Reflections on Macworld 2012

I just spent four days basking in Apple geekiness. That’s right, I survived another Macworld trip. For those who missed out, shame on you. Nevertheless, here is my recap.

The Conference

This year IDG drastically reduced the cost of a conference pass with introduction of iFan pass. If you bought early enough, it was just $75 ($125 at the show). The iFan got you into all of the Tech Talks.

As a result, there were a lot more people in the conference sessions, and that was great. The conference level and the sessions were full of people. As a speaker, I loved it. Several attendees told me this was the first time they’d gone to the conference and they were getting lots out of it. In summary, the reduced price conference pass seems a huge win for everyone. (The picture below shows the 40 tips crowd.)

The Show Floor

The show floor was the usual assortment of software, hardware, and plastic iCases. I was happy to see several of my favorite vendors (Omni Group, Smile, BusyCal) along with several new iOS and Mac developers. This is the second Macworld since the iPad was released and the changes are not subtle. There are a lot of iOS related developers and accessories. The event is most certainly evolving and while there were Mac app developers present, there were more iOS vendors. This really isn’t a surprise. Macworld changed its name to Macworld | iWorld as the community adjusts to reflect Apple’s current products.

It is easy to complain about the case vendors but they have been at Macworld since the iPod was a hit and, frankly, they help keeps the lights on. The one blemish on the show from my point of view is the increasing number of “booth babes”. Walking in the Expo hall, the first thing I saw was a girl in a skin tight outfit with a QR code on her ass. It is just lame on so many levels. I’m not sure what can be done to discourage this behavior. I can only say anything I’m involved with will not be focussing attention on companies and products that advertise that way.

Traffic on the floor was busy every time I was there. I was surprised how busy the floor remained even Saturday afternoon as the show came to a close. I don’t know what the final numbers were but I suspect they were higher than last year.

The Social Part

There is little surprise that the social end of Macworld is alive and well. Parties and gatherings took place every night. I attended several and they remain the love-fest of Apple enthusiasts that they’ve always been. It is these shared meals, parties, and conversations that make it worth the trip. Every year I reconnect with old friends and make several new ones. This year was no different.

Much of the success I’ve enjoyed from MacSparky grows from friendships I’ve made in Moscone Center. As Steve Stanger aptly explained to me, “Once you’ve attended Macworld, you can’t possibly imagine a future Macworld without being there.” I’ve already reserved the dates for next year. (January 31-February 2, 2013).