Highlights from Macworld Expo 2011

May 12, 2019 by  

by Larry Grinnell

Author’s note: I recently discovered a number of blogs I wrote when attending the Macworld Expo event in San Francisco in 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2012. Here are the ones I’ve found thusfar.

There were three big news items in the Apple world last week: First, Steve Jobs announced he’s going on another leave of absence for health reasons. Second, Apple’s latest quarter again broke all records, leaving Apple swimming in money, which also calmed concerned investors to some extent regarding Steve’s hopefully temporary departure. Third, was the big Macworld Expo 2011 Conference in San Francisco. I’ll be focusing on the Macworld Expo in this article.

So, other than the buzz at the Moscone Center regarding Steve Jobs’ health, the focus was on new products from the sea of companies catering to Macintosh and iPhone/iPod/iPad users. One of the biggest announcements was actually a follow-up to the big news that Verizon is now officially the second cellular carrier that is authorized to sell iPhones. The data plans are far too complicated for me to describe here, but as I understand it, pricing is competitive with AT&T, plus the advantage of a more extensive data network that shouldn’t let users down when they are in a big city with a lot of other iPhone/iPad users.

As usual, the show was overwhelmed with vendors of various cases and accessories for iPhones and the new iPad. One reporter was really amazed at the sheer number of products available for the iPad, considering it’s only been on the market for less than a year. Accessories included the ubiquitous cases of every size, shape, and variety. One really interesting case, as noted by one of Macworld Magazine’s Best of Show awards, was the Zagg ZaggMate with keyboard $99 product includes a built-in Bluetooth keyboard. When you stand the iPad on the ZaggMate, you have an iPad laptop. When you’re finished, place the iPad face-down into the ZaggMate, and use it as a protective aluminum.

TenOne Design Fling: The Fling ($30 for a pair, $20 for one) is a joystick that uses small suction cups to attach to your iPad’s screen, a big improvement over the virtual joysticks that iPad games usually require you to use.

While it was a winner at the 2010 Macworld Expo, FastMac’s U-Socket (around $25) has been updated for improved performance with an iPad and other iDevices that charge from a USB port. The U-Socket is an AC wallplate with standard duplex AC outlets, but also includes two USB connectors. Just plug your standard USB connector into the U-Socket, and plug the other end into your iPod, iPad, iPhone, or any other device that can be charged from a USB source. Oh, and they are now USB 3.0 compliant. If you’re not handy with electricity, you may want to get an electrician to install these devices for you.

Global Delight introduced Boom, a piece of Macintosh software designed to boost the volume on internal speakers. In high ambient noise, it can often be difficult to hear audio from your laptop, but Boom modifies the audio drivers to permit even louder output, though mostly still within limits of the internal amplifiers. At $5 bucks, it’s a real New York bargain. Just please, please, don’t overuse this with headphones.

Dolly Drive is an interesting backup (there’s that word again!) utility that can not only make a bootable backup on a local connected hard drive, but can also automatically back up your files to the cloud using a mechanism that can only be described as a virtual Time Machine. Dolly Drive offers three cloud storage plans. The 50GB plan is $5 per month. The 100GB plan is $7.50 per month, and the 250GB plan is $10 per month. They also offer additional incentive programs that automatically increase how much you can store.

Other World Computing has put together a complete packaged media server kit based upon the Mac mini with one of their external RAID hard drives, and some of the best open source software out there, including Plex as the heart of the system. I can personally attest to how great Plex is, as it is the heart of my home media system. They also include HandBrake (a DVD ripper and video converter), and MakeMKV (another file converter). They can also bundle in video recording hardware and software solutions from Elgato, such as EyeTV HD or EyeTV Hybrid. Prices start at $550 (plus a Mac mini), and go to about $1,400 for the largest storage solution.

These are just a few of the items that were announced at the Macworld Expo and which received either best of show, or special mention by the folks from Macworld magazine.