MWNY 01: Go2Mac's Show Picks

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Date: Sunday, July 22nd, 2001, 16:39
Category: Archive

Here it is folks: all the best toys at Macworld, as selected by your hard-working Go2Mac correspondents. BookEndz for the new Apples, lots of portable drives and combo drives, and high-powered scanners: it’s all here.

Here it is folks: all the best toys at Macworld, as selected by your hard-working Go2Mac correspondents. BookEndz for the new Apples, lots of portable drives and combo drives, and high-powered scanners: it’s all here.

In software, a bolt-of-lightning award goes to Apple for Mac OS 10.1. Although it won’t be released until September the major upgrade gets our nod for serious speed improvements in the finder, faster application launching, DVD playback, data CD authoring and a bunch of user interface improvements. Apparently, the version being shown on the six machines in the Apple booth (10.1, 5D15) was older than the version that Steve Jobs demonstrated during his keynote address.

Portable users, rejoice: at this show, when it comes to third party products, the ‘Books ruled. For starters, MCE Technologies had a slew of new drive products. If you’re a Pismo/Lombard user, or if you’ve recently upgraded and have your old drive modules sitting around collecting dust, MCE has developed a stackable FireWire expansion bay drive dock which turns modules into a bus-powered external FireWire device. The drive dock ships August 1.

MCE’s Transport Pro portable FireWire hard drives are also now shipping. I got my hands on one of these drives, and they’re very slick: extremely light (8.8 ounces) and small and in an attractive silver case. They’re available in 0G (kit), 10G, 20G, 30G, and 48G sizes and will work with OS X.

Many of us hoped the Titanium would get a DVD/CD-RW combo drive at this Expo, and Apple didn’t deliver. Well, MCE has one-upped Apple by shipping two combo drives. The Xcaret Pro expansion bay drive for the PowerBook G3 99/2000 (Lombard/Pismo) and 98 (Wall Street) means that if you haven’t upgraded to Titanium yet, you can actually make your PBG4-owning friends jealous by getting both DVD movie playback and CDRW when we can’t! (MCE was demonstrating this drive playing back Crouching Tiger without a hitch.) The drive comes with Toast and a carrying case and is iTunes/Disc Burner compatible. For the rest of us, MCE also had beautiful “Lucid” FireWire external drives with a slim portable silver and transparent plastic housing, available in about a month in either 4x4x6x24 DVD-CDRW combo for an estimated US$399 or 8x8x24x CD-RW (estimated US$349) versions.

The new Micro Adapter PBG4/iBook 2001 power adapter from Madsonline wins the Jason O’Grady Random Sexy Gizmo of the Show award for this Macworld. This power adapter is so slim and light and so sexy with its Titanium-colored detailing and L-shaped plug that we just can’t resist it.

Also cool and Titanium-colored: Counter Design’s new ultra-compact “Pack n’ Go” MiniMouse PRO Ti, shipping for US$34.95 MRSP.

To satisfy still more drive lust, LaCie was on-hand with its own wave of announcements. Its PocketDrives have been upped to 35MB/s performance (7200 RPM) and expanded to a maximum 48 GB capacity, making these your best choice for high performance. Also in the portable category, LaCie has a new PocketDVD-ROM drive for both FireWire and USB and a silicon bumper for CD-RW prices: just US$299 after $30 rebate. Lastly, LaCie announced that its FireWire DVD/CD re-writable drive will support Apple’s DVD Studio Pro.

BookEndz docking stations are back, now a division of Minnesota-based Photo Control Corporation. A docking station for the PowerBook G4 is already shipping in black (US$229.95) or silver (US$244.95). The docks work like previous BookEndz, attaching to the back of your ‘Book and replicating all its ports instantly, even IRDA. BookEndz also had a beautiful ice-colored iBook BookEndz docking station prototype. The iBook dock is quite compact, thanks to the fact that the iBook’s ports are clustered over a small area. The price is slimmer, too: estimated at US$160 when it ships in the fall.

Moving out of the portable area, EPSON has pumped up its consumer scanners to a whopping 2400 x 4800 DPI with the EPSON Perfection 2450 PHOTO. The drive comes supports either USB 2.0 or FireWire. Estimated street price: US$399. EPSON also introduced the Perfection 1650 series (1600 x 3200 DPI, 48-bit), US$199 for the Perfection 1650 or US$249 for the 1650 PHOTO, street, available in early September. A 1250 and 1250 PHOTO model will be available in early September for US$129 and US$149, respectively, at 1200 x 2400 DPI, 48-bit color. Now the really good news: all the scanners will ship with OS X support, which apparently earned them a place in the Apple Booth at Macworld!

Griffin was on-hand with two new audio products: PowerWave and PowerMate. The PowerWave is a USB recording and playback adapter with integrated digital amplifier (powered via a separate power supply) which was powering a pair of unpowered speakers and rockin’ its end of Javits. (And, yes, during the demo a neighbor did stop by and ask Griffin to turn the volume down!) The PowerWave features both mini and RCA ins and outs via the same Phillips chip in Griffin’s iMic (and Roland’s UA-30 USB audio interface, incidentally). Expected street price, US$99, due in September.

Griffin also had my personal favorite piece of hardware at the show: the PowerMate, a USB-based silver knob. What’s so great about a knob, you ask? This one lets you control volume in applications like iTunes, for starters, and is programmable so that you can control anything from scrubbing audio and video to controlling live music performance applications via turning the knob, pushing the knob like a button, or pushing and turning. The silver metal PowerMate feels terrific, and has a cool blue light that pulses during sleep and dims and blinks when adjusted. Expected street price, US$45, also due in September.

Since we’re not quite ready to let the “Macworld high” wear off, stay tuned to Go2Mac for additional follow-up coverage and photos. And if we missed any products you think are noteworthy, send me an e-mail and set us straight.

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