Here’s the first hint of how IDG’s Macworld Expo will change in the wake of Apple’s decision to pull out of the show: It’s moving from early January to February 9th-13th (which includes a Saturday–the show has been weekday only). The conference sessions run for the entire duration of the show; the show floor will be open on the 11th, 12th, and 13th. Everything is still at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.
The change sounds like good news. I’m not sure if mid-February is the optimum time to hold the show or not, but I know that early January was a royal pain: It was so soon after the holidays and the new year that anyone who had to do much planning for it (like, ahem, a tech journalist) had to dedicate part of his or her time off to getting ready. It collided with the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas–also known as the “Every Other Electronics Company on the Planet Except Apple Show.” And as so many folks pointed out, the right-after-Christmas timing wasn’t great for product announcements.
[UPDATE: PCMag.com's Sascha Segan pointed out to me that Macworld Expo now brushes up against Mobile World Congress, the big European phone show--it officially kicks on February 15th next year. Should still be possible to attend both, though, since you won't need three full days to take in everything on the Macworld Expo floor.]
The Saturday show-floor day is an acknowledgment of a essential fact about the event: Unlike most tech conferences, Macworld is a consumer event. (Among other things, it’s one of the few where selling stuff on the floor is not only permitted but encouraged.) Consumers, of course, might appreciate the option of attending the show without taking a day off from work.
Did I just call the event Macworld? That’s also a change: Its full name is Macworld Conference and Expo, but the official site calls it “Macworld 2010″ in most instances. Most of the folks who care about the event have always called it just plain Macworld, but IDG has tended to tack the “Expo” on to the end, presumably to differentiate it from Macworld the magazine. (So have I when talking about it here on Technologizer–as a former IDG employee, I’d trained my brain to be fastidious on branding issues.)
Show manager Paul Kent told me the switch to “Macworld 2010″ is to reflect the name that attendees have long used, as well as the fact that the event is more than just a conference and an exposition. Makes sense to me.