Macworld, the world’s ultimate Apple-dedicated tech conference, is a week away. Beginning March 27, iFans from around the world will interact with the newest app developers, the makers of the hottest cases, creators of the most interesting iOS-related gadgets and toys, and network with people who are enthusiastic about Macs, iPhones and iPads. A bevvy of talks given by industry geniuses run throughout the three-day event held at the Mascone Center. And this year, which is the 30-year anniversary for both the Macworld conference and Apple’s Macintosh line, Macworld general manager Paul Kent decided it was a great time to celebrate the history and innovate inside the event as well. Here are three changes to look out for if you're attending Macworld 2014.
Upon entering the Mascone Center in San Francisco, visitors will get a notification on their iPhones. “Attendees will experience a streamlined check-in at the event using existing Passbook technology already on their phones -- no additional app downloads, upgrades or complicated instructions needed,” stated Macworld. The process uses Apple’s iBeacon system, Kent told IBTimes. Twocanoes Software and Passjoy.com are helping Kent make this the easiest check-in ever. Attendees have to own an iPhone 4s or later, as the iBeacon technology was added in 2011.
iBeacon is Apple’s proprietary Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology that allows customers to interact with iBeacon devices as long as they are in range. BLE has two benefits: It doesn’t drain your battery the way that traditional Bluetooth does, and it has a shorter range than other wireless technologies like Wi-Fi, but is longer than NFC or RF. Analysts have suggested that iBeacon could be utilized like NFC technology, but the expedited check-in shows the versatility of the iBeacon and Passbook technologies. Instead of having to physically touch a check-in spot, like much of corporate America does every day, iBeacon registers upon connecting, which will allow attendees the ease to walk right in.
Another way Macworld will be using the iBeacon technology is in a scavenger hunt around the conference. iBeacon hot spots will be strategically placed around the expo hall, and when a visitor walks close enough their iPhone will register the clue. Themed around the 30th anniversary of the Macworld conference and 30 years of Mac, the scavenger hunt provides an interactive way for visitors to be incorporated into the show. Several prizes will be given out, with the grand prize of tickets on the MacMania cruise to the British Isles.
Six About to Break
Possibly the most interesting new feature at this year’s Macworld is the Six About to Break competition. Paul Kent and Myles Weissleder, “ring leader of SF New Tech,” have teamed up to host a competition for the best new technologies in the Apple-verse. Over 100 applicants submitted apps, gadgets and utilities for the competition; Kent and Weissleder were tasked to bring it down to just six. “We wish we could afford more if [the show] allowed it,” Kent said. The pair looked at launch dates, social media trends and vetted each company, but chose the finalists based on how they might disrupt their sector and change the industry. Weissleder also noted that one of the finalists was chosen by the SF New Tech community.
The competition will take place at the Macworld conference in an “American Idol-style” presentation. Judges, including Kent and Weissleder, will provide feedback to the audience, but the ultimate winner will be chosen by the attendees. The finalists are AppPresser, an app building tool powered by WordPress, Everypost, a social media hub that posts to multiple networks, Glyph, a wearable video screen and headphones, Motion Portrait, an app that turns pictures into 3D avatars, PetCube, a gadget that allows users to remotely play with their cats and dogs, and Rekognition, a cloud-based API that helps developers incorporate facial recognition and more into their apps.