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Exploring MacWorld Tokyo 2001

Visitors test-drive iTunes, Apple's free music software
Photos by Kristen McQuillin

Apple put on a great show and Kristen McQuillin had (almost) front row seats.

The stage was simply set. A bank of laptops on the right; a desk with a powerful computer on the left. The cool white glow of Apple's logo stood out in stark contrast to the dark backdrop of the stage. To the rhythm of chanting, multi-ethnic music, Steve Jobs, Apple's founder and CEO, greeted a crowd of 6600 at the opening of MacWorld Tokyo. "Let me know if you see something you like," Jobs instructed the audience.

The Blue Dalmation iMac shows its spots

Digital devices and the digital hub
"We believe we're about to enter the third great age of personal computing--the Age of Digital Lifestyles," Jobs stated. "This Age is being driven by an explosion of new digital devices. We believe the Mac can become the digital hub for our emerging digital lifestyle."

So go ahead, plug your DV camera in, edit your shots on the Mac and then save your film onto DVD. Or pop your CDs in, rip the songs, and get MP3s out to your portable player. The Mac sits in the middle of your digital lifestyle.

Free software from Apple makes the execution of your creativity easy. For editing digital films, try iMovie; iTunes lets you rip MP3s and burn CDs. Online iTools offers email, a web page editor, digital postcards, and even extra disk space.

Macromedia struts its stuff

Sex, power, and "oh, so cute!"
Apple's latest laptop, the PowerBook G4 titanium, has users sprinting to Akihabara. "We've always made the fastest notebooks in the world..." Jobs explained, "Our goal has been to have the notebook that is the most powerful, and also the sexiest." They've met their goal. Inside the slim titanium body sits a 500MHz G4 processor with enough memory and disk space to edit a digital film. If you would rather watch a movie than create one, its wide screen display and DVD player let you enjoy your favorite film on the go.

iMacs get a facelift with two new colors - Flower Power and Blue Dalmatian. The patterned, translucent plastic shells are not for a staid office environment. These multicolored beauties ought to find homes on the desks of girls and young women worldwide. Blue Dalmatian might fit a techno-themed decorating scheme, but Flower Power is a matchless design.

Lower prices and big improvements
If you've been lusting after the 22-inch wide Apple Cinema Display, it's time to check your piggybank. Jobs slashed the price by 20 percent to JY348,000. It's still a big investment, but it's a big display.

If you truly crave video power, defer your purchase until the end of March so that you can add an NVIDIA GeForce3 card to your new Mac G4 (add about JY68,000 to the price, too). The GeForce3, with 57 million transistors in its chip, is a must for 3D artists and gamers. John Carmack, developer of Quake, expressed his zeal, "Now we can bring cinematic drama to the game."

The Expo floor is packed with Mac lovers

Expo Highlights
The keynote was only the beginning of a full three days of expo excitement. Big name software companies, including Microsoft and Adobe, offered hands-on seminars; over 200 vendors demonstrated their products to enthusiastic audiences.

In the Special Interest Boulevards, niche hardware and software was on display for illustrators, 3D artists, filmmakers and SOHO. Digital Hollywood offered lessons on non-linear editing. Nearby, a display of CD-ROM labeling products beckoned. Across the aisle a vast crowd of visitors played Rock, Paper, Scissors for the chance to win a prize.

Local retailers ferried in hardware and software goods to sell at discounted prices. Show specials knocked prices down by 25 percent or more and buyers mobbed the booths with the best sales. By afternoon of the last day, many vendors displayed "Sold Out" signs on popular items.

For the confused or overwhelmed, Japan's Mac User groups lead "sherpa tours" around the enormous expo hall. Dressed in white jackets and carrying yellow and green banners, the volunteer guides added yet another spectacle to the extravaganza that is MacWorld Expo.


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