Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Review of the MacWorld Expo

Last week, the annual MacWorld Expo was held at Moscone Center in San Francisco. Everything I read prior to attending the Expo made it sound like a letdown, and in some ways it was, primarily due to the fact that Apple (AAPL) was not participating. The exhibit hall seemed less than half the size of previous shows.

I'm not just talking about the lack of freebie giveaways. Last year I got an iPhone cover which retails for $25 and an H&R Block (HRB) tax preparation software CD which retails for about $30, both as free giveaways, and much, much more. This year, I was lucky to get a couple pens. (By the way, H&R Block didn't return this year.)

What i am referring to is the reduction in the variety of exhibitors (less than 250), and the number or attendees. Even the overall energy level seemed to have dropped over previous years.

But the exhibitors that were there still tried their best. One of the major vendors was IBM (IBM) surprisingly. But maybe not so surprising, as Apple is moving more into the business world. Other large firms exhibiting include American Express (AXP) , Cisco (CSCO), Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ), Microsoft (MSFT), Motorola (MOT), VMware, Inc. (VMW), Western Digital Corp. (WDC), John Wiley & Sons Inc. (JW-A), and Xerox (XRX).

The New York Times Company (NYT) was there also, trying to push trial newspaper subscriptions. Talk about old technology. I really like The New York Times online, I just don't believe in printed newspapers any more.

The area with the most activity was the apps section, which took up a small footprint of the total floor but was very crowded with visitors looking for the latest and greatest applications for their iPhones. The one that impressed me the most was the Business Card Reader. This great app allows you to take a picture of a business card with your iPhone 3G and it immediately imports the contact information into the appropriate fields of your iPhone address book. It even recognizes French, German, and Spanish. The app currently is on sale for only $4.99 as part of the MacWorld Expo special. It is designed for the iPhone 3G or older models with a macro lens attachment.

iPhone and iPod accessories seemed to be the overall de facto theme of the Expo as there were dozens and dozens of accessory vendors, selling everything from recharging battery packs, iPhone covers, skins, and earphones.

I still enjoyed the Expo, and the smaller size did have its advantages. I was able to check out every exhibitor at least once or twice within just a couple hours.

Author owns AAPL, MSFT.


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