Macworld Expo 2006 Impressions

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 17th, 2006, 09:36
Category: Macworld Expo

I spent a couple of days on the show floor this year. Here are some observations:
* The show is almost completely dominated by iPod accessories, ranging from “things you can plug your iPod into” (including cars) to various kinds of iPod “luggage.”
* Almost lost in all the frenzy around the new Intel-based Macs was Apple’s announcement of the iPod Radio Remote, a very cool device that adds FM tuning to your iPod (with dock connector). It even supports RDS so you can see the station name and the title of the song. Not bad for a $50 dongle!
Read more…


I spent a couple of days on the show floor this year. Here are some observations:
* The show is almost completely dominated by iPod accessories, ranging from “things you can plug your iPod into” (including cars) to various kinds of iPod “luggage.”
* Almost lost in all the frenzy around the new Intel-based Macs was Apple’s announcement of the iPod Radio Remote, a very cool device that adds FM tuning to your iPod (with dock connector). It even supports RDS so you can see the station name and the title of the song. Not bad for a $50 dongle!
* The MacBook is here (almost). Apple has taken the Intel leap and added and removed a few interfaces in the process. The modem is gone, as has been widely reported and debated, but honestly I have to admit that it has been a while since I had to use one. And: the Apple USB modem dongle is no bigger than a pack of gum, you just have to remember to put one in your bag! In the short term, I think people will be more bothered by the replacement for the PCMCIA slot, now a called Express/34. There are currently VERY few cards available for this format, but that is bound to change over time as vendors jump on the Express bandwagon.
I have a much greater concern about the MacBook: battery life. This machine clearly draws MORE power than the equivalent PowerBook. The battery is larger in capacity and the AC adapter is now 85W compared to the 65W adapter for the PowerBook. The new adapter is also larger. Apple has (for the first time I think) announced a new portable computer WITHOUT specifying the battery life, claiming that they have not yet finished testing. This is worrying. I had hoped that Apple would take advantage of the greater “performance per watt” chips and give us a laptop which had equivalent or slightly greater speed than the PowerBook with MUCH greater battery life. Instead they chose to give us a monster powerhouse which they claim runs 4 times faster! My only “hope” is that there is some way to tune down the processor to trade performance for longer battery life. On the road, I tend to use my PowerBook for simple tasks such as e-mail and web browsing, so this speed increase is of little use to me. I am sure there are many other travellers who use their machines in a similar fashion.
This brings me my pet peeve about Apple portables: they are not very portable in comparison to the rest of the market. The new MacBook still weighs a hefty 5.6 lbs. Apple really needs to consider introducing a lighter, smaller machine, what Jason calls the “NanoBook” or PowerBook Nano.

Recent Posts