Love Apple or hate Apple? It doesn’t matter much, because Jobs and Company (Mac, iPod, iPhone, whatever) are a great story, worth watching, worth waiting around for a new chapter.
Macworld 2009 will be the last official Apple sanctioned Macworld, and without Steve Jobs at the keynote. Why? Because Steve Jobs is afraid of getting too close to his Mac family.
Family is often about tradition. We may not like our family members, we many not always hang around together, but family reunions give us a chance to catch up with one another, share with one another, and, collectively, remember that we are family.
Macworld, for about 25 years, give or take, and once coast to coast, has been about the Mac family—back in the day when Apple and the Mac were one.
These days the Mac is less about our camaraderie of minority users than it is about the company Apple, managing the fortunes from iPod, iTunes Store, iPhone Apps Store, growing market share, growing prosperity, growing bank account balance than about family.
See? The family has changed. Steve Jobs, as co-founder and head of our beloved company, considered Mac users to be his lawful wedded family. He gave to use, enriched us, counseled us, disciplined us, grounded us, gave us hope and inspiration.
That was the age of the Mac family. That was then and this is now.
The Mac family is a small, and increasingly smaller subset of the whole Apple family of software, music players, cell phones, media store, application store. All those family members require father Steve Jobs to give them attention, to nurture them, to help them grow.
The Mac side of the family? Hey, we got fast Intel CPUs, Mac OS X, iLife and cache, right? What more could we want?
What we want is a continuation of tradition, the annual family reunion, something to look forward to on the calendar of dreams, something to start the new year. We want hope for the improvement of tomorrow.
Macworld and Steve Jobs gave all that and more to the Mac family of users. But no more. Apple is no longer just a family of Mac users. Tens of millions of Windows PC users lined up at the Apple Store Alters in recent years to buy the iPod and bask in the magic that came with being a member of Apple’s extended family.
In just a year or two, the iPhone will have more customers than Mac users; yet another extended family. Mac users are quickly becoming a minority in the Apple family. Macworld? Sorry, that’s sound too much like, you know, the “Mac.”
The Mac was birthed and christened in early 1984, and the first Macworld Expo was held a year later in San Francisco. Steve Jobs didn’t show up to the first Macworld, and it’s probable he won’t show up at the last Macworld.
Why? Some say Steve Jobs is fearless, totally willing to drop the past for the future. I say Steve Jobs is afraid, fearful that he will miss the next great thing. He is so fearful of being wrong that he’s willing to dispense with family traditions he can no longer control.
The future can be a cold and unfriendly place without the luxury of caring family members, whether they be Mac users, iPod users, iPhone users, Mac watchers, and Apple pundits, who seem to have grown in number, becoming too unfriendly, too demanding, too unpredictable, too unmanageable.
Steve Jobs cannot control every aspect of his enlarged family, though he tries mightily. The Mac in Macworld no longer fits. Mac users will stick around despite the loss of the annual family reunion. But for how long?
Yes, change is one of the few constants in the universe—That He Not Busy Being Born Is Busy Dying. Or, something to that effect. In other words, change is inevitable. Deal with it. Go with the flow. The future is now. Embrace change.
Family membership is but one of those small traditions that we carry toward the future. It helps define who we are, what we will become. Without Macworld, a part of our Mac user family has been laid to rest. These days we’re being treated more like customers.