European Apple fans have been eagerly awaiting this year's Apple Expo. As last year's event was cancelled, and most could not really warrant the cost of travelling to America, this year's Expo was the first major Apple-related date for Europeans in two years. There were of course a lot of product releases and newsworthy events at the Expo this year but attempting to document them all would be nigh on impossible, so I will now try to present my own personal highlights.

Developing for the Macintosh has never been an easy undertaking; with the advent of OS X life has been made easier for developers but there is still room for improvement. Several products caught my eye, however. The infamous and long-running CodeWarrior is now in its eighth incarnation (since the the product went cross-platform), with improved support for OS X and new APIs/libraries. On the whole the program has changed very little, but for hard-core Mac developers CodeWarrior is the only solution.

For all you database developers out there OpenBase has released OpenBase SQL, which is compatible with projects created in WebObjects, REALbasic, 4D, and Omnis. It also includes support for Java, ODBC, multithreading, and for clients on a variety of platforms. Perhaps the most impressive new product in the developer field was Revolution, which is compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux platforms and offers a simple and unique method of cross-platform development. Revolution is a visual event-driven development environment similar to REALbasic and Visual Basic; you drag items onto your interface and assign events and properties to them. It may appear only capable of basic applications, but for the sheer number of features available as well as ease of use it can?t be beaten.

On the multimedia front, Ezedia announced the release of several innovative products. First, two plug-ins for iMovie 2: eZeMatte and eZeScreen, which incorporate masking and layering of other movie clips. EzediaMX 3 is the company's attempt to compete with Macromedia?s Flash format. It cannot yet beat Flash?s specifications, but for a different look to interactive movies it's ideal.

Two impressive utilities at the Expo were Data Rescue X and Move2Mac. Data Rescue X claims to be not only compatible with and able to recover OS X volumes, but is also allegedly capable of recovering 95% of files including system hierarchy and media files. Made famous by Apple's switchers campaign, Move2Mac is truly an exceptional product. Its clear interface and careful programming effortlessly transfer preferences and data from any PC (Win 95 or above) to a Mac (OS X 10.2 only), making switching easy and not switching inexcusable.

One of the slowest transitions to Mac OS X has been in the world of music applications, mainly due to the complete reworking necessary for compatibility with OS X's superior Core Audio. At last, Steinberg have released Cubase SX/SL which not only offers OS X support but also added features such as the new project page, loop editor, real-time MIDI plug-ins, new automation modes, virtual instruments, effects, and the ability to use networked machines to share processing power. Cubase SL is a stripped down, less powerful version of SX offering fewer features.

Apple was naturally also out in force at the Expo, with a frankly ridiculously sized stand and stage. On show were iCal and iSync (still in beta), Rendezvous, Bluetooth and most existing recent Apple products. Apple chose this Expo to controversially announce that new Macs bought from January 2003 will no longer be able to boot into OS 9, running old programs in Classic only.

Language barriers aside, and with big thumbs up to Apple's vast advertising campaign which gave the impression they were sponsoring the city, this year's Expo was encouraging and innovative, effectively demonstrating that it's not always the big boys who produce the best software and hardware.

Published in www.atpm.com