|Macworld Expo Wrap-Up Report|
January 11, 2002 | Tuncer Deniz
I boarded the plane back to my hometown, sat down, and promptly fell asleep. Macworld Expo was not only fun and exciting, but oh so tiring. But it was worth the trip and I left Macworld with really good vibes about happenings in the Mac market, especially in the games area. There were enough announcements, and enough surprises to keep things interesting.
New iMac = True Game MachineThe highlight of the show was the Steve Jobs keynote. The Master Blaster was at his best showing off the hot new toy, the all-new iMac. And although the verdict is still out on how well the new iMac will do, game developers we talked to couldn’t say enough about the new iMac. For one, the new iMac has enough horsepower to run most of the games available on the Mac thanks to a speedy G4 processor and an NVIDIA GeForce 2 MX graphics chip.
Brian Greenstone of Pangea Software sent me this note shortly after the announcement, “Those new iMac's are actually the first iMacs which are truly game machines. I mean we've had to struggle with the old style iMacs to get games to run well (due to outdated 3D hardware, the G3, insufficient RAM / VRAM, etc.), but these new models should be phenomenal for games. Even the LCD display should help performance because the refresh rate on an LCD is usually around 60hz which lets the 3D accelerator run faster.” How’s that for an endorsement?
On the flipside, I was a bit disappointed that Jobs and company didn’t introduce a speed bumped Power Mac G4 or introduced the Power Mac G5. But hey, Macworld Expo Tokyo is just around the corner, and with any luck, we’ll hopefully be seeing faster Power Macs soon.
What really wowed me, and the rest of the crowd at the keynote, was iPhoto. Like iTunes, iMovie, and iDVD, Apple has created another incredible application to make our digital lifestyle easier. These applications are so useful and powerful that any Windows user would be green with envy. And indeed that’s part of the reason why I think Apple is making these applications. Want to use iPhoto? Get a Mac. Want to play MP3’s and burn them onto a CD with iTunes? Get a Mac.
Having cool hardware is great. But having great applications for the cool hardware is even better. Apple has proven over and over that it is first and foremost, a software company.
Apple and GamesThe gaming area at Macworld Expo was another highlight at the show. The gaming folks at Apple did a fantastic job of coordinating this area. In addition to having five of the big Mac gaming companies, MacSoft, MacPlay, GraphSim, Aspyr, and Destineer, the gaming area featured four rows of Macs that gamers could use to play games. Among the games featured in this area included Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Harry, Potter, Myth III, and more. In one of the rows, Apple invited companies such as NC Soft, Blender, and Sony to show off some of their new wares.
Off to the side, Apple had a pavilion where the gaming companies could go up on stage and talk about their games. The pavilion, and in general, the entire gaming area drew huge crowds. It was always busy and gaming companies were reporting fantastic sales.
There’s no question in my mind that Apple is committed to games. Not only did Apple feature Harry Potter in the keynote, but they also organized the gaming area. Oh, and the party on Wednesday night thrown by Apple just for the gaming folks was also a treat.