While Weldon gave some of his perspectives on the Macworld | iWorld 2012 show, particularly from the prosumer and developer angles, my focus here is on those products average Apple users might be interested in, for both Mac and iOS.
The show focused primarily on the iOS ecosystem, with traditional Mac OS X software pushed into the background. Special attention was paid to applications and accessories to get sound and video into and out of your iOS device, not just on the exhibit floor, but throughout Moscone West. Still, there were other hidden gems for everyday users, too.
Most of the OS X software developers weren’t showing new products or improvements, but demoing what they already have. One notable exception that drew me in was the newly launched latest version of Fantastical by Flexibits, which works in conjunction with OS X calendar software (iCal, BusyCal, Outlook) to quickly enter calendar items with natural language directly from the menu bar, kind of a Siri for the desktop.
Once you ignore the gimmicky stuff like iPhone cases with integrated bottle openers, and lots of bling (sparkle screen protectors from Crimsoncase), most user-aimed products seemed to want to make iDevices easier to use in more places. Judging by the show’s offerings, users seem to want to hold their iPad with one hand (Newertech, Hub Innovations, Grablet and others), make it waterproof (Drycase and Drybags), and have better input devices.
Steve Jobs would have shed a tear seeing so many ways to avoid using iOS device touchscreens. Some standouts are multiples styluses from Lafeada in the shape and style of lipstick and eyeliner, as well as Adonit’s Jot Stylus that had a “target” zone via a precision disk instead of the typical imprecise rubber tip found in most styluses. My favorite, though, was the NuScribe combo pen and stylus from Newer Technology. I love not having to carry both a pen and stylus.
Not only do people want to take their iOS devices everywhere, but they want to be able to take desktop functionality along for the ride. Nivio has a soon-to-be released subscription-based service called nDesktop that allows you to remotely run Windows applications as well as rent traditional software such as the Microsoft Office Suite on both your iPad as well as your OS X device, sort of like a more feature-rich version of OnLive Desktop’s free iPad Windows virtualization app. Sanho’s CloudFTP device is an iOS-friendly portable NAS server that is in the final stage of production after a successful Kickstarter launch. These products help fill the gap between the portability of iOS devices and the flexibility of the desktop, making the decision between an iPad and MacBook Air even more difficult.
Among the products geared towards consumers at the show, the lines between tablet and desktop computing are blurring, and the changed branding of Macworld| iWorld this year reflects that.