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MacWorld, Sales Kickoff, and where I have been

This week I am in Annapolis with the entire of Sourcefire to hold our annual sales kickoff that we do once a year.  Good times had by all.  I get to hang with everyone, meet all the people that I haven't met yet, and generally have a good time.   We had a big meeting the other day when everyone was in the room together, and I looked around and said to myself...  "Who are all these people!?" So I can only feel how people like Caswell or Baker or Roesch feel.  

This is actually the first sales kickoff i've ever had the opportunity to attend.  The first opportunity was when Sourcefire was attempting to be purchased by CHKP.  Not everyone went to that kickoff.  In fact, I think I was working that week, I was in Florida or something.  Anyway...  The next kickoff, I wasn't able to be at either.  Reason being?  

My daughter is 1.  Happy Birthday pumpkin.

So, it's good to be with all my friends, put faces with names, and in reverse as well.  People come up to me all the time and say "Oh, you are Joel Esler?"  I don't know whether that's a good or a bad thing.  (Probably bad, famous or infamous.  Fine line.)

So, finally, this week was also MacWorld out in San Fran at the lovely Moscone Center.  Naturally, since most of the people I work with know that I am a big Mac aficionado, I am getting constant questions about "Did you see ____", "What do you think about ____", and "Are you going to buy _____".

So here's my take, a few current thoughts, a few future thoughts.

Steve Jobs said he had 4 things that he wanted to talk about, so we'll bring the 4 up and I'll talk about them in my own colorful way.

 1. Time Capsule -- A wireless (802.11n) access point with either a 500 GB or a 1 TB drive built into it.  This is a great idea.  I will probably be picking one of these up.  I really like the thought of being able to backup my laptop, desktop, and my wife's laptop to one Time Machine enabled drive.  Now, I can do that.  Future?  Apple will eliminate the separate Airport Extreme base station, Time Capsule will become standard, so they will have to rename it.  But they will build another feature into it first.  Not sure that that would be, I'll have to think about it.
2.   iPhone/iPod Touch updates -- The ability to rearrange your main screen icons, create new screens, create button launched web pages (web clips), triangulation with Google Maps, and multi-recipient SMS messaging.  I like this as well.  The ability rearrange my icons on the screen is nice.  All the apps I use highly are on my "home row" at the bottom.  Internet Apps on one screen, and the apps I don't use very much on another.   All of these are nice touches and I am glad that Apple did it.  Future?  They allowed us separate pages to get ready for the SDK.   People are going to have a ton of apps on these devices soon, so Apple needed a way to make room.
3.   iTunes movie rentals -- Logical.  The ability to rent movies from iTunes (instead of buying them), and further more, new AppleTV software so that you are able to rent movies directly from your couch.  Look ma!  I don't even have to get up to go to Blockbuster now!  Future?  This was a logical step, and I really hope it works out for Apple this time.  While the AppleTV in it's previous iteration was nice, even I don't have one.  But now, it's an enticing thought.  I don't know what the future holds for this, aside from the ability to purchase more and more movies.  Probably a 1080p refresh in a year or so.
4.   MacBook Air -- Ultrathin laptop.  Enough said.  You've heard about this by now, if you have seen any type of media in the past two days.  Now, this product makes for some really interesting futures discussion.  Future?  This is a test.  A test to see if Apple customers really will be able to handle life without a optical drive.  (And they will.)  Within a year, (probably next year's MacWorld)  Apple will do away with all optical drives on all their laptops, all the laptops will get thinner, and all of the laptops will get multitouch pads.  Now, as far as the touchpads are concerned, I am beginning to wonder, since we do some simple gesture based stuff in Leopard now (two finger scroll, etc) will you be able to do this kind of stuff on present MacBook's and MacBook Pro's?  Steve hinted at when it this technology was coming out, in February.  What else is shipping in Feb?  Time Capsule.  The iPhone SDK.  Since this is largely all controlled by software, in this case, Leopard.  Leopard 10.5.2 will be out in February, and it will be a huge update.  I could even see the ability to do multitouch gestures on our present laptops.  I don't think the laptops will get as thin as this one, however, after the axeing of the Optical drives on the laptops, there is nothing to hold them back from making it smaller.  So, that's my guess.

I think the stuff he introduced on Tuesday was useful and I like it.  What do you think?


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