Under the Radar: Apple at NAB

After four days at NAB I've noticed that even though Apple wasn't at the event, they certainly had a profound impact on the people that were there. I'm not talking about the Macs that were visible at so many of the booths; I'm talking about all of the iPhones and Apple laptops attendees had.

I noticed almost immediately after arriving at the expo on Monday that there was a surprisingly high concentration of iPhones in the crowds. So many, in fact, that it felt almost like I was back at Macworld Expo again. Sure, there were tons of Blackberrys, but the number iPhones was just crazy.

Since so many people come to NAB from outside the United States it stands to reason that many of the iPhones came from other countries, too. Turns out I was right, and I even got to play with an iPhone from Italy. It was unlocked and jailbroken since the iPhone isn't officially available in Italy yet. Yes, it was cool to play with, and seeing a VoIP app in action on the smartphone was just great.


The media center at NAB had a surprisingly high concentration of Macs as well. While the usual collection of MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and MacBook Airs were scattered throughout the room, there were also quite a few iBook G4s. The pre-Intel Macs were chugging right along and serving their users admirably.

On a side note, I noticed that the Macs tended to be clean, while the PC laptops tended to be grungy and dirty. Considering the small cross section of the human species I was watching, I don't feel comfortable saying that Mac users are clean and PC users need to take a bath. Feel free to use that information as you please.

The expo itself didn't have a consistent hustle and bustle feel Wednesday afternoon. I'll attribute that to the fact that some attendees were heading home and couldn't stay any longer. Some booths were completely dead, while others seemed packed and overflowing.

There were, however, still plenty of great things to see. Bug.tv made quite an impression on me, and the Blackmagic Video Recorders from Blackmagic Design looked pretty cool, too.


Get this: the Blackmagic Video Recorders connect to your Mac via USB, then suck the video from pretty much any device you connect to them, convert the content for your iPod, iPhone, Apple TV, or Mac, and it all happens with a couple of mouse clicks.

NAB isn't a Mac or Apple-centric show, but you could still feel the Cupertino presence. There was a kind of Apple vibe both on and off the floor, and that tells me Apple's mainstream status has moved beyond the iPod to include the Mac and iPhone, too.