Creative World 2004: Apple on Show
This link has more images of Creative World.
Friday 26 November saw the opening of the Bangkok Apple show, this year called Creative World and relocated to the Emerald Hotel on Rachadapisek Road, close to the Huay Kwang MRTA subway station.
I arrived before the doors opened and there were many people already waiting, including several students. Early arrivers were given a CDROM put together by the MacDD group which included software, updaters and other informaton. Those who were first in the line were also given free Internet access. Everyone got the latest issue of the latest MacJournal.
The ballroom used for the show was similar in size to the space used at the Queen Sirikit Convention Center last year, but with a greater number, and more varied range, of exhibitors. The booths themselves seemed slightly larger and space in the aisles was limited, making photgraphy less easy. Within some of the stalls, however, such as Unity Progress, there was room to move about while looking at equipment as a compensation.
As the afternoon arrived, so did a far larger group of visitors and the show, which already had a positive atmosphere, began to lift off. Last year the printer exhibitors had dominated. They were here again with the wide format machines, but the main competitors -- Brother, Canon, Epson, HP -- had all brought lots of machines at the consumer level.
Many of the local retailers had the current range of Macintosh computers on display. The G5 range: tower and iMac were well-represented. Many of the PowerBooks and iBooks were available too. The best deal here was the entry level 12" iBook at 39,990 baht (including an extra 512MB of memory). Almost all of the dealers had the current eMacs on sale at the recent low price of 29,990 baht with a printer. There were iPods all over the place, although sadly none of the new iPod Photo, nor the U2 iPod.
Note: the iPod U2 and the iPod photo were released to the press a week after Creative World and images are available here.
Another good sign was the strong showing of accessories for computers and iPods, including a large selection of bags and back-packs. Wacom graphics tablets also had a strong showing.
There was little here that is not available in the stores or at Phantip Plaza, but to have them at a trade and consumer show of this nature meant that a wider (and different) audience could be targeted. Some booths had a number of newer speaker systems avaialble for computers, and some specifically for the iPods.
One company that I thought might be taking a bit of a gamble was the ThaicomShop.com where the staff were almost bubbly with help. I confirmed that delivery was possible out in the suburbs. Having looked at their online pricing, they would seem to be quite competitive (Apple, PC and peripherals).
As in all the best shows, there was plenty of hands-on working, so we were able to play with the G5s and the software installed. One of the most popular stalls was that run by Digitron Solutions that had crowds of students every time I passed, looking at the video processing technologies being used (for example Final Cut Pro and Motion): the demonstrator clearly knew his stuff. Another company demonstrating video was Gen X Academy although the booth was tucked away in the rear aisle and they were slow to start up so had fewer visitors when I passed by.
Of the four major printer companies, Epson had taken the largest area and brought lots of printers, demonstration staff and a couple of pleasant young ladies to give a running commentary. I put the staff to test (in terms of English and technical abilities) and asked about PictBridge on the printers.
One of them jumped in immediately and said that the Epson R310 I was looking at could print directly from a USB camera. When I asked if we could try, he agreed with no hesitation. Out came my USB connector and I plugged in the Nikon D70 I am now using. The printer did not miss a beat and recognised all the images I had taken. We chose one at random and it was printed within a short while. It was impossible for me to tell the difference between this output and a photograph. I let them keep the picture.
At 1.30pm there was the first of the conference sessions. This was a developer seminar on Tiger, the next version of OSX (10.4) due to be released in early 2005. All those attending were required to sign a non-disclosure agreement, and that included post-talk photographs of the presenter, Leon Chen.
Having signed the agreement, I am unable to write anything more than is available already on the Tiger web-pages where the new components are highlighted. With the new methods of integration, improved Xcode for writing programs and more Unix support, this iteration of OSX is going to fly.
With Apple's increasing sales of both iPods and computers, sending the share prices higher, Creative World 2004 was a timely reminder, for both the faithfull and the interested, of just what Macs are known for.
For further information, e-mail to Graham K. Rogers.
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