On December 16, 2008, Apple shocked the Mac community when it announced that it would no longer participate in MacWorld following the 2009 expo. In a press release issued at the time, Apple commented:
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.
Last year, the organizers behind Macworld decided to solider on, with or without Apple, and by all accounts, Macworld 2010 was an unmitigated success. Indeed, if one of the reasons Apple pulled out of Macworld was because it outgrew it, then the success behind that growth helped ensure that the conference could live on even without an official presence from Apple and a keynote address from Steve Jobs.
Building on the success of 2010’s conference, Macworld 2011 is scheduled for January 26-29 in San Francisco and is already promising to be bigger and better than last year’s event with organizers expecting 30-35% more exhibitors than last year’s show. All told, there will be close to 400 exhibits this time around as the event will completely take over Moscone’s new West Hall building.
Speaking to TUAW, IDG General Manager Paul Kent explainedwhat we can expect to see at the upcoming Macworld conference.
“The show is going to show strong growth over last year,” Kent promises. Much of the story last year was about Apple’s absence from the show for the first time. “Last year,” says Kent, “it was a ‘prove it to me that there’s a reason to do this.'” But this year, the story seems to be that Macworld can both survive and thrive as a spotlight not on Apple’s products but on the whole ecosystem around them. “You went out and bought an iPod, a Mac, an iPad,” says Kent, “and now what? Macworld Expo is where you discover all the now whats.”
One new aspect at 2011’s Macworld will be the introduction of “Featured Artist” sessions focusing on how creative and well-known Mac personalities create art using Mac products. Some artists already penciled in for the sessions include filmmaker Michael Koerbel and ‘Song a Day’ musician Jonathan Mann who achieved Apple-nerd notoriety when Steve jobs played his iPhone 4 songduring last summer’s Antennagate event.
You can purchase passes to Macworld 2011 in San Francisco over here.