Is It Time for Appleworld?

| Ted Landau's User Friendly View
Pop quiz. Do you recall the "big" announcement at the Macworld Expo keynote in 2007? Yup, that's an easy one. It was the unveiling of the iPhone. The gadget of the year - or was it the decade? Whatever. You couldn't actually buy one -- or even touch one -- until June. But it was still numero uno at the Expo.

Can your recall what was on the undercard that year? Give up? It was the Apple TV and the upgraded AirPort Extreme (with 802.11n).

Fast forward to January 2008. Do you remember the major keynote announcements at this most recent Expo, just 10 months ago? Topping the list was the MacBook Air, followed by Time Capsule, the 1.1.3 iPhone update (plus a mention of the Software Development Kit yet to come) and movie rentals in iTunes.

Add it up. That's a total of seven major product announcements in two years of keynotes. Now consider this: Five of the seven products (the MacBook Air and Time Capsule are the two exceptions) are cross-platform, targeted at PCs users as well as Macs owners.

It's no surprise that Apple Inc. is no longer just about the Mac—or even mainly about the Mac. Things have been moving in that direction ever since the iPod became popular. What you may not have realized is that Macworld Expo is no longer mainly about the Mac either. At least that's the message from the previous two Expos. And I fully expect the trend to continue in 2009.

It's not just Apple's emphasis. You couldn't walk the Expo's Exhibit Hall floor over the past few years without tripping over some booth filled with iPod peripherals -- from the ubiquitous cases to speaker systems. Indeed, some Mac users have complained that there has been too much iPod emphasis at the Expo. Don't expect it to change much this year. With the arrival of the App Store, there is reason for an even greater focus on the iPhone and iPod touch.

That's why it may be time to consider changing the name for the event: from Macworld Expo to Appleworld Expo. This would not only be a more technically accurate name, it could have the bonus effect of encouraging more attendance from PC users. Once inside, they might be sufficiently impressed that they decide to switch from a PC to Mac—mimicking what the Apple Stores have supposedly been accomplishing for years. At the very least, it all fits with the new spirit of bipartisanship that will hopefully be ushered in with the Obama administration. The Expo could give equal time to Macs running iTunes, PC running iTunes or even Macs running Windows running iTunes.

Okay. I'm being a bit facetious here. I don't really expect the name to change. Macworld Expo is more than a title. It's a brand. Changing the name now would be like changing the name of the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) to something else -- just because an increasing segment of its members are not really retired. Not gonna happen. Just like Macworld will almost certainly never become Appleworld.

Still, it's something to think about.

Comments

DaveD

I actually have an issue with something besides your point.

AppleTV (or “a hobby”). Airport Extreme (featuring nothing new other than a slight form shift and 802.11n). Time Capsule (which is nothing more than the 2007 Airport Extreme with disk space). And iPhone 1.1.3 update (which brought, well, NOTHING new).

These are 4 of your 7 “major product updates”? Come on.

The bottom line is MWSF 2007 was major - period. And MWSF was… lame.

AppleTV - well, I’ll just quote Steve: a hobby. Airport Extreme - love it, but upgrapding to 11n is all one cares about. Time Capsule? If you didn’t have a backup strategy in place before this - shame on you. And 1.1.3? Well dude, that’s why I had to omment. Major product release? Try the release six months later that brought the AppStore in play.

This January, expect pretty much everything Mac. Hard to see new iPods or anything more than lip service to iPhones. AppleTV? I’m hoping. But Most of it involves adding Ma functionality (read: MacMini merge) to it.

Damn, 1.1.3 was a major product relase. Sorry, no.
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Bob

“That?s why it may be time to consider changing the name for the event: from Macworld Expo to Appleworld Expo.”

Wouldn’t they have to change the name of the magazine too, then? After all, it’s not Apple that puts on the Expo, it’s IDG, the publishers of Macworld (and PC World) magazine. So yes, it’s a brand, but no, it’s not APPLE’S brand that goes on the doors and shopping bags and badges and buttons.

Zarko

I think that claiming that the air port extreme is aimed at windows users is stretching it.  Getting the apple-branded version has a markup over comparable routers by others, and it’s primarilly targeted at those who enjoy the we-do-it-all apple cachet.  To my knowledge, the admin software is mac, so though it’s cross platform, you still need a Mac to set it up, unless you go the hacker route.

Ted Landau
[quote comment=“6158”]To my knowledge, the admin software is mac, so though it’s cross platform, you still need a Mac to set it up, unless you go the hacker route.

Actually, there is admin software for Windows. See: http://www.apple.com/airportextreme/specs.html

Geoduck

You may have shed a light on something I’ve been wondering about for several years; my decreasing interest in MacWorld Expo. At the beginning of the decade I made time to catch the streaming keynote and followed the TMO articles nearly obsessively. Now not so much.

I use Macs. I have a couple of several year old iPods that work just fine and I’m not that interested in updating them until they expire. The iPhone? Please, I’ve no interest whatsoever in an iPhone when I already have a better digital camera, a better device to surf the web and play games, and a better device to play music. They are called a camera, a Macbook, and an iPod. TimeMachine; thanks but I have an established backup strategy. AppleTV, no thanks. MacBook Air, nice but I want more power. Actually the Airport Extreme was the single item I ended up buying and that was only because I needed to set up a wireless network where there had not been one.

Your point is well made though: Apple is no longer a computer company. They are a device company. Bob is correct that the Macworld event gets its name from the publication so that is unlikely to change until the publication changes. However maybe it’s time to look farther afield. Maybe it is time that The MacObserver changed its name to The AppleObserver. Then they could have separate tabs for Mac and iPod and iPhone, and MacBooks, and iTunes, and AppleTV (and of course DealsOnTheWeb).

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