MacWorld 2010 Wrapup
Volume Number: 26
Issue Number: 02
Column Tag: Industry
MacWorld 2010 Wrapup
Or, What happened, and what didn't?
by Edward Marczak
Macworld Expo 2010 has come and gone, and MacTech was there to present, mingle and report our thoughts back to you, our readers. So, what did we find?
Macworld Expo 2010 had been called a 'make or break year' for the show. Why was that? This was the first year that Apple had no official presence. Not anywhere. No Apple exec keynote, no Apple booth and no Apple extra-curricular activities. This has been Apple's practice for a while now, so, some of us weren't exactly surprised. Over the years, they've been shutting down the shows that they own. Apple Expo, anyone? Apple, however, does not own Macworld. The owner would be IDG, who wasn't so keen on just shutting things down. Frankly, most people I spoke to weren't keen on possibly losing the last Apple-focused show of this type.
When Apple's withdrawal was first announced, many people proclaimed that it would spell the doom of Macworld. Since the show took place, and IDG have announced dates for 2011, we can gather that it went well enough from IDG's perspective. (Of course, I'm sure things are subject to change, etc.). How did it go from our perspective, though?
The show was wonderful. Simple as that. In fact, rather than being stifling, the lack of Apple was quite liberating. The duration of the Expo had a light and springy feel: that of something new. Everyone in attendance genuinely seemed happy to be there. Those that I spoke with largely confirmed this feeling.
The week consisted of many of the usual events: conference tracks and sessions (http://www.macworldexpo.com/conference), show floor exposition (http://www.macworldexpo.com/expo) and casual events organized by vendors and those individuals interested enough to organize them. Through all of this, the truly important happened: people got together. Like, in meatspace. Face to face—a high bandwidth connection. This is why conferences are important and can't be replaced entirely by virtual communities. I'm not saying that virtual communities aren't useful or that they don't play an important role in connecting people. Not at all.
I was fortunate to be included as one of the session presenters at Macworld and therefore had a chance to meet up with many of the other people presenting. Everyone was upbeat before and after leading their respective sessions. The sessions were generally well attended.
The show floor, while smaller than in years past was, in many ways, much nicer than in years past. We don't need to see 20 iPhone case vendors, 10 bag vendors and so on. (Of course, those categories were represented). The floor was 'big enough.' The mainstays that didn't make an appearance were missed. If you couldn't attend, and want to get a feel for what the floor looked like, see the MacTech Live Macworld 2010 Mashup: http://macte.ch/mtmw2010.
So, what happened? People came to San Francisco. They were educated by teachers, vendors and their peers. They enjoyed themselves. They went back to their lives, energized to use their newfound knowledge. What didn't happen? Well, Apple had no official presence, but many Apple employees attended. We didn't have a "and one more thing..." moment. All of the good "what happened"s far outweighed the potential "what could have been"s.
Interestingly, there was a pervasive feeling in 2009 that we may have been at the last Macworld Expo ever. This year's show had a completely opposite feeling: everyone was looking forward to coming back next year. Vendors, take note.
Ed Marczak is the Executive Editor of MacTech Magazine. He has written the Mac in the Shell column since 2004.