2007 Expo Special Report #1

Reporter's Notebook: Part I

The events leading up to the keynote

Things have been so hectic here at Macworld Expo in San Francisco that this is literally the first time all week I've had time to sit down and write. Here's how it's gone so far...

After a rollicking band rehearsal with the Macworld All-Star Band on Saturday night, my first official activity in San Francisco was a briefing by Microsoft on Monday morning. Their big news was that the next version of Office, Office 2008 for the Mac will be out in the second half of 2007. And, of course, that it will be a Universal Binary optimized for both PowerPC and Intel processors. Since my 11AM briefing was their first of the day, I was among the first to see the actual software in action. While it's nowhere near final, the demo was still pretty impressive. New Mac-first, Mac-only features like Publishing Layout View and My Day (see pictures below) are primarily aimed at making common tasks, such as creating a cover page, table of contents, header, footer, table, or chart, easier to accomplish. Furthermore, for the first time the Office interface is truly Mac-like, and no longer looks like it was kidnapped from Redmond or Round Rock.

Office 2008 Publishing Layout View: Easier to use and Mac-like, too.

My Day, a new Mac-first/Mac-only addition to Office, makes it snap to see your day at a glance.

While what I saw of Office 2008 for the Mac looks promising, it was hard to get too excited about it given that it won't ship until the second half of 2007.

Since my briefing with the Microsoft Mac Business Unit was my only real "work" on Monday, I had an early dinner with the boys from Backbeat Media and went to bed early, knowing I'd be waking up really early for the Tuesday morning keynote.

Sure enough, at the crack of dawn Tuesday I was outside San Francisco's Moscone Center, waiting to be admitted to the long-awaited Steve Jobs' keynote.

Two hours before the keynote began, the line outside the Moscone Center stretched as far as the eye could see.

Around 7:30AM we were ushered into a holding pen inside the cavernous building where we were sequestered until nearly 8:45AM.

One hour before the keynote began, the line inside the Moscone Center stretched as far as the eye could see.

Then, after milling about in the holding pen for the better part of an hour, we were herded up an escalator and into the main ballroom for the keynote at long last.

The herd on the move to the main event.

I found a comfortable seat in a row with plenty of legroom and made myself comfortable. Shortly thereafter the lights went down and Steve walked onto the stage without fanfare nor introduction, where he was greeted with a thunderous ovation by the faithful.

To be continued...

In the next installment, Reporter's Notebook: Part 2, I'll tell you all about the keynote proceedings and product announcements, and my hands-on encounter with an actual iPhone.