Though it is a smaller event than in previous years, Macworld Expo Boston appears set for some success ? and the opening panel discussion was oversubscribed.

Local paper the Boston Globe reports on the new event. "The last time fans of Macintosh computers attended a Macworld Expo in Boston was in 1997", it reports. It took two convention halls to hold the 50,000 attendees, the many exhibitors and Apple CEO steve Jobs, who stunned show-goers with news of an alliance with Microsoft.

With Apple's decision not to attend the show, Macworld Boston 2004 is a quieter affair, boasting no Apple, around 10,000 attendees and 80 exhibitors.

IDG World Expo group vice president Warwick Davies described the event as "exceeding most people's expectations".

Wired Magazine confirms this, describing "large, bustling crowds of happy Mac nerds".

Davies' thoughts were echoed by show-goers spoken to in the report, though all concerned would have liked Apple to be there. ''It's a mistake that they don't have a presence here," Bill Viall told the Globe.

Exhibitors also seemed pleased: "It's surprisingly crowded," said Cliff Colby of Peachpit Press, "We're actually selling books!" he said.

In a last-minute move, Microsoft also attended the show. Product manager Jessica Sommer described the company as "evaluating" the event, but reportedly seemed pleased at the size of the crowd.

The opening presentation consisted of a panel discussion (hosted by David Pogue) featuring four members of the original Mac design team: Jef Raskin, Andy Hertzfeld, Bill Atkinson and Jerry Mannock.

This discussion also featured an empty black turtleneck and pair of blue jeans, left on a chair to symbolise the spirit of Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

In an excellent on-the-spot report, MacCentral says Raskin took pains to take credit for the invention of the Mac, and seemed critical of Jobs: "Steve never understood user interfaces, but he understood boxes. He never got outside the box," said Raskin.

Andy Hertzfeld, however, said that he personally enjoyed working with Jobs, "though not everyone did".

Jerry Manock, who worked on the industrial design of the Mac, said Jobs "always wants his designs to match those of Mercedes".