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January 4th, 2000

[2:30 PM] MACWORLD Expo: Warm-Up Rally hints at 17" iMac, Updates to MacOS, and Confirms that Users Hate The Round Mouse
by John F. Braun

Continuing a tradition that started at last year's MWSF show, a Warm-Up Rally was held this morning, before the official start of the Expo. Several notable Mac personalities spoke about exciting things to look for at this year's Expo, plus some of their own commentary.

The first speaker was David Pogue, who approached the podium with his snappy tangerine iBook. After a groaner of a joke about Y2K food and Y2-quesadillas he had the other night, he started things off by taking some well-deserved jabs at several past news sources predicting the death of Apple. This included Alsop predicting Apple's demise in Time, the New York Times predicting the demise of Apple, Fortune saying that Apple was a bad investment (we happy stockholders know better), Wired saying that Apple should stay away from hardware, and Business Week saying that Apple is a has-been. A snappy magic trick demonstrating the Apple timeline, and involving the cutting and joining of a rope representing this timeline rounded things out.

Steve Snell from Beatnik then took the stage. Beatnik is the company run by Thomas Dolby. Yes...the Thomas Dolby famous for, "She Blinded Me with Science." Steve pointed out that the Mac is the most popular platform used for music creation and editing. He mentioned several conference sessions dealing with MIDI, mixing, and the future of "sonified" sites. Steve also noted that Thomas will be giving a presentation during the show.

Next was Bob Levitus. He started off things with the ever-popular audience survey, and we came away with some interesting statistics:

Percent who think Windows and Bill Gates is Evil : 100%
Percent who own either an iMac or iBook : 50%
Percent using Mac OS 9.0 : 75%
Percent who hate the round mouse : 100%

Next was the "What's Steve Gonna Say Tomorrow" survey. Among the more popular rumors:

17" iMac
Consumer version of OS X
Mac OS 9.01/9.1
QuickTime 4.1
New Keyboard and Mouse
New PowerBook Models
Multiprocessor G4

He then graded Apple's performance on several fronts:

Stock Performance : A++
Product Introductions: A++
Tech Support : D
Documentation : D (although he sells more books this way)
Apple Store (except for G4 fiasco) : B
New "Silver" Look of QuickTime and DVD Player : D
User Friendly as a Company : B
Steve Jobs : A++

Andy Baum, product manager Final Cut Pro, announced that version 1.2 is now shipping. Among the new features are PAL support, JKL (keyboard) control, Commotion DV tool for free, Media Cleaner EZ for free, and localized versions in Japaneese, French and German coming Real Soon Now. He talked about several sessions related to what many are now calling "desktop video". With the advent of the new iMacs, the promise of "desktop video" may be as great as that of desktop publishing.

Sandee Cohen brought her own square mouse, as opposed to the round hockey puck. It was actually an older ADB mouse. She spoke about the future database-driven web site publishing, using FileMaker or some other database backend.

Finally, Andy Ihnatko spoke, and admitted that he has finally gotten over his hatred of Apple. This was probably at a high when Apple stock was at an all-time low of 12 3/8. He wanted to comment on how this would be MWSF Plus 4, since it is four years since our pal John Dvorak predicted that the 1996 MacWorld Expo would be the last one held in San Francisco. As far as how Apple users should be behaving, last year was one of pride, this year should be one of a little bit of wrecklessness and arrogance. He also took a chance to beat up on our friends at Microsoft, and pointed out a recent ad talking about the future of eBooks, using this wonderful font technology that Microsoft had come up with. Two problems...first is that this technology was invented by Woz on the venerable Apple II, and second, the form factor of this eventual electronic book was pretty much that of the ill-fated Newton.

Stay tuned for more information from MACWORLD Expo, and be sure to check out our MACWORLD San Francisco 2000 Special Report.

MACWORLD Expo 2000 Special Report

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