Macworld 2007, Expo Highlights

At the Macworld Show Floor

At the Macworld Show Floor

The Macworld Expo officially came to a close at 4 p.m. on January 12th. For the past four days, the Moscone South and North Halls were packed with people, all eager to see the Apple iPhone (the Apple TV too), and what the other 400-odd participating companies had to offer in the Apple scene. Expectedly, iPod-centric goods made up for the bulk of the products showcased since Apple owns a significant portion of the portable audio player market.

Unlike our show floor coverage of previous years, we took a different approach this time round. Instead of bombarding you with everything we saw out there, we give you our very own Best of the Expo showcase of what interested us most. By no order of merit or particular order, here's our picks:-

 The Griffin Evolve is a wireless sound system for the iPod. Excellent design and construction aside, what makes it unique is its pair of wireless cube-shaped speakers. Each has its own on/off switch and an automatic sleep mode to conserve its lithium-ion battery power. To recharge, just place the speakers on its charging station - no wires needed. If you want stereo separate, this system is it. (The other cube is missing from this picture because the demonstrator took it to parade its wireless design while blasting audio!)

 The Belkin TuneStudio is a four-channel mixer designed for the 5th-gen iPod (it docks to that gray compartment on the right). With it, you can record digital audio to the player at 16-bit, 44KHz quality. Four sources are permitted (with controls for each) and there�s a three-band equalizer. You can transfer your created music easily to a computer via USB. This is one compact (and pretty hardcore) portable studio.

 Creative was at the showfloor this year, and has showcased many products, including this Xdock Wireless for the iPod. Basically, you connect your stereo system or speakers to the Xdock, dock your iPod, place the X-Fi Wireless receivers all over and the Xdock will beam your tunes everywhere. Pretty neat, huh?

 The Elgato EyeTV Hybrid has garnered all sorts of awards even before arriving at Macworld. After having a go with it for a while, we think that it deserves those accolades. You can use the EyeTV Hybrid gadget to watch analog and digital TV on the Mac, record TV shows directly to the hard drive, as well as export clips or entire episodes to your iPod. The software provided (EyeTV 2) is top notch, and the image quality was beyond our expectations. This is no doubt one of the better, if not the best TV tuner for the Mac.

 There were a lot of casings (as in hard enclosures, not just sleeves) for the MacBooks/MacBook Pros at the show floor, but it was those from Techshell that caught our attention the most. There were many fancy designs to choose from, including this pictured leather textured one. The snap-on shells are made of durable plastic and require no adhesive. However, these beauties don't come cheap. The leather one costs US$129.95, and this is already a Macworld special price.

 Similar to previous years, case covers for various generations of iPods are aplenty at the show floor. However, we were drawn to this GelaSkins booth that in our opinion sells one of the most beautiful designed skins we've ever seen. A relatively young company, GelaSkins uses premium grade vinyl with advanced adhesive technology by 3M. Most importantly, the skins sport amazing graphics done by artists from around the world. If you want to personalize your iPod, there really is no better way than a skin.

 Sonnet Technologies is well known for its hardware products like processor upgrades, host and storage adapters, and of course, the iFreq and PodFreq series of FM transmitters for the iPods. What we have here is called the MacCuff Mini, a securing solution for your Mac mini (to the rear of your LCD monitor or under the desk). A simple but brilliant idea. Though we were just wondering if we could call a 'maccuffed' mini on a LCD monitor an iMac?

  The iCarta (by Atech Flash Technology) is a stereo dock for the iPod that comes with a bath tissue holder. Quoting the literature from AFT, "enhance your experience in any room with your favorite music from your iPod". Eyebrow raising looks aside, it has four integrated moisture-free speakers (required for its environment of use), and doubles up as an iPod charger as well.

 This Pacific Rim Technologies Jukebox Station is arguably the largest iPod accessory we've ever seen! Notice the iPod in the window? This huge unit has red, green and blue LED lighting system, an 80W stereo amplifier, its own woofer, mid-range drivers and tweeters, and comes with an IR remote. Heck, this one meter high, 25kg wood enclosure jukebox even has an FM radio, an S-Video port and RCA video output jacks for viewing photos or videos on a TV.

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