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12/30/2008
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Michael Singer
Michael Singer
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Macworld Puts Its Future In Hands Of Apple Fanboys

With Steve Jobs passing on the January classic and Apple pulling out altogether after next year, the brain trust at IDG is hosting a town hall meeting of Macintosh faithful for suggestions. Is there wisdom in the collective?

With Steve Jobs passing on the January classic and Apple pulling out altogether after next year, the brain trust at IDG is hosting a town hall meeting of Macintosh faithful for suggestions. Is there wisdom in the collective?


Macworld no more...


Apple said earlier this month that Jobs will not be delivering the Jobsnote in January and Apple plans to cease exhibiting at the conference in 2009. While it wasn't totally unexpected that Jobs might not make an appearance, it was a massive blow to the Mac faithful that Apple was pulling out altogether.

Shortly after the bombshell, IDG, the company that runs Macworld, said it would continue to host the show, though analysts are skeptical it can continue without Apple as its anchor and Jobs as its "One More Thing" keynote draw.

So, on Tuesday, Macworld said it will host a town hall meeting at Macworld, to discuss what the future will look like.

"While there is no question that Macworld is going to evolve and change in 2010, the fundamental importance of the event remains the same: the unique ability to put exciting new Apple-related products directly into the hands of users and to inspire those users to put their products to work in new and innovative ways," Paul Kent, VP and general manager, Macworld Conference & Expo said in a statement. "Macworld will continue to foster the deep sense of community that has been at the heart of the show for the last 25 years. As part of this commitment to the community, we look forward to sharing our thoughts and ideas for future Macworld events, as well as hearing ideas and suggestions from the community."

The meeting will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009, at 5 p.m. local time in room 102. The meeting will serve as "an exchange of ideas on potential new show attractions, content, and features," IDG said. And unlike talking to Apple, members of the Mac community will be encouraged to ask questions about next year's event.

This is all well and good, but it will be interesting to see in what form and fashion it will take.

Case in point: IDG also ran LinuxWorld, which is now a defunct show.

Like Macworld, LinuxWorld also had a very passionate fan base. But the show ended up the victim of fragmentation from other open source community and highly targeted events like OSCON, which also overlapped and eclipsed the Linux news. So now, IDG has rebranded LinuxWorld into the OpenSource World Conference & Expo.

And while the Mac community will certainly have a say of how they'd like to shape Macworld 2010, the bottom line is the bottom line. Even before Apple decided to drop out of Macworld, key vendors like Adobe and Belkin said they weren't going to make the annual trek to San Francisco. Getting vendors to pay top dollar to peddle hardware, software, and services won't be easy knowing that poppa Apple won't be there to help put "cheeks in the seats," as the trade-show industry is fond of saying.

If you're really passionate about attending, you might want to get a seat early. Room 102 in the Moscone Center's Gateway Ballroom can hold about 638 people in a theater setting or, if they open up the accordion walls, it can expand to nearly 3,000 seats -- though that's unlikely given how cramped real estate can get during Macworld.

Also, I'm also not sure if asking fanboys what they want is the best remedy for Macworld.

Ultimately, Mac fans want to be inspired. They want Jobsnote. They want "One More Thing." Without its hero or his phalanx in attendance, Macworld 2010 might resemble window shopping outside an Apple store rather than being inside one.

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