A few thoughts from macworld:
– The new small powerbook is really cool. It feels like a slightly refined 12″ ibook covered in aluminum. The 867Mhz processor and 640Mb of ram made it feel much faster than my G4/400 with 256Mb of ram. The only downside was the total lack of a PCMCIA slot. I know it’s a tiny machine and all, but it’s the fastest way for me to transfer images off my compact flash card (I could use USB, but it’s slower and requires me to lug a big card reader around).
– The 17″ powerbook is huge, feeling like the upper limit of how big a laptop should ever go. At almost twice the weight of the tiny powerbook, it also felt hefty. Although it’s only 1″ thick, when you open that huge lid, it’s like unfolding a sunday newspaper, or a x-large pizza box. The huge screen was nice, feeling a lot like one of their cinema displays welded to a laptop.
– The new iApps looked good, as did Keynote. Final Cut Express didn’t appear too vastly different than the Pro release, perhaps the limitations are in the menus and options when importing and exporting. Still, it’s a shame the new iMovie and iPhoto weren’t ready in time for the show, I really want to give them a try. If I was more of a leet linux hacker and had different ethics, I would have opened a terminal on a demo machine, gzipped the new apps, and sent them to my server (I wonder if they do anything to prevent that kind of thing?).
– I stopped by the Panic Software booth to pick up a free CD (which was a 3″ mini-CD ringed in plastic to appear normal CD size, it was really slick). After getting a copy from the co-founder, I remarked how much I like the Transmit program and asked if I could get a free shirt in exchange for recently registering it (they were giving them away for registrations that day). He asked for my name to look it up, and I told him. He asked if I was the same guy that ran MetaFilter, asked to shake my hand, then got me a shirt. We talked briefly about some bugs I’d found in the product and I was on my way. That was the first time anyone outside of a web conference has ever recognized me, and it was totally freaky. Weird.
– I don’t know how on earth Apple did it, but their macworld conference appeared recession-proof. I went to the 2000 show and last year, and I’d say the amount of exhibit space appeared equal to the 2000 macworld. So while web conferences that once filled multiple exhibit halls but now can fit comfortably inside a regulation basketball court, somehow Apple’s marketing machine has kept them at the same levels these past few rocky years. There were even giveaways for a new Hummer from Microsoft and a Mini from Macromedia. What year do they think this is? 1999?