileMe, and Box.net. If you’re unfamiliar with these programs, they are online sites that you can sign up and upload documents like word docs, spreadsheets and presentations that you can then access from anywhere you have internet access. In this case, once uploaded, you can pull them to view on the go with your iPhone or iPod Touch. The simplicity here is the need for just one iPhone app that can store all of your important docs for on the go viewing and editing.
  • Yapper: Want to make a iPhone app? There’s also an app for that! Using the Yapper online creator, you can create your own native mobile app without knowing any coding or programming. Once on the site, you designate your content and design and the makers of Yapper will program the application for you. But it’s done for a fee. MacWorld week special is only$99 for your own app.

The absence of Apple definitely was felt as the show floor was noticeably smaller this year than in years past. It didn’t stop the loyal Apple enthusiasts as booth after booth were hawking their products and showing off the latest and greatest in Apple accessories and applications. One area I was particularly interested in was the mobile applications showcase. There were many cool new apps on display and this space will only continue to grow as the App Store continues its trajectory.

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Written by kietchieng

February 11, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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