CategoryJournalism

The way we were: A look back at RandomMaccess’ first Macworld

With the announcement that Macworld Expo is going on an indefinite hiatus (more on that later), I thought I’d wax a little nostalgic and take a look back at my first Macworld — “The Show” — back in 1999. Although RandomMaccess had gotten press credentials before, this was the first time the show’s location made it practical for our little publication to attend.

This piece is undated, but was first published around July 27, 1999. –Ed.


Somewhere between Faith Healing Revival and Grateful Dead Concert you get Macworld Expo NY ’99: a rollicking joyride of new product intros, gee-whiz technology demos and the legendary Jobs “Reality Distortion Field.”

by Chuck La Tournous

I’ve said it before: although I’d never been to a Macworld Expo before, I’m an old hand at conferences and exhibits at the Jacob Javits Center in New York. But the sight of would-be attendees lined up around a New York City block stopped me dead in my tracks.

Something’s wrong, was my first thought; they haven’t opened the doors yet. But closer inspection revealed that the doors were indeed opened. They were opened because that’s where the line around the block snaked its way into the center. And across the entrance hall. And through the registration queue.

I’ve seen crowded shows and long lines at Javits, but I’ve never seen anything like this. What was even stranger was the fact that no one seemed to mind standing in a line that must surely still be winding through the hall as I write this — some 10 hours later.

Thank goodness for press credentials, I think, as I pass them all and follow the signs to the Keynote speech.

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Google chair says they’re better than Apple at keeping your data secure

In an interview with CNNMoney, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt responded to Apple CEO Tim Cook’s message on privacy, saying Google’s systems are “far more secure and encrypted than anyone else, including Apple.”

“They’re catching up, which is great,” Schmidt said, saying Google works hard to protect customers’ information from other companies, the government, and hackers.

The organization notably missing from that list is Google itself, which is of course the point of Cook’s message. While Google uses customer information as its business model, Apple goes to great lengths to point out that it doesn’t ever know your information, locking it away from not only the government and other companies, but itself.

The interview is embedded below; the article is available on the CNNMoney website.

Apple releases statement on ‘Bend-ghazi’ brouhaha

Following reports of Apple’s iPhone 6 plus bending in users’ pockets, the company issued a statement to media outlets (via The Loop):

“Our iPhones are designed, engineered and manufactured to be both beautiful and sturdy. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus feature a precision engineered unibody enclosure constructed from machining a custom grade of 6000 series anodized aluminum, which is tempered for extra strength. They also feature stainless steel and titanium inserts to reinforce high stress locations and use the strongest glass in the smartphone industry. We chose these high-quality materials and construction very carefully for their strength and durability. We also perform rigorous tests throughout the entire development cycle including 3-point bending, pressure point cycling, sit, torsion, and user studies. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus meet or exceed all of our high quality standards to endure everyday, real life use.

With normal use a bend in iPhone is extremely rare and through our first six days of sale, a total of nine customers have contacted Apple with a bent iPhone 6 Plus. As with any Apple product, if you have questions please contact Apple.”

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It’s still unclear whether the phones are being bent while in users’ pockets or under more unusual conditions, but fans of competitor Samsung have apparently jumped on the issue with an ad that shows the iPhone literally bending down before the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. (The ad has frequently been attributed to Samsung itself, but a spokesperson said he had no knowledge of the ad and pointed out that the company would be more likely to promote its upcoming Note 4 than its existing 3.) And, from a marketing perspective, that would be a risky move for the company if its phone shows a similar proclivity.

How to Install and Activate Third-Party Keyboards in iOS 8

Sure, Apple lets you choose your own keyboard in iOS 8, but it doesn’t mean they made it easy to see how. In my latest post over at The Mac Observer, I guide you through installing a third-party keyboard on your iOS device, and even give you a suggestion on a free keyboard to take for a spin.

Exploring Apple’s iPhone 6 and iWatch announcements on the MacJury

I joined TMO Alumnus Ted Landau, Joe Kissell and host Chuck Joiner on the latest edition of The MacJury. The panel pontificated on new iPhones and analyzed the long term implications of the new “i-less” offerings: Apple Pay and Apple Watch.

What makes Apple’s NFC payment system better than Google’s? (Hint: It’s about who gets to see your data.) Can southpaws get as much out of the Apple Watch as righties? (Spoiler: Yes.) These and other burning questions are answered in The MacJury’s typical light-hearted (yet oh-so-authoritative) style.

The MacJury is available as a video podcast at Apple’s iTunes Store and the MacVoices website.

Goodbye to Macworld, but not to those who made it great

One of the mainstays in Mac publishing is no more. Macworld will cease publishing the print version of its magazine after the November edition. It says the web version will continue publication.

The company also laid off most of its staff.

The news began breaking yesterday on Twitter, with several of Macworld’s editorial staff posting that they had been let go.

Macworld Layoff TweetsIn addition to Roman Loyola, Macworld laid off Dan Frakes, Phillip Michaels and Dan Moren. Senior Vice President and Editorial Director Jason Snell announced he was leaving the company in a decision that had been made prior to the layoffs; Serenity Caldwell also posted that she had given notice last week, and would be leaving the magazine at the end of the month. Dan Miller posted that he would be “here for another month to assist with the transition.” Senior Editor Chris Breen apparently remains the only “big name” writer left with the publication.

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Ruminations on the Apple iPhone announcement: it’s not an ‘iWatch’

A lot of the details about the purported Apple iPhone 6 have already come to light, and assuming the multitude of corroborating stories are more than just the same rumor bouncing around the tech press Echo Chamber (a big assumption, to be sure), it seems likely that Apple is set to announce two iPhones today, with a 4.7 and 5.5-inch screen. John Gruber’s math on screen resolution seems to work out well, so I’ll take the “ultra high” resolution speculation on its face; the alternative of a sub-retina display is certainly not where Apple would go with this.

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When facts and narrative collide: Apple’s double-digit Mac growth calls out analysts’ flawed estimates

From AppleInsider:

Apple reported “strong double digit growth” in its Mac sales in the U.S., directly contradicting the earlier estimates published by IDC and Gartner that stated Apple’s U.S. Mac sales fell year-over-year in the June quarter and calling into question the legitimacy of market estimates that the tech media uncritically presents as factual.

Writing for Fortune, Philip Elmer-DeWitt shines some light on how those “estimates” are made (or made up): (via The Loop)

“So, the mantra became, preserve the growth rates; to hell with the actual numbers. Even the growth rates are fiction. The fudge is in the ‘others’ category, which is used as a plug to make the numbers work out. In fairness, we did do survey work, calling around, and attending white box conferences and venues to try to get a feel for that market, but in the end, the process was political. I used to tell customers which parts of the data they could trust, essentially the major vendors by form factor and region. The rest was garbage.”

When facts and narrative collide: Apple’s double-digit Mac growth calls out analysts’ flawed estimates

From AppleInsider:

Apple reported “strong double digit growth” in its Mac sales in the U.S., directly contradicting the earlier estimates published by IDC and Gartner that stated Apple’s U.S. Mac sales fell year-over-year in the June quarter and calling into question the legitimacy of market estimates that the tech media uncritically presents as factual.

Writing for Fortune, Philip Elmer-DeWitt shines some light on how those “estimates” are made (or made up): (via The Loop)

“So, the mantra became, preserve the growth rates; to hell with the actual numbers. Even the growth rates are fiction. The fudge is in the ‘others’ category, which is used as a plug to make the numbers work out. In fairness, we did do survey work, calling around, and attending white box conferences and venues to try to get a feel for that market, but in the end, the process was political. I used to tell customers which parts of the data they could trust, essentially the major vendors by form factor and region. The rest was garbage.”

RandomMaccess LookBack: On the 30th anniversary of the Macintosh, a look at the 20th

On the 30th anniversary of the introduction of the Macintosh, RandomMaccess takes a look at how we covered the Mac’s last big milestone — its 20th anniversary. A lot has changed since then: The iPod and iPad were still top-secret projects somewhere deep in the bowels of One Infinite Loop (or its Area 51 equivalent). Apple was enjoying the explosive success of the iPod and the company’s resulting resurgence. And of course, Steve Jobs was still alive.

Although the article is now 10 years old, I think a lot of the analysis still applies to this day — although perhaps one result of Jobs’ absence is an executive team that allowed the retrospective Apple is hosting on its site today. It’s hard to imagine Steve permitting such an emotional walk down memory lane.

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