Owen Rubin on Macworld 2010

I must say, I was a bit unsure of just what to expect from this year’s Macworld. All the doom and gloom stories about what would happen to the show now that Apple had pulled out, how it would be dead, and how this might be the last show, all had me wondering if it was even worth attending. In a nutshell, I can easily say yes!

While Apple was quite conspicuously missing from the floor, the loss of Apple at the show did not seem to lessen the energy on the floor itself. It was, in fact, more full of energy than previous shows. Maybe because it was more focused on user’s, and not just another Steve Job’s folly, allowing us little people to peek at his next great toy?

This was also one of the most crowded floor experiences I have seen at a Macworld show ever, and while I have no numbers yet (heard over 30,000 though), it seemed extremely well attended. At times, it was almost impossible to walk up and down the isles (see pictures below.)

As I said, Apple was quite obviously missing, a large stage for presentations sitting were the Apple booth should have been. And the comments from people I overheard speaking about it were all about the same, “Where the hell is Apple?” I must agree, where were they? This is a show of Apple consumers; the ultimate Apple fans, who buy and worship the company and their products. This is one of the biggest collections of Apple products, vendors, developers and fans all collected in one place at one time. If nothing else, Apple should have been there to show support, much less set themselves as the anchor of this show.

But the crowd seemed to move quickly to a “screw them” attitude. New York Times’ Dave Pogue’s gave theThursday key note, and it was full of pokes and prods at Apple and Jobs, including a one-act play with LaVar Burton playing the “creepy vegan megalomaniac” Steve Jobs. The standing room only crowd seemed to appreciate the pokes, and applauded each and every jab. You can see part of it here.

But sadly, I am sure Jobs, and as such Apple, got tired of having to feel like they needed to show something new each year new on the Macworld schedule, so decided to pull out. No one tells Steve how to run his company after all. Yet, he introduced the iPad just one week earlier, so this could have been a big win for Apple and Jobs if they did it at this show. Oh well. Personally, the lack of iPad hype made the rest of the show just that much better IMO, because it was mostly about real products we could touch and hold.

But Apple was not the only big player missing, so where many other regular vendors. Perhaps they believed the show was going to bomb without Apple? I hope they change their minds next year, because this show seemed to be a success after all. The missing, just to name a few: Adobe, Kensington, Intuit, H&R Block, Symantec, Crumpler, Brenthaven, Sonos, Intego, Freeverse, Feral Interactive, Ambrosia, AOL, Fuze, and Roxio, and even some newcomers last year like Rickshaw Bagworks, who should all have been there. Even Digital Chocolate, one of the big iPhone game developers was a no show? Where were these people? Hopefully they will get the message and show up next year.

Kudos to Microsoft, who had nothing new to show, but had a booth to hint about MacOffice 2011 just the same. Kudos to HP, showing strong support for the Mac with a line of new and improved. And Kudos to all the other companies who continue to support this show.

And there were many companies at the show, a lot of stuff to see (although still way too many cases for iPhones!), so here are just a few pictures from my time at Macworld. Look for reviews on some of these products coming in the near future.

HP shows a new $99 all-in-one printer for the home or small office, and an amazing photo printer that also prints directly on CDs or DVDs. Look for reviews in the near future.

Eye-Fi showing a new, larger and faster card

Cool new enclosures from Dura Micro

Tim with a new hat? There is actually an iPhone in the hat which he can see

Tetrax showing a cool little gadget to attach your iPhone to the dashboard.

Lousy cell phone coverage in the home? Try this new device from Wi-Ex

Codeweavers lets your run Windows apps on your Mac without needing Windows at all.

4-Thumbs shows a cool little overlay that makes typing on an iPhone must faster

mophie has a good looking battery extender for your iPhone

A cool new aluminum cases from moshi

CarMD: Attach this to your car’s OBD connector, and it collects info. Then bring it back to your Mac to find out how your car is doing. Look for a review soon.

Cool new Microphone from BLUE.

Armpocket lets you securely attach your iPod or iPhone to your arm when running, jogging, bike riding, or exercising.

ProteMac with new security monitoring tools lets you keep an eye on every detail of every application on your Mac and network.

Hard Candy has some interesting looking cases for your Mac in some very hip colors.

An idea of just how crowded the floor was!

Microsoft was giving a chance to win one of 4 painted MacBook Pros colored in the Office colors.

Thats it for now. If you want more pictures, let me know. Happy to post more.

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