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Article: Macworld Expo 2010: Was It Worth It?

by on February 14, 2010

I could sit here and say that this year’s Macworld Expo was a disaster for a number of reasons, but I’m not going to. I did not attend this year’s oddly-timed expo (it started Tuesday and ended on Saturday and in February, no less), and it seems that in the grand scheme of things in the Apple-related universe, I did not miss much. That being said, I am glad that it happened and was semi-successful without Apple.

When Apple announced that last year’s Macworld Expo would be their last, many expected the event to end or at least be completely pointless. Not only would it be competing with the Consumer Electronics Show, but also any special January product introductions that Apple would generate. Instead, the overall feel seemed to be more like something of a “Mac Web Live” event. The personalities who make their living (or attempt to supplement their income) presented, shared, and mingled with attendees. The companies showing off their wares were the center stage, not Apple. Even the yet-to-be-sold iPad only got a session with no demonstration.

Benefit to the Conference

The point is, this was the first Macworld Expo without Apple and I think (from an outside perspective) it went off pretty well. The emphasis went from Steve Jobs and his product star power and a few third-parties’ product introductions to the personalities and small companies that help support this industry. I think that this also was one of the first times that the attendees didn’t go for Apple (obviously), but maybe this will finally end the confusion that Apple is not the company that puts on this trade show.

Benefit to Apple

We know what’s out there as far as Apple products go. There are enough Apple Retail Stores and Apple resellers that anyone can play with the latest hardware, and even check it out a few days after any big product announcement. Furthermore, the Web has made it so that people can find out what’s new almost instantaneously, rather than waiting to hear about it through traditional print media. The Macworld Expo format that has been working for the last couple of decades, but it was something that gave Apple a stage to introduce products before the Internet allowed it to be pumped to any computer anywhere.

Additionally, the post-holiday, pre-Macworld time was terrible for Apple. People would not buy products that were due for an update soon because they were banking on a new version soon. We still get that, but Apple can hold events whenever they see fit. In some ways, it took the pressure off January for new product introductions and spread it out across the year.

There’s Always WWDC

The Worldwide Developers Conference is something that is run by Apple and it has somewhat of a “State of the Union” feel for the iPod, iPhone, Mac, and anything else that comes from Apple. The actual product introductions are not the important focus, even though they do happen. That is the chance for Apple to demonstrate what’s coming up for the people that care about it—the developers. Only recently has the public been excited about it, but that’s because the iPhone refresh cycle coincides with it.

Does this new arrangement work? I would suggest that it does and has given a revival to the idea of the conference aspect of the Macworld Conference & Expo. We’ll have to see how the 2011 one pans out.

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