What, exactly, is the need for a yearly Macworld confab?
Produced by the all-Apple, all-the-time magazine, the Macworld Conference & Expo is a five-day conference that begins Tuesday in San Francisco. It's in 25th year, with the first Macworld dating back to 1985. It's part trade show, part customer circus and altogether undeniably, shamelessly Machead central. For some time, two Macworlds were held each year -- the first in San Francisco, the second in Boston and later in New York. As the video below proves, it's for die-hard Apple enthusiasts, the kind of iCustomers that flood tech blogs whenever the latest iSomething hits Apple stores, scattered across 41 U.S. states.
Inevitably, the presence of Apple stores -- nearly 300 around the world, most of them here America -- has diluted the meaning and purpose of a carefully choreographed Macworld gathering. Apple itself agrees. This is the first year that the Cupertino-based Apple, whose headquarters is just a few miles south of San Francisco, is not participating.
In a statement explaining its decision, the company said last year: "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."
Who needs a yearly Macworld in San Francisco when, as the release of the iPad last month showed, we're living in bigger, non-stop Mac world? Though a product like Mac OS X, Apple's operating system, has a market share of only 10 percent or so, it's almost impossible think about music in digital-driven the 21st century without iTunes and the iPod. Increasingly, Steve Jobs' Apple is leading the way in marketing and catering to the need of mainstream digital customers who lead portable, app-obsessed lives. Think iPhone. Think iPad. And through its Apple stores -- and, just as important, through its own web site -- Apple reaches and educates its customers.
"Macworld comes to you -- that's Apple's strategy now," Peter Hirshberg, co-founder of the marketing agency The Conversation Group, told HuffPostTech. Hirshberg should know. For nine years, he led a group called Enterprise Marketing at Apple. "Through the Internet and through the Apple stores, Apple expands its brand."
Are you currently at Macworld? What are the highlights for you so far? If you're a Machead and don't see the point of the yearly confab, tell us why. Comment below.
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