Apple is holding their European Expo and nowadays being a Mac owner thought I’d go along. If Apple has such a pitiful market share then you’d expect it to be a small show with little software and few visitors. Er No, this was the complete opposite. Pictures of the Expo included.
Apple’s European Expo was held in Port de Versailles, Paris 31st August – 4th September. I went along on Wednesday 1st September, the day after the announcement of the Mk 3 iMac.
Unfortunately I registered at the last minute so was too late to see the really interesting talks like the keynote or Jean-Michel Jarre’s talk on Saturday. That said registering online meant I just showed someone a bit of paper and I got a badge to enter, I don’t know if there was an entry fee but I wasn’t asked to pay anything.
The show itself fills a large hall, there was a ton of software on show and dozens of stands from different companies (something in the region of 200).
Macs have historically been used in the creative area and this is very apparent at the show with the vast majority been taken up by either professional or consumer creative applications.
There was of course business applications but it wasn’t really a “business” show, that said you had Oracle, Sybase and various others there.
Microsoft had a stand showing off Office X but the Microsoft logo was conspicuous by the fact it was so small, I’d expect a huge logo somewhere but all you had was the office X component logos and Microsoft written in fairly small writing at the edge, it’s as if they were embarrassed to say their name!
One thing I noticed they went in for a lot was to have various training areas dotted around where various Apple and other apps would be demoed and shown to a class of users who then did as instructed, these included iLife (iPhoto, iMovie), GarageBand and a couple of Graphics apps. There was also an Education area complete with their own classroom as well.
Another thing they did was to give individual applications and disciplines their own areas with a “Solution Pro” on hand to show you the applications in question and what they could do for you.
There was a whole caboodle of different areas covered but some I remember were: SMS, encryption, CAD, architecture and medical imaging.
This is an interesting and good idea as it means everything is shown in an organised manner rather than having random stands with different products as is normally the case. It also leaves the rest of the show for other exhibitors to have normal stands.
To go along with this there were plenty of other goodies, Scanners, printers and digital cameras were shown off by several big name vendors. Canon, Nikon, HP, Pentax and others showed off their Cameras, some had consumer digital models whereas Nikon had some of their pro gear, including some very nice big lenses most likely with equally big prices.
Apple has a big chunk of the professional printing market so there were companies from that field present showing their wares, the most obvious of these were the printer makers some of whom had gigantic printers churning out huge photo quality images. I seen one HP printer which had printed a picture which size I can only guess at, bigger than A0 that’s for sure. Just the ticket if you’ve ever wanted a life size picture of well, anyone. Hmm, you could set up a business printing funky wallpaper with one of those…
A sound business
Pro Audio is another area Apple has a major chunk of and this had it’s own area at the show. There was a ton of different virtual synthesisers, effects, controllers, cables and other audio goodies all on show. Seemingly every stand in the audio section had a battery of different music apps all clamouring for your ears’ business.
I got my first computer for audio and spent 5 years writing audio software so it’s an area I have quite an interest in despite being incapable of playing anything properly – but if you want a weird noise…
I went to one of the talks on GarageBand, the surprisingly powerful (compared to anything I’ve played with) beginner audio app Apple supply with the Mac. Having played around with it a little I know it’s pretty powerful but apparently you can do a lot more than I thought. The speaker recorded in some keyboard, drum and guitar tracks then showed what you can do with them. You can also rig up other virtual instruments and programs and get them to work with GarageBand, I wasn’t aware you could do this and the results can be pretty impressive. He had a few virtual CS80 and Minimoogs going, that probably means nothing to anyone other than analogue synth geeks but take it from me – it sounds good! There was also a brief demo of the more powerful Logic and Logic pro which are Apple’s pro audio apps which have more synth types, better control possibilities and a million more features.
Mac’s aren’t really a gamers computer but there are plenty of games out there if you want them. Games also had their own area with a row of G5s set up all with different games. There was also a games tournament going on which was constantly surrounded by a crowd of people. I don’t know what the game was but it looked pretty impressive.
There plenty of other stands with everything from second hand Macs, iPod covers, laptop bags and who knows what else on show or for sale, some in very colourful stands (one was bright pink, ug).
There was even a few cars on show, BMWs of course (Apple recently did a deal with them involving the iPod). Other companies have caught on to this and one was showing off a car stereo with iPod connection.
In the centre of the show with a positively huge stand was of course Apple. They had a presentation area with what looked like a couple of hundred seats doing shows on their various products they were pretty fully attended anytime I was there.
Surrounding the presentation area were three walls and along both sides were various products and a veritable army of demonstrators to show them off.
At the front of course was the nice shiny new iMac which look like iPodified LCD screens. They really look nothing like traditional computers. I didn’t play around with them very long though they seemed somewhat faster than my PowerBook as you would expect, in fact if this was a few months ago I’d of had a hard time choosing between the two! That said the performance of the PowerBook is fine for my needs so it’d probably have won on portability.
Typical for Apple there is incredible attention to detail, the new iSight camera attaches to a magnetic strip at the top of the iMac, all the cables can go through a hole in the back of the stand so they don’t hang there and look ugly, get the bluetooth and WiFi add-in cards and you won’t need anything other than a power cable. When you’re done the keyboard fits underneath the display (a trick I haven’t seen since the Amiga 1000, 19 years ago!).
There have been gripes about the graphics chip and memory but unless you’re a hardcore gamer I doubt anyone really cares about the graphics (actually the chip may have been chosen for low heat output). As for memory I have 768 MB in this machine and for the most part most of it is free, and that’s with several apps running. OS X is improving with each release and is not quite as bloated as some other OSs!
For the hardware geeks there were a couple of the iMacs at the side with the backs removed so you can see how they’ve crammed it all into the case.
A couple of years back Macs were expensive and under powered, these days OS X is considerably faster as are the newer G5 CPUs, you can get cheaper PCs but the price seems pretty much in line with other A list computer vendors who are the real competition. Of course they don’t include the iLife suite. Mac Works OS X is also included.
All in all I think the new iMac will sell like hot chocolate muffins at a chocoholics meeting, for the market it is being aimed at it’s got everything it needs and more, Apple needs to grow their market share and this could be the machine to do it, especially once they’ve got a version down to eMac level prices.
Of course if you really want power you’ll go for the PowerMac G5s. There were plenty of these on show each showing a specific application, from the Pro video stuff, Logic and even specific new 10.4 features, I nearly asked the Spotlight demonstrator about BeOS queries but decided against it 😉
The best system I seen was Logic Pro running on a G5 with dual 30 inch monitors, I think I could live with a set up like that! The new LCD screens and G5s are apparently quite popular, at least at Apple Expos as there were loads of them all over the show.
On the third wall were iPods and iPod minis, it was the first time I’d even seen the mini and it looked pretty good, pity you can’t hook it up to a camera – you could use it as a portable backup drive when the Flash card runs out of space.
Nearly a year ago I wrote a report on LinuxTag which is the biggest Linux show in Europe but it has quite some way to go to catch up with Apple Expo. This show was at lease twice the physical size and with some 70,000 visitors (3X that which visited LinuxTag) was busy even mid week when I went. However, the shows are wildly different in both content and audience and demonstrate just how different the Linux and Mac markets are. LinuxTag was for business and developers, there was some creative stuff there but very little. Apple Expo was the other way around, it was mainly for creative businesses and consumers. Apple may have lost a lot of ground in the PC market (actually they were growing market share last time I heard) but I doubt much if any has gone to Linux, Linux has been gaining against traditional Unix and now Windows. If Apple can can claw back their previous market share it too will be against Windows.
Apple may only have a tiny share of the global PC market but it’s a pretty misleading statistic given Apple don’t compete in all the sub-markets the total is made from, in their own areas they seem to be doing very nicely and seem to be looking to expand it with their new machines. Also, with the PC market stagnating Apple have cleverly picked areas to specialise in where there can never be enough computing power, something which will keep customers coming back for years.
All in all a good show with plenty to see, do and lots of software and other goodies to look at. I went home a MIDI interface richer and an intention to play with GarageBand…
To the Pictures (3 pages).
© Nicholas Blachford, August 2004
About the Author:
Nicholas Blachford lives in Paris. He is currently not working but for something to do is designing a GUI for advanced consumer entertainment systems.
If you would like to see your thoughts or experiences with technology published, please consider writing an article for OSNews.
and nice pictures..
He is right that apple machines are not more expensive than PCs from A-class vendors, but not everybody needs that quality/features extra! Most people need a computer for basic tasks like e-mail and internet browsing, downloading pictures from digital camera, etc, and I can tell you that the 199$ El Cheapo can do that as well as a Dell workstation or an Apple computer.
I think Apple should have some competition on the hardware side, like some cheap-unknown-brand machines able to run OSX. That would increase their market share.
Then again..my 0.02 cents
Why would you want to see Jm Jarre when Isabelle is not longer there?
“That would increase their market share.”
Why increase market share? Market share only translates to increased sales. Increased sales of a less feature-packed inexpensive product has the same result of current sales (which ARE very brisk) of a full featured, higher priced (not to be confused with more expensive) product. It all translates to money… of which Apple would get roughly the same, (maybe less) and at the same time devaluing their product.
The average computer (PC) purchase with monitor and productivity software is approximately $1,200 (when brought up to usable levels… coincidentally RIGHT where Apple pitches their consumer computers.
(I think you meant to say Install Base when you said market sahre… the two figures are very different. Apple’s install base is much higher than its market share.)
I think it’s too bad that they don’t try harder to get the masses to purchase Apple. I just bought a 12″ Powerbook (my first Mac), and I must admit that it smokes my PC. Not just in speed, but ease of use. (I have a 2.4 Ghz P4, PB is 1.33 Ghz G4).
I’ll be recommending Apple to everyone!
“I think it’s too bad that they don’t try harder to get the masses to purchase Apple.”
Well, really they are trying very hard… and are succeeding. Apple’s install base has continually grown year after year.
If you mean by trying harder… selling less feature packed machines at a lower price to sell more (and thus get the same profit as they are now selling machines that are more feature packed (thus justifying a higher price) i don’t see why… All that would do is devalue their product line while causing them to see the same (maybe less) return on investment.
Apple is ALREADY right at the average price point for new home computer buyers who buy a complete system…. and they’re selling computers so fast they can barely keep up with demand.
In a nutshell, Apple’s doing pretty darn good with their current business model.
Agian we see the sense coming through…
Yes you can buy a no name (or even sometimes Name Brand) PC for less than an Apple, but as a friend of mine found recently these “super value” PC deals usually require “significant” upgrades to reach what is usually considered a current PC. At that point the overall cost of “value PC + upgrades” vs “Decent Name Brand PC” vs Apple kit don’t leave that much to choose between…
Linux/FreeBSD etc. can extend the life of old kit PC if you are
a) tech enough to know it is there
b) tech enough to handle an install
c) only want to do the “usual” PC user stuff
I have 10+ year old Macs that can still do that stuff
Need I say more…
Flame on dudes…
I think Apple should have some competition on the hardware side, like some cheap-unknown-brand machines able to run OSX. That would increase their market share.
Yeah, and BMW should start making cheap cars, because that would increase their market share. Oops, wait, BMW is doing just fine selling nice cars at a premium price. Maybe market share isn’t everything.
Sarcasm aside, it seems like every Mac article posted is followed by calls for cheap Mac-clones or x86 OS X. The truth is, low-end Macs aren’t that expensive. And as expensive as they are, they’re pretty well worth it. Sure, the truth is, of course Apple would like a higher market share, but they have a high stake in maintaining their current reputation as producers of high-quality, easy, trouble-free computers. To endanger that reputation would be to endanger their customer loyalty, which, at times, has been the only thing to keep them afloat.
“If Apple has such a pitiful market share then you’d expect it to be a small show with little software and few visitors.”
no i wouldnt say that. for a company with 20 or 30 million clients, almost all of them in north america, europe, and japan, it isnt hard to find many thousands willing to go to an event. what an odd thing to write.
“Microsoft had a stand showing off Office X but the Microsoft logo was conspicuous by the fact it was so small, I’d expect a huge logo somewhere but all you had was the office X component logos and Microsoft written in fairly small writing at the edge, it’s as if they were embarrassed to say their name!”
another ridiculous troll. the product is being promoted. apple must be ashamed of their name for using just a logo on their itunes ads too huh? micrsoft has one the most recognized brand names in the world. and it is also one of the most respected…but not much by apple mac fanatics that forget that ms made software for macs back when apple was much larger and much more profitable than ms. they also forget that ms gave them large sums of money to bail them out when they were in deep financial trouble in 1997. oh how fickle mac users are.
“Mac’s aren’t really a gamers computer but there are plenty of games out there if you want them. Games also had their own area with a row of G5s set up all with different games. There was also a games tournament going on which was constantly surrounded by a crowd of people. I don’t know what the game was but it looked pretty impressive.”
understatement of the year! “Mac’s aren’t really a gamers computer”….no wonder people were crowded around in awe at a mac playing games.
“A couple of years back Macs were expensive and under powered, these days OS X is considerably faster as are the newer G5 CPUs, you can get cheaper PCs but the price seems pretty much in line with other A list computer vendors who are the real competition. Of course they don’t include the iLife suite. ”
a few years ago you could buy an imac for $800 and now the cheapest is $1300. Pretty much in line with A list computer vendors? what does that mean? the average pc maker doesnt need to put 2 cpus in a box for respectable performance. “A” list workstation makers have products that are still less expensive than mac towers.
“(actually they were growing market share last time I heard)”
simply not true. take a look at any of apples sec filings for total mac sales and compare to the broader market for pcs and you see their share continues to go down. recent quarters have them selling more macs compared to their own sales figures in more distant quarters but they are not growing as fast as the overall pc market in 2004.
“Also, with the PC market stagnating”
funny all the stats i see show the pc market growing by 15-20% this year.
Thank you, I enjoyed reading it.
I’ve never been to Paris, but have visited the south-Biarritz, Bourdeaux, etc.
… and I promise to Ignore him.
nice pictures, nice stuff. Being in Spain, I can only dream of having an event like those…
Thanks for sharing.
Did I miss the Office/Microsoft picture? I didn’t see it.
another ridiculous troll. the product is being promoted. apple must be ashamed of their name for using just a logo on their itunes ads too huh?
Apple has the most recegonizable logo on the planet. My 2 year old nephew took on look at the back of my powerbook and said “Apple”. He had just learnt how to speak. Apple does not need to spell A-P-P-L-E out. Thier logo is so self explanatory a two year old can get it. Apparently, you can’t.
Let’s see microsoft’s logo is … oops “microsoft” spelt out. Yup they seem to be ashamed.
but not much by apple mac fanatics that forget that ms made software for macs back when apple was much larger and much more profitable than ms.
That’s when they were suddenly inspired by Apple’s work to create thier own GUI…. right!!!!
they also forget that ms gave them large sums of money to bail them out when they were in deep financial trouble in 1997. oh how fickle mac users are.
MS signed deals in return for Apple stock, which they sold later for a nice profit. Apple did MS more of a favor didn’t it. They could use the deal as a leverage against the anti-trust case.
In business terms, this is called a Nash equillibrium.
the average pc maker doesnt need to put 2 cpus in a box for respectable performance.
Neither does Apple. Almost any processor over a GHz on any architecture will offer respectable performance. Also clock for clock the g5 beats the opteron, so a single 2.5 Ghz G5 should handily outperform an opteron, especially on float performance.
And opterons seem to be doing better than Pentiums.
Anonymous (IP: —.chvlva.adelphia.net) keeps proving he’s an idiot with every post.
” I just bought a 12″ Powerbook (my first Mac), and I must admit that it smokes my PC. Not just in speed, but ease of use. (I have a 2.4 Ghz P4, PB is 1.33 Ghz G4). ”
By any objective measure, the G4 in your PB is handily outclassed by a 2.4 Ghz P4 – unless there’s something *seriously* wrong with your P4.
Nice report and great photos!
Microsoft like it or not are a very important player in the Apple scene. Office for Mac 04, is a fantastic piece of software and is nicely integrated into the Mac environment. The biggest benefit I can see of this product is that it provides some comfort to first time Mac users when making the choice to switch from Windows (something I have done recently myself). My biggest worry was being able to work with files from work. I know there are many other apps that will open Word and Excel files, but i just wanted to take one step at a time (yes I’m a chicken).
All in all, I am totally impressed with my Mac as are the many people who get to see me using it. I get many questions and comments from people who are curious about Apple but aren’t yet willing to make the jump.
I’m not a hardcore give me Apple or give me death user. I also run Redhat linux, Windows XP and RISC OS on computers I use daily. Since I’ve got my Mac I use the others less and less, it’s just a nicer experience.
Great article, thoroughly enjoyed it and I whished I was there to be honest. I’d love to get my hands on one of those G5’s .
@Anonymous (IP: —.chvlva.adelphia.net): you’re trying to tell us something apparently, but all I’m hearing is ‘bla…bla…bla’
In all honesty, I’ve started to look at these Mac related threads from another perspective. The more Anonymous (IP: —.chvlva.adelphia.net) comments, the better the post was. Since he seems to feel a greater need to try and make his point (whatever it is) come across.
At education prices on the Australian Apple website, a 12″ ibook starts at $1525. I added 256MB RAM and 10GB more disk to get a 1GHz G4 iBook with 512MB RAM and 40GB disk, DVD ROM and CD Writer. Total was $1698 Australian Dollars.
That’s pretty decent for a low end laptop. It certainly doesn’t feel low end, it’s actually pretty fast. I’ve never used an Apple before, and so far I’ve been really blown away. I’ve never felt really excited about a new computer before, but the iBook is such a nice experience. I love all the little animations and all the nice little touches they add all around the place.
I still have a desktop PC (AMD 64 3200+ running Mandrake 10/win2k) because I like doing PC things sometimes (like playing games). If you’re looking for a cheapish laptop to complement your desktop PC, I would highly recommend an ibook. (gee I sound like one of those gushing Apple fans now, ugh – it’s contagious)
– Mac user of 3 days
How many companies produces PCs? Now compare that to the one and only company who makes Macs. Of course there are going to be many more PCs produced and sold every year. Heck, Apple seems to be having a hard enough of a time meeting the current demand for its computers.
Apple’s market share of NEW computers IS up. I don’t remember the world figures, but the quarter before USA figure was 2.8%. The last quarter, with less product available the figure was 3.7%. That’s a decent jump.
The installed base is larger though. Macs last longer in a usable state than Pc’s do. This skews the actual figures if all that is being considered is new computers sold.
An example at my house is that we have one working B&W G3, and three working G4’s. I’m not being counted because I haven’t bought a new machine since 2002. I’ll finally be counted when Apple comes out with a PCI Express machine sometime in 2005. And then only for one machine, even though we won’t be retiring any of the ones we have now. A lot of mac users are like that.
During this time period (the G3 was bought in 1998, or so.) most every Pc user I know has replaced their machine. Sometimes twice. A couple of people three times.
That means that there are more Pc’s out there than the numbers suggest, or that there are more Macs out there than the numbers suggest. What do you think?
Even machines ten years old can use OS X ( with a free utility), sometimes slowly, but usably. Can XP run on a ten tear old Pc? Almost never.
Linux machines are great, but in a different category, though you can run Linux on a Mac as well. At the Linux Expo here in NYC this year as well as last, I saw an increasing number of users using Powerbooks, and iBooks. Sometimes using Terminal, sometimes not. Sometimes running Linux, sometimes not. Interesting.
Sometimes I use X11 to run Open Office or other programs. They work pretty well, but it feels like going back in time.
Everybody is in everybody’s space now. Who knows what will happen.
I brought an iBook 1Ghz G4 12inch with 30GB HDD, CDRW+DVD reader and 256MB RAM OSX 10.3 for $2145 (New Zealand). It compares very well with entry level laptops from Toshiba, HP and Acer, but has superior battery life and iLife apps are a nice bonus that I actually find myself using daily.
I’d recommend taking a look at one if you are shopping for a laptop, you might be surprised how well they stack up 🙂
I also have one of the earlier model G-3’s, beige and white, 233 Mhz. I’ve backloaded OS X, 10.2 onto it, and I’m still surprised sometimes by how snappy it is.
We have an ancient MacII fx at work from around 1990 — still works fine: even though it’s been officially “retired”, we still need to break it out from time to time to get some old data from it that never got rewritten for the PC.
I have a desktop using Linux Fedora Core 2. It’s nice, but on a day-to-day basis, my iBook G-4 and my wife’s eMac are simply more convenient to use.
(Danger for the Mac, though — eventually we WILL graduate to Linux-only, but that won’t be for a couple more years).