The news that Apple will no longer headline Macworld (after 2009) came as a shock to many Apple watchers. The reasons are many and varied, and Apple has an official line.
The speculation as to why Apple would drop such a long-running, premiere event is running rampant on the web. I have mixed emotions. Joy and happiness. Fear and trembling.
First, who did not see this coming? Apple dropped Macworld East (Boston, New York, whatever it was) years ago. Why? Why bother? Macworld, East Coast Version was a pale imitation of the real Macworld in San Francisco.
Second, conventions like Macworld cost companies like Apple millions and millions of dollars and cater to two very distinct groups—the Apple and Mac press, and the geekier of Apple’s Mac customers.
Besides, Macworld in recent years wasn’t as much about the Mac as it was about the iPhone, the iPod, and what Apple did not announce at Macworld. Despite all the Mac coolness we’ve come to know and love at Macworld, Macworld was really more of an Appleworld Event™.
Alright, so be it. No more Apple at Macworld, and probably, after 2010, no more Macworld.
Steve Jobs has delivered his final keynote presentation at Macworld. So, why the mixed emotions?
First, joy and happiness. It’s the future, baby. Macworld was so 1980s, wrapped up in the comeback of the 1990s, but failed to deliver anything worthy of the 21st century.
What’s worthy of the 21st century? A mixture of old and new. Stores and the internet. Apple stores are a place to hang out and buy stuff and check email and meet up with friends. Apple says the stores bring in 3.5-million customers a week.
That makes an annual Macworld attendance of 50,000 or 70,000 or whatever miniscule number pale in comparison, no? For those that don’t go to the Apple Store each week and bow before Steve Jobs’ presence embodied in every Apple product on the shelves and tabletops, there’s the internet.
That about wraps it up. The internet usually, but not always, delivers all the details of big events in pretty much nearly real time, so what good is the big event that costs millions of dollars? Not much. Smaller big events that don’t cost diddly still get the media attention Steve demands.
So, I’m happy that Apple is ending attendance at Macworld. The future is here. Sure, Steve Jobs may be dying of cancer, or stricken with ingratitude, or in the third stage of a deadly hubris attack, but Macworld was legacy, and Apple isn’t much on legacy these days.
Second among the mixed emotions is fear and trembling. Why? The future is unknown. What will replace Macworld with days and weeks of premature and post event analysis from those of us in the media who follow Apple’s every move and count Steve’s every breath?
That’s unknown, right? So, I’m fearful. What new products that Apple would never dream of delivering will we Apple and Mac pundits speculate upon? What will drive us to new levels of disappointment if Macworld and the keynote presentation and Father Steve are, indeed, history?
If to Apple Stores location is everything, then for Apple events, timing is everything, and a fixed event like Macworld presents control freak Apple with a dilemma—always the need to deliver One More Thing™ at every annual event.
Oh, the pressure. Oh, the humanity. Oh, to be free of the burden.
Apple saves time and money and gains freedom and control over event planning by sending Macworld back to the future of 1997.
One more thing—Time Magazine, without the gaunt appearance of Steve Jobs at every Macworld, will be forced to release news articles with old photos of Steve, doctored up and thinned down, squished in, and Photoshopped to make him appear gaunt, and old, and diseased.
Oh, wait. Time already did that.
No more Steve and Macworld? An era has ended. A new future has begun. And that’s a bit fearful, but a good thing.