Tag Archives | Macworld Expo

Dueling Keynotes: Phil Schiller at Macworld Expo vs. Steve Ballmer at CES

(if you came here looking for our live coverage of the Macworld Expo 2009 keynote, head over here.)

Macworld Expo 2009 Phil Schiller Keynote

Next week will see two tech trade show presentations by guys who are following very tough acts: Phil Schiller’s first (and last) Macworld Expo San Francisco keynote and Steve Ballmer’s first (and probably not last) Consumer Electronics Show one. Maybe I have a soft spot for underdogs–albeit extremely wealthy ones–but I’m actually looking forward to attending and covering both gentlemen’s speeches. (Trivia: I never went to any of the many, many keynotes by Bill Gates at Comdex and CES conferences that I covered.) I’ve already written a bit about the two keynotes; after the jump, a more formal comparison in the form of a T-Grid.

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Next Week: Two Big Keynotes, Twice the Live Coverage

As usual, this year will kick off with two of the biggest tech shows of the year, Macworld Expo and CES, scheduled so tightly that they overlap. But for the first time, Macworld Expo’s keynoter will be Apple marketing head Phil Schiller and CES’s will be Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. If nothing else, it marks a major changing of the respective guards (Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, respectively). And I’ll be at both speeches, covering them in real time. Save yourself all that running around between San Francisco and Vegas and join me–whatever the news is, I’ll let you know just as soon as I did.

Pages for the two live events are now live–and if you click on one (or both) of the promos below, you can even sign up to be reminded by e-mail before they start.

Macworld Expo 2009 Phil Schiller Keynote

CES 2009 Steve Ballmer Keynote

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12 Questions (and Attempts at Answers) About Next Week’s Macworld Expo Non-Stevenote

Phil Schiller Macworld Expo Keynote ComposographWe’re now just over a week before Macworld Expo–a timeframe that would normally be bulging at the seams with speculation about what the Steve Jobs keynote would reveal. This time, of course, there will be no Jobs keynote–Apple marketing head Phil Schiller will fill in at the final Apple keynote at the show. And there’s little chatter on the Web about the Philnote–and virtually no expectation that it’ll be anything but a ho-hum presentation of ho-hum products.

Me, I’ll be at the keynote as usual, covering it live for this site. It’s in my self-interest to hope that it won’t be a non-event. So I’m already asking myself questions about it, and trying to come up with answers. Such as the twelve after the jump.

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The Silence of the Fans

philschillerMac fan Lesa Snider King is understandably none too pleased with Apple’s decision to pull out of Macworld Expo as of 2010. She’s come up with a unique way to express her ire: She’s organizing Silent Keynote, an effort to get folks in attendance at Phil Schiller’s Macworld Expo keynote next month to remain silent as a form of protest. (Lesa says she’s not ticked off that it’ll be Schiller up there instead of Steve Jobs, incidentally.)

My first impulse was to scoff at the idea–why try to damage Schiller’s demo in reaction to an Apple business decision? But Apple fans are entitled to respond to Apple doings as they see fit. And I can see the logic behind trying to deny Apple one of its most powerful marketing tools: The intense, bordering-on-the-scary enthusiastic response to Apple news. If you’re not happy with Apple, you might not reward it with clapping, hooting, hollering, and/or repeated standing ovations. That makes sense. Nobody can demand that someone express pleasure if that person is, in fact, really angry. (And Lesa King isn’t advocating booing, hissing, or the hurling of rotten fruit and vegetables. That, I think we can all agree, would be inappropriate.)

The strongest argument against Silent Keynote is probably this: It’s very, very unlikely to make Apple reconsider its decision to end support of Macworld Expo. It might even make it dig in its heels.

Of course, Phil Schiller will be operating at a severe disadvantage anyhow, having been born with a handicap shared by most of us: He’s not Steve Jobs. One suspects that the reaction to his presentation would have been on the subdued side regardless of whether there were organized efforts to make it so.

Me, I’m most likely not going to applaud or cheer Schiller’s news, even if he unveils a $200 Mac supercomputer-class netbook that doubles as a personal jetpack: As a member of the press, I almost never give the people I’m covering so much as a polite clap or two, regardless of whether I’m impressed or not. (Hey, it compensates for the throngs in Macworld Expo keynotes who go into ecstasy when Steve Jobs announces things like the fact that Apple wasn’t going to include a keyboard or mouse with the Mac Mini.) As far as I can remember, the last time I applauded Mr. Jobs was in the mid-1980s, when I went to a demo of his NeXT cube–I wasn’t a tech journalist at the time, and therefore let all of my enthusiasm hang out.

But I’m a contrarian to my core, so who knows? I may give Schiller a brief round of dignified applause when he comes onstage. The poor guy will probably need the support. One way or another, it’ll be fascinating to be in that room, even if Apple’s news that morning isn’t fascinating in the least.

Here, by the way, is a preview of what the Philnote may be like if Lesa King’s protest takes off–starting at 2:58 (looks like WordPress won’t let me embed part of a YouTube video):


T-Poll: Apple’s Macworld Expo Exodus

tpoll1So  Steve Jobs is skipping Macworld Expo this year, and the rest of Apple will skedaddle in 2010. You can argue that that’s bad for Apple fans–my friend Jason Snell, editorial director of Macworld (which is a surprisingly distant arm of IDG from the Expo that shares its name) does so cogently here. But there are others who are agreeing with Apple’s apparent stance that its customers might as well just head to an Apple Store. I see no consensus as of yet on the fallout from the pullout.

What say you? Time for a quick T-Poll…


Twelve Questions About the Apple-Macworld Expo Breakup

philschillerWow. Wow. Wow. Over the last few days, folks noticed that the traditional announcement that Steve Jobs would kick off IDG’s Macworld Expo with a keynote speech hadn’t come yet, and began wondering if he might be a no-show–as unlikely as that seemed. Sometimes, the unlikely is nonetheless reality: Apple has announced that marketing head Phil Schiller will keynote, and that it’s pulling out of Macworld Expo altogether as of 2010.

To quote its release:

Apple is reaching more people in more ways than ever before, so like many companies, trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers. The increasing popularity of Apple’s Retail Stores, which more than 3.5 million people visit every week, and the Apple.com website enable Apple to directly reach more than a hundred million customers around the world in innovative new ways.

Apple has been steadily scaling back on trade shows in recent years, including NAB, Macworld New York, Macworld Tokyo and Apple Expo in Paris.

All of which is true. And it’s conceivable that it’s the whole story about Apple’s decision. But the release doesn’t tippy-toe anywhere near any of the truly interesting questions raised by this bombshell. Such as the twelve that leap to my mind–which I’ll ask after the jump.

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Macworld Exhibitors Pulling Out, Downsizing

maclogoHarry reported on Monday about the shrinking size of CES 2009. Well, the same economic pressures that are affecting the world’s largest electronics trade show is also putting a damper on Macworld 2009, which is presented by IDG. AppleInsider reports that some big names are altering their expo plans, including Adobe, Belkin, Google, and Seagate.

Adobe was the first to pull out of the trade show, and did so on Wednesday. While it will still maintain a presence at the show through developer sessions, it will not have a booth in the expo hall.

Belkin, which has typically had a large presence at IDG’s show, has pulled out completely, as has Creative Labs. Its booth space would be taken over by software tutorial company VTC, and Seagate is also notably absent from the exhibitor roles.

Even Google is taking a step back: it’s booth will shrink considerably. AppleInsider also claims at least two more companies are either pulling out or in discussions to scale back their presence.

IDG is said to be working overtime to keep these exhibitors, and is also reportedly seeing a 20 percent drop in attendance over last year’s show.

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Maybe They Should Call It the Compact Electronics Show

ceslogoFor tech journalists, the busiest week of all is the first full one of the year. It starts with San Francisco’s Macworld Expo, which involves a whole lot of hoopla about a handful of products (Apple ones, naturally). And then it segues into the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, at which no single product will receive a hundredth of the attention reaped by Apple’s Macworld news. But at CES there are thousands of new products, from nearly every company in the industry except Apple. The show packs Vegas to the rafters, and attendees fill just about every hotel room in the city.

cesshrinkingOr so they have for many years–especially after Comdex, once the nation’s biggest tech trade show, went to the great convention center in the sky after its 2003 edition. But with a little more than a month to go until CES 2009 and the economy in tatters, there are rumblings that the show’s hypergrowth may have stalled. CNBC’s Jim Goldman is reporting that the Consumer Electronics Association, which runs the show, is saying that this year’s version will be down from 2008 and 2007 in terms of floor space. It’s not saying whether it’ll be down a little or a lot. But hotel room rates, which have been gougingly high in recent years, are coming down this time around–a sure sign that fewer conventioneers are planning to make the pricey trek to the desert.

Anecdotally, a lot of the folks I see every year at CES are telling me that they won’t be there this year…and not one of them seems griefstricken at the prospect of missing it. That’s not a good sign for the show’s health: Comdex managed the incredible feat of going from being the country’s largest trade show of any sort to irrelevance and death in just a few years in part because people disliked attending it and discovered that they didn’t have to. I’m kind of assuming that the CES bubble will burst in similar fashion someday; I don’t know if this will be the year it happens, but it’s worth noting that external forces (the 2000 stock market meltdown and 9/11) probably hastened Comdex’s demise.

Me, I’m still looking forward to the trip to CES–when I worked at PC World I tended to spend most of the show holed up in a PCW conference suite at the Las Vegas Hilton, but this year I figure I’ll be able to roam around and actually see stuff. I’ve always said the only thing I’d find more stressful than attending CES is not attending CES; I hope I still feel that way after next month’s show.

And hey, a slightly smaller, more managable CES might be more enjoyable and productive. Even if only .000001% of the items at the show are a big whoop, I’ll have plenty of stuff to report on here at Technologizer…