Apple announced that it will not be attending Macworld Expo after 2009 because they feel that their own retail stores and special events are a much better way for Apple to reach its customers, rather than trade shows. For those who keep themselves in the loop about these things, this is not news. In addition, Steve Jobs abstained from doing the keynote, something that he has done every year since 1997. Phil Shiller, Apple’s Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing went to Macworld to represent Apple and did a fantastic job. What does this mean for Macworld?
Recently, Steve Jobs temporarily stepped down from his regular CEO duties to recover from a hormone imbalance that has left him very thin. (By the way, Apple now boasts the thinnest, lightest CEO in the industry.) Tim Cook, Apple’s COO has stepped into the CEO role while Steve is away. Apple without Steve Jobs is still Apple. If Jobs left the company permanently, would it affect Apple’s ability to roll out great new products? Jobs left the company before, in 1985. It went downhill until he came back. Have things changed? Certainly. Apple has lots of creative, intelligent people who are fully capable of running the company. Also, products like computers, iPods, and iPhones are in the pipeline for at least one or two years. Even if Jobs is gone for that long, Apple will do well. I would also like to think that Apple’s leadership has learned from the mistakes of the past. Apple became complacent and created vast, confusing product lines. It even had four CEOs in the span of five years. I would presume that those fatal errors would not be made again without Steve Jobs at the helm.
My point is that if Apple is still Apple without Steve Jobs, then Macworld will still be Macworld without Apple. I think that the face and spirit of the Expo will change, but not the fact that it will remain a place for Mac fans from around the world to gather once a year. Up until now, Macworld has been your ordinary trade show and conference, albeit exclusively devoted to the Mac and Apple. It has attracted the mainstream media and gained even more attention than CES, which is held in Las Vegas at the same time. I think that with Apple gone, Macworld 2010 will not garner as much attention from the mainstream media. However, I think this is an opportunity for Macworld Expo to become a more niche gathering, where people who love to use the Mac, or people who want to learn more about the Mac to converge on one spot once a year. It will cease to be a press conference for Apple and focus more on the Mac user. That is my vision for the future of Macworld Conference & Expo.
Macworld 2010 has already been confirmed by IDG, the group that organizes the convention every year. The Moscone Center has been booked up for five days in January 2010. The stage is set, so who will be there and what will they make of the event? Will there be a Macworld 2011? I certainly hope so and I think that there is a very good chance. I believe that with Apple departing, the Mac users themselves who attend the show year after year will have a chance to reinvent Macworld Expo into something that is about the average Mac user.