Macworld 2009: Day 1 First Impressions

I am currently at Macworld and have been since the keynote. One of the questions asked frequently by those who are not attending is “So, how is it compared to previous Macworld Expos?”. Of course many of these inquiries are fueled by the fact that Steve Jobs did not deliver the kick off keynote and because Apple has publicly stated that they will not be attending Macworld in the future. Considering that I have attended two expos in the past here are my first impressions.

It looks like the less than ideal news about the future of Macworld has not dampened the spirits of many of those who wanted to attend. Although I noticed a lot of people with signs or t-shirts saying “Bring Back Steve” the keynote by Phil Schiller was very well received. The lack of new hardware updates was a bit of a let down considering Apple did what was expected by announcing the new 17 inch Macbook Pro. Many had hoped for at least a new Mac Mini or the hopeful surprise. Although the new upgrade features to Apple’s iLife and iWork suite are significant and incredibly cool, one of the most talked about revelations is the death of DRM in the iTunes music library. We knew it would come someday.

Regarding vendors at the exhibit hall, there are plenty. I have been interviewing a number of vendors throughout the day and haven’t had the opportunity to see everything yet, but it seems like the vendors at this year’s event are better than ever. In previous years, many of the booths were reserved for the plethora of headphone, case, and accessory makers. Of course this was sprinkled in with the many Mac software companies and Apple themselves. This year I am seeing a lot of video related companies (both hardware and software), iPhone application developers, and other innovative products for the home and office. 

So far I have been pretty impressed with a number of companies like Ipevo, Microvision’s Pico Projector, and locally owned and operated Rickshaw Bags who has created a unique experience for customizing laptop bags. 

I am capturing plenty of video and will share more soon. Until then, I am interested what you have heard about the first day of Macworld and the “Jobs-less” keynote.

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