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First Time Macworld Trip Report

MWSF Wrap-Up - First Time Macworld Trip Report

by , 3:15 PM EST, January 16th, 2006

Ever wonder what it's like to visit one of the Macworld expos? Wonder no more. Michael Johnston has outlined his first visit to Macworld Expo and the Apple campus in Cupertino.

Monday morning we headed to the Moscone centre to get our badges and then headed out to Cupertino to see the Apple campus.

We took CalTrain out to Sunnyvale and grabbed the bus to Cupertino. As I approached Infinite Loop, I took a few snapshots and a nice woman working for Apple made a comment on my picture taking. Shrugging it off I proceeded to the front entrance in Building 1, but the security guard prevented me from going in without an employee.

Remembering the woman who made the comment on my picture taking, I asked if she would take me on a tour of the campus. She agreed to the tour, and we started through the first security checkpoint. Hanging from the ceiling was an enormous iPod Nano poster. The thing was the biggest Nano I've ever seen. The room I was in faced the interior outdoor campus. Inside the room were couches and comfy chairs where employees could take breaks and use the 'Net. To the right was a food bar where you could get snacks and beverages.

The Apple employee took us outside to see the campus and all the buildings that made it up. The building we had just come out of was Building 1, where Steve Jobs works. We walked across the campus and looked around in the cafeteria.

On the way out we stopped at the Apple Company Store, where I picked up some Apple logo gear. We were also treated to a ride on the Apple shuttle to the train station back to San Francisco. On the shuttle we kept our ears open to hear some secrets, but they all censored their speech. We would hear things like "Well, when I was working on it today, the 'mmhmm' started acting up and I had to take the "mmhmm" and do "mmhmm" with it."

When we got back, we enjoyed the Inside Mac "Death by chocolate" party. A Macworld party is different from any other party you've been to. It's essentially a bunch of Mac nerds hanging around, talking about Macs and general nerddom. There was even a Mac trivia contest with prizes.

Tuesday was the day of the big keynote address from the CEO of Apple and Pixar, Steve Jobs, and the place was packed. We got there around eight and waited 'til ten 'til nine to get in.

As you probably know by now, the keynote included things such as the status of the company retail sales numbers and state of iPod. There was a new version of iLife with themes featuring drop zones for better looking iMovies. The new version of iPhoto got a larger library and photocasting via .Mac. The new version of GarageBand helps with podcast creation and podcast enhancement. The newest addition to the iLife suite is iWeb, a blogging and over-all web-publishing tool based on iLife and uses your .Mac account for hosting. An all-around great new iLife.

Steve updated us on the progress of the transition to the Intel line and Paul Otellini then appeared from a cloud of white smoke. Dressed in a clean room "bunny suit," he presented Steve with a silicon wafer of Intel chips with the message, "We're ready." The reply from Steve was that Apple is also ready. With the stage set, the new iMac, this time featuring the Intel Core Duo chip, was unveiled.

After the iMac was shown, we got the famous "One more thing..." Steve reiterated the struggles Apple has faced in attempting and ultimately failing to bring the G5 to the PowerBook line. He then unveiled the newest addition to the Apple portable line, the MacBook Pro.

After the show, I made my way up to the mob around Steve asked for the signature. Unfortunately, as he looked around at the crowd, he said "Not right now... find me later." Yea, no problem, I'll just meet him back at his house and have a cup of coffee with him while I'm at it. So I gave up on any further nagging and made my way around the front of the room.

There I saw senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, Phil Schiller, senior vice president of hardware engineering, John Rubenstein, and vice president of Apple Computer's Industrial Design, Jonathan Ives. I was able to get a photo of Ives and had a few words with him about the iPod. I also asked him if he could sign my iPod, but he respectfully declined saying that he "felt weird about doing it because there were so many others on the team that helped with its creation." Sounds like a canned line to me.

I went down to the Apple booth and started walking the exhibition hall. In the hall there were tons software and hardware developers were there. Most all the exhibitors had something interesting they were displaying, but just walking through without talking to them would never do any of them justice. One thing that really surprised me was the vast gaming community on the Mac. In my mind the Mac was never really a "gaming computer," but I was wrong

The trek to "Apple Land" was well worth it and is highly recommended to any Mac enthusiast. The expo was great. The most prominent products were those for the iPod, but there were many other third party items in the show. It's an amazing experience.

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