The Cult of Mac

Of course the biggest news that came out of MacWorld Expo, the trade show taking place in San Francisco January 5-9 for mac-fans and tech geeks and often the precursor of the latest in technology gadgets for upcoming shows such as Consumer Electronics Show (CES) taking place in Vegas the week after, was that Apple was pulling out after this one. Coupled with the fact that Steve Jobs was not the keynote, and instead, Philip Schiller, Senior Vice President of worldwide Product Marketing at Apple, also gave the show a bit of a downgrade, even though Schiller did a fine job.

With more than an estimated 45,000 “cult of mac” fans gathered however, the show, hosted by IDG World Expo, did debut some interesting new developments in the world of technology that youth culture markets especially are going to find exciting.

First off, Apple announced that it is cutting prices and offering different levels of pricing of songs on iTunes, which is something that record labels have been screaming about from the beginning, starting in the next quarter at $.69, $.99, and $1.29 (instead of all being at $.99 like before). Also, every track on iTunes would be available from now on free of digital rights management (DRM) -which used to limit people’s ability to copy songs and move them to different computers. Some speculate the changes in prices were a nod to the recession, and the DRM-free songs are to compete with others that also offer DRM-free music downloads such as which in 2007, landed every major music label in 6 months. Also, iTunes songs will now be available straight to iPhones over the air instead of through a computer, which again moves trends towards non-computers and more portable devices like in Japan.

Other interesting news came from the unveiling of iLife multimedia programs including iPhoto which can recognize people’s faces and sort them by face recognition, GarageBand ’09 with videos of interactive music lessons from musicians such as Sting, and more professional editing features on iMovie ’09 which has already changed the way people make their own movies.

Interestingly, Apple also revealed a new $2,800 Macbook Pro laptop with a 17-inch screen and super-thin casing, which of course is completely anti-recession but will probably satisfy hardcore Mac-geeks and postureurs needing to show the latest in Mac computers.

Next up, CES in Vegas. Stay tuned.