I attended the Macworld tradeshow that just wrapped up in San Francisco. This was the first of these put on without Apple’s participation, and the show lacked the excitement that usually accompanied a big announcement from Steve Jobs.
For this to make sense, its important to realize that the Macworld tradeshow isn’t put on by Apple, but rather by IDG. Still, Apple participated heavily for decades, kicking the show off with a keynote address that almost always including a big announcement — the iPhone was unveiled there in 2007, for example.
In 2008, though, Apple announced that it was pulling away from Macworld. In 2009, Steve Jobs didn’t do the keynote address. And this year there was no direct participation at all.
Apple said it was making this move because it wanted to be able to control the timing of its product announcements — but it must have been frustrating for the organizers of this tradeshow that Apple decided the best time to unveil the iPad was just a few days before their event.
As a result, the tradeshow was missing something. Attendees once came in speculating on what Apple would announce, then go off to discuss the new product, and in many cases head off to buy one. Not this year. There was definitely some discussion of the iPad, but it wasn’t anything different from what has been going on since this tablet computer was unveiled two weeks before.
Social networking apps are a dime a dozen, but one of the best I’ve seen so far is Friend Focus. Instead of creating a new service, this takes your information from Facebook and presents it in a better way than the standard app.
Its best feature is probably displaying posts and comments together as a threaded list, but automatically blocking spam posts from the silly Facebook apps is a close second.
Friend Focus is available for free — it’s adware. It can be downloaded from the Focused Apps website.
Moodagent is the other iPhone app I was glad to find at Macworld. It’s a music player that creates playlists from your collection based on your current mood.
You set some sliders for how you feel — angry, sad, excited, etc. — and Moodagent will create a 25-song playlist that matches that mood.
This is another free app, and it can be downloaded from the Syntonetic website.
There were about 20,000 attendees at this year’s Macworld show. For comparison, in 2007 — the last year Steve Jobs made a big announcement at this show — there were 45,500 attendees.
There will definitely be a Macworld next year, January 25 – 29. But I’m wondering if this show can survive without Apple’s active participation.