Wow! The Mac blogosphere experienced 5 alarm fire today when Apple announced that January 2009 will be the last time it participates in Macworld and Steve won't be giving this year's keynote, Phil Schuller will. Apple explains that the significant cost of its participation (probably in the millions) just is not a wise investment. Hmmmm. I find that one a little hard to swallow from a company that reports quarterly profits with the word billion. (that is nine zeros.) The other common explanation, that Apple doesn't want to be tied to IDG's schedule and forced to make major product releases after the holidays, makes a lot more sense.
My reaction to this news is mixed. On one level, I'm disappointed. If you've ever been to Macworld, the huge Apple booth is imposing and lends a certain level of credibility to the event. On the other hand, last year I was at Macworld 3 days and spent about 30 minutes total in the Apple booth.
For every attendee, Macworld is a different experience. Some people arrive to find distributors for their new iPod cases, some people go to develop valuable business relationships. The parts I enjoy most are connecting with new and old friends and and finding great new Macintosh software and hardware to share with the macsparky faithful.
So, on its surface, Apple's 2010 pullout really doesn't affect my experience. If this pullout turns into a slow death spiral for future Macworld expos, that would be tragic. The annual east coast Macworld died shortly after Apple pulled out. Nevertheless, I have hope for Macworld. It is just such a different experience than any other trade show I've ever attended. There is a spirit camaraderie and I'd hate to see that end.