Confessions of a MacWorld Expo Virgin

I’ve been waiting for this week with as much anticipation as the next mac geek, but I’ve probably been more nervous than most since this was my first time attending the MacWorld Expo. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Was I going to be laughed at for being such a MWE noob? Was I supposed to wear my black turtleneck? I just didn’t know what I was getting into.
But being back at home now, and having a few hours to digest both the keynote this morning and the exhibits this afternoon, I thought I would share some of my first impressions of the expo.

1. iPod MacWorld Expo: After making my first loop around the various booths, I couldn’t help but look down at my badge holder to see if I was at the right expo. Everywhere I turned there were iPod excessories. Some of them cool and unique, but most of them just knockoffs of each other. Seriously though, do we really need 5,000 iPod cases to choose from?
2. The Apple Booth: I appreciated that the Apple booth, which consists of two stages that look exactly like the Keynote stage, constantly repeated the keynote address highlights. Since I wasn’t there for the keynote, I enjoyed hearing a less highly-paid Apple employee describe and demo the features of the iPhone or the Apple TV. And then being able to literally turn around and play with it myself (in the case of the Apple TV at least) was awesome!
3. The Apple TV: I was looking forward to more details about the iTV like everyone else, but I was a little peeved to learn that I “need” a widescreen TV to get the iTV to work correctly. Now, some have mentioned that all you need is a TV that can handle a progressive-scan DVD player, but what about the millions of Americans who have good ‘ol “regular” TVs? Are we left in the dark – unable to partake of the Apple fruit? I’m feeling a little left out…
4. TivoToGo: I was extremely excited to hear the news that Tivo had finally released TivoToGo since I just received a Tivo for Christmas a few weeks ago. However, that joy quickly faded when I realized that the service was really provided by Roxio – forcing me to purchase Toast 8 for something PC users can do for free. I spoke with the Roxio booth personnel about how the TivoToGo feature worked within Toast 8… but I quickly found that nobody really knew! According to the three employees I spoke with, you needed to buy Tivo’s wireless dongle as well as Toast, but nobody really knew because not one person I spoke with had actually tried it. I was a little suprised that a company like Roxio wouldn’t let the employees who are promoting the software to actually try it out first. After looking at Roxio’s website, I don’t see any requirements for the wireless dongle as long as your Tivo is connected to your network, so we’ll see if the booth promoters were right or not.
5. The Digital Lifestyle Experience: Down the hall from the frenzy at the exhibit booths is a new feature for the expo called the “Digital Lifestyle Experience”. But I don’t think anyone knew about it. Or maybe I walked in during a lunch break or something. The only thing I know for sure is that there were very few people in the hall, and that the “experience” was very disappointing. For example, the “gaming experience” was nothing more than a few iMacs running a small number of games and about a dozen iPods ready to play Sudoku and Texas Hold-em. There wasn’t anything there that was going to convince me, or any other consumer, that the Mac is a legitimate gaming platform.
6. Wow! Having never been to a MacWorld Expo before, or any expo for that matter, I was simply blown away by the whole experience. It was awesome to see so many people passionate about something interacting with each other, helping each other learn, and just enjoying the company of fellow mac geeks.