The crowd was expectant, the media throng hurtled into the hall at the Moscone Centre and fought for the best camera position, and the audience gave the speaker the usual warm welcome accorded to the keynote presenter at Macworld.

So why did an hour and a half spent listening to details of Apple's shiny new products leave me just slightly underwhelmed - at least until the last five minutes? I don't think it was entirely the fault of Steve Jobs' less than charismatic stand-in Phil Schiller. Sure, he didn't pepper his keynote with as many "awesomes" and "really cools" as his boss. But then he didn't have anything really awesome to unveil.

When he started with a slide promising Three New Things, I was mildly excited. An iPhone nano? A tiny notebook computer? A big price cut? Err, no.

First, we had nearly an hour on an upgrade to the iLife suite of software. Sure, the upgrades to iMovie and iPhoto looked great. Facial recognition and geo-tagging is a clever way or organising your photos, and iMovie's latest incarnation seriously impressed my cameraman who uses far more expensive professional video editing software. But, hey, we get an upgrade to iLife every year, don't we? Hardly really new, and we didn't need all the wearisome details.

Then another twenty minutes on an upgrade to iWork, Apple's productivity software. But does anyone really use this rival to Microsoft Office, apart from hardcore Mac devotees who wouldn't sully their hands with anything emanating from Redmond? Ah, but here was something really revolutionary - So Apple will now allow you to put your documents online in the "cloud" so that they can be accessed anywhere by anyone. But even though it will start off as a free beta, it will eventually become a paid-for service. Just a minute - Google offers something similar , if less sophisticated, for nothing. So is this really going to change the world.

The final "new" thing was a 17" Macbook Pro. So does an extra two inches really count as novel? Phil Schiller made great play of a battery life of up to eight hours. That sounds great - but it's achieved by embedding the battery in the laptop. So in the unlikely event that the power supply fails, you will end up being without your computer for days while it is repaired.

That was the point I got up and headed for the exit to tell my bosses in London that Macworld had produced nothing new. But luckily there was One More Thing - and it was pretty good.

The deal with the big four record labels to make every track on iTunes DRM-free may well be the day that marks the demise of the copy-protection software for music. It's also an important moment in the fractious relationship between Apple and the music industry. Each side has got a bit of what it wanted - Apple has the DRM-free music Steve Jobs called for nearly two years ago, while the labels have got some wriggle room on pricing, with three different prices for tracks.

So we were relieved to emerge at last with a story. But for me the highlight was the show's finale, Tony Bennett singing "The Best is Yet To Come." The only problem was that the Apple faithful emerged from the Moscone Centre wondering whether that was really true.