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Scenes From a Macworld in Transition

SAN FRANCISCO -- Macworld may be all about the Mac, but it's not all about Apple. So after a quick stop by the Apple booth to clear up a few details left unsaid in the keynote, I spent yesterday afternoon talking to various developers scattered around the Moscone Center to see what they were working on.

* At Apple's booth, I got a quick tour of iWork '09 and iMovie '09. I was told that Apple has been using iWork '09's Keynote program since at least the iPhone 3G's unveiling back in June; got a somewhat veiled hint that, the online component of this package, might allow Web users to edit, not just read, iWork documents online when this online service exits its beta test; and was pleased to learn that iMovie '09 can export a movie project to iDVD, restoring yet another feature that vanished from iMovie in the prior update.

* I stopped by Intuit's exhibit not long after to check out Quicken Financial Life, the long-delayed update to the company's personal-finance program for Macs. This program, when it ships sometime this summer, will act more like online finance managers like Mint, Wesabe and Intuit's Quicken Online.It will default to syncing your records with your bank and credit-card issuers' records, relieving users of the monthly chore of reconciling their records with the bank's. But will users weary of Quicken for Mac's current weaknesses wait that long? The competing, but far smaller developer ICG IGG reported that sales of its iBank program saw a big jump after Intuit announced that Quicken Financial Life wouldn't ship this year as originally planned.

* Google announced the release of a Mac version of its Picasa photo editor the day before Macworld opened -- which now looks like pretty awful timing given the imminent release of Apple's iPhoto '09. The company had a decent crowd at its booth, but on one Mac running Picasa, this photo editor had crashed hard when I stopped by. (The demo gods can be cruel and vengeful.)

* I also devoted a little time to talking to random vendors to ask what they got out of Macworld, and what they'd do if it weren't around anymore -- as seems likely to be the case without Apple to headline the event after this year. The responses I got were all over the map. Some (for example, IGG) sounded disappointed or resigned, but others said they wouldn't mind not having to deal with the hassle of a big event like Macworld (Delicious Monster founder Wil Shipley said he only agreed to do this year's expo after his staff volunteered to set up everything for him). The Web can replace a good chunk of the face-to-face interaction this kind of event allows, but can it replace enough? It looks like Apple developers and customers are going to find out.

Are you at Macworld, or following it from afar? Let me know what's made this show worthwhile -- or not -- in the comments.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  January 7, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Mac , Macworld 2009  
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Next: The End of Macworld (?), The Start of CES


I enjoy Rob's comments about Macworld. It's my only peak into that world. For instance if you are not on the West Coast, you don't get to go. I'd be interested in some "traveling Apple Macworld roadshow" . I've been a Mac enthusiast for several decades now, but have never been close enough to these events to go. Also too, I don't ever think the web will totally replace the need for personal interaction at these events. However, the cost of them might make them dinosaurs in the future. That's what makes the web option so attractive.

Posted by: Agridome | January 7, 2009 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Google should concentrate on perfecting the picasa versions they have... while I support the fact that it EXISTS for linux, the fact that it's basically the windows version running on WINE is less than redeeming. Particularly when you accidently click on "my documents" which still shows up in the file browser windows and crashes the dumb thing hard. If they had developed a true native linux version of picasa it would probably more easily translate into a bsd-friendly osX version.

Posted by: paul_silver_spring | January 7, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Disappointment: Only a MacBook Pro as new hardware. Hello? iMacs? Minis?

BTW, the company that makes iBank is IGG, not ICG. And a review/comparison of iBank to Quicken for Mac would be worthwhile. To be fair, perhaps you should wait until QFL is released. On the other hand, Intuit hasn't been fair by waiting 2+ years to update what was already a dated version of its program.

Posted by: ah___ | January 7, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Intuit's pathetic Mac support and the incredibly poor ability to convert Quicken for Windows data accurately to Quicken For Mac/QFL almost ensures that this Quicken user of 12 yrs. will dump Quicken when I go to a Mac (when I next need a computer).

I'm not going to support that kind of awful allegiance to loyal customers.

The import/conversion is so poor that it won't import reinvested dividends and many many other transactions that are critical to Quicken users, and which I have no intention of spending hours and hours manually entering just to have the privilege of giving Intuit more of my money.

It's either surrender to the dreck that is Quicken/Mac-QFL, or run my existing Quicken 2009 for Windows in parallel on a Mac.

Neither is the solution I want.

Posted by: fendertweed | January 7, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

MacWorld brought those enamored by sleek designs, nifty "cool" gadgets, and the love of a man to the alter at Moscone Center. Carried from near and far, by plane, by bus, by train. The ideology worship mystifies but justifies their expense. Keen well honed religious marketing fueled a war of righteousness. "This is our land!" they screamed as they kiss the mark their god once stood. They play their last game, stroll the aisles one last time, gaze into their logoed bags. "Farewell, my friend," with a tearful eye, "farewell." Then by train, by bus, by plane they ascend far and near never to return, never to return.

Posted by: 1234xyz | January 7, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

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