AppleInsider is corroborating earlier rumors suggesting that Apple is planning to attend CES in 2010.
At first glance, the rumor seems preposterous. After all, didn’t Apple say that Macworld, which also takes place in January, put too much pressure on the company to come up with a razzle and dazzle product on someone else’s schedule? And didn’t Apple say that the popularity of Apple Stores have all but made the need for an Apple presence at Macworld obsolete? And doesn’t this all seem like a bad April Fools Joke?
Yes, but AppleInsider raises some interesting points:
Attendance at CES would directly contrast Apple’s offerings with Microsoft’s, the company most closely matched to Apple’s future aspirations. Over the last three years of Macworld and CES, Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger and then Leopard were pitted against Windows Vista; then the iPhone directly challenged Windows Mobile; Apple’s iPod and iTunes empire roundly trounced efforts by Microsoft to spread Windows Media DRM, sell its Zune music player, and expand into the digital living room; and Apple has even started making inroads against Microsoft Office with its iWork suite and its new iWork.com cloud collaboration service.
Windows enthusiast pundits have recently grown unable to seriously belittle Apple in comparison to Microsoft, but a direct contrast of the two company’s efforts at CES would make the differences even more impossible to ignore. Apple could also directly contrast its offerings against other competing CES exhibitors (such as Palm), as well as benefit from Mac, iPod, and iPhone ecosystem partners who would help tint the PC-centric event in Apple-savvy colors.
Very interesting, and despite supposed first-hand confirmation, this story still has to be filed under, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” I mean, what about Macworld? Would Apple really choose to attend CES instead of Macworld just to stick it to Microsoft? I doubt it. Of course there’s the possibility that Apple has something HUGE up its sleeve, and CES is where they’re planning on announcing it (the mythical Apple branded HD TV perhaps?). But then again, Apple has been moving more and more towards making announcements on its own schedule, at its own events. It doesn’t need CES to create a splash anymore than it needs Macworld. That said, I don’t think we’ll see Steve Jobs and Steve Ballmer hobnobbing in the lobby of a Vegas hotel anytime soon.