MacLive Expo London 2007 - Show Report

Having recovered from a manic day (mainly travelling) at this years MacLive Expo, I am now in the right frame of mind to give you my feelings about the exhibition. Before I kick off with all the good bits (and there are plenty) I want to get my anger and disappointment out of the way. As I was stomping the show floor, the main complaint from both exhibitors and members of the public was Apple’s absence from the event. Companies paying top prices to take stand and show their wares felt let down that Apple had chosen NOT to show the same commitment to the UK public. Visitors, who had paid their £15 to get into the Expo, were equally annoyed. Many had not even known that Apple would not be there. They were expecting to see the whole line-up of Macs, iPods and more importantly wanted some hands-on time with the new Mac OS X Leopard. OK, enough moaning, with or without the big A, the show went on.

As with all Mac Expo’s, I am always amazed at the enthusiasm that buzzes around the hall. The main central area is taken up by the bigger companies, with the likes of Quark, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard and Intego, to name just a few. VMWare had a largish stand, showing their superb software that enables the Mac to run Windows. Avanquest was also at the Expo, with their competing Parallels software, that does the same. It’ll be interesting when I review these two products to see which one performs better of the two. In this central area Simms International Accessories were selling their latest range of computer bags and pouches from Crumpler and BuiltNY. They certainly get my vote for the most fun and endearing company at this years show. The likes of Accountz (with their accounting software) and Elgato (freeview and recording on your Mac) also proved popular with visitors. Whilst on the subject of accounting, MYOB won ‘Best of Show’, which is amazing when you think of how accounting is perceived. I had a chat to them, and was amazed at how passionate they were to make their software so sexy and easy to use.

Over the next month or so, Geekanoids will be announcing some awards for our product reviews. Ahead of time though, we will also be looking at the company behind the product and acknowledging good service. Our ‘Most Friendly’ company award cannot wait that long and this goes to Konica Minolta. Their range of printers speak for themselves, but the fact that they take the time to speak to end users on a level playing field, taking that one extra step to make sure they have happy punters, really is noticeable.

On the outer perimeter of the Expo hall there were many smaller vendors. A chance to meet not only the salesman, but often the programmers behind the software or hardware on offer. A quick shout out to our sponsors Realmac Software and Eazy Draw, who were busy answering questions from visitors. Kensington were also on the wings showing their range of Mac compatible keyboards and mice. We were also lucky enough to pick up a couple of iPhone cases from Contour Design, who are also expecting their iPod touch case to land in about ten days.

All in all this years MacLive Expo was on a much smaller scale, mainly due to Apple not being there. Adobe also chose not to exhibit, so two of last years biggest stands meant everything was condensed. This was a big shame and casts a shadow of doubt in my mind, whether we will see a show next year, unless Apple commit to attending. I hope the show does continue, as it is the only real chance for UK users to feel part of the Mac community. The opportunity to talk with people from the companies whose products we use every day is very valuable, so I really hope to see details of MacLive Expo 2008 announced sooner rather than later.