A surprisingly low key but nonetheless relatively rewarding MacExpo drifted into London on Thursday hoping to impress the Apple faithful with their annual show and tell of what’s hot and what’s not in the world of the Macintosh.

I say low key because a number of the big guns were conspicuous by their absence. Apple themselves had a sacrilegiously low profile at the event which was all the more shocking as I attended on the eve of the release of their brand spanking new operating system Panther.

Still while the big cats were away, the mice would play (and other peripherals were on show at this event as well…. Oh…somebody stop me!) and this left the playing field open for the likes of Iomega, Corel and others to show us what tricks they had up their sleeves.

While last year was something of an even playing field when it came to what was on offer in terms of multimedia, this year the tilt was strictly in favour of the graphics markets. Those expecting to find some note worthy gatherings of musicians were to be sadly disappointed.

Still Corel showed off Painter X in its latest incarnation and while I confess to having virtually no skills in the graphics department that program alone made me want to go out and start dabbling, it seems that all the pixel heads were out to slay the giant so to speak. Yep, you’ve guessed it…Adobe weren’t present either.

So it was up to the likes of Computer Warehouse to offer an impressive range of hardware to the discerning punter and I confess I fell in love with no less than three screens during the show, discovered that Aperture needn’t be a daunting tool after all.

Oh for the record Microsoft were there as well, touting Office 2008 and actually showing us 2004, is there anything they can do late that a) works (Vista) b) isn’t vapourware (Office 2008 for Mac). From the demos I was shown there looked to be very little to be getting excited about. Notice to Redmond…just cos you can ship in a Universal Binary doesn’t mean that you are the bees knees.

The seminars were good. I mean really good. Like I mentioned I am not a graphics junkie by any stretch of the imagination but I came away from everything on offer feeling like I had actually learned something practical and useful. The boys and girls did their job, there were at least two or three apps that I felt that I should own. Sadly there was nothing in the way of a preview of Leopard, but we all know how tight Apple can be when it comes to release schedules et al.

However worry ye not, I intend to get all in depth and probing on the new OS just as soon as I have installed it. Watch this space.

The Expo runs till Saturday at Olympia