Apple has announced that Steve Jobs will not deliver the opening keynote presentation at the upcoming Macworld Expo in San Francisco on January 6th, 2009. Phil Schiller, Apples senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, will take the stage in Jobs’ place. In addition, Apple announced that this is the final year in which Apple will exhibit at the Macworld Expo, pointing to the decreasing relevance of trade shows as Apple has expanded its direct contact with customers via retail stores and the company’s website.
MacWorld is one of the biggest Mac-related trade shows and the Steve Jobs keynote has always been the highlight. Many new Apple products have been announced here in the past. This is a significant press release, but not just for Apple enthusiasts. Many others have commented on the declining relevance of the trade show/expo format, and having endured quite a number of them on a variety of subjects – albeit never an Apple one – I certainly wouldn’t mourn their passing.
And that was when I was only a visitor. In January, though, we’ll have a stand at BETT – the big UK jamboree for education-related technologies. The charges for our small stand are ludicrous – £120 per power socket, for example, and over £300 for the most basic internet connection. The plentiful spam, junk mail and telesales calls we’ve received since registering as an exhibitor are another disincentive ever to do this again. And that’s just the start. Big companies like Apple spend many millions on attending such events.
So perhaps the trade shows are not long for this world. But, in the short term, it’s still deemed to be an important way to communicate with existing customers and to reach new ones. We’ll soon find out whether that’s the case. Please do come along and see us at BETT. Remember how we suffer to be there for you!
Besides, you should visit these shows while they still last, so you can tell your children about them…