By Gilles Dounes - In association with French Mac news site MacPlus.net
PARIS -- The 21st edition of Apple Expo at the Porte de Versailles convention center in central Paris is less than a week away as exhibitors and attendees alike are readying for what appears to be a show with exciting new announcements and solutions.
The show will take place 31 August to 4 September under favorable auspices. Often considered as self-sufficient, with an exagerated good opinion of themselves, both France and Apple share a special relationship. Apple Expo is thought by many to be the cornerstone of the French love affair with the Mac, embodying the bond as the PC for "the rest of us".
Thatis probably why Apple Expo has always maintained its popularity, despite the 2001 show being cancelled because of the terrorist attacks of September 11th.
More and more people come to the event each year. Despite this yearis show taking place two weeks earlier than last year and just days before French kids return to school, pre-registrations stand at almost 60,000 people, 15% higher than numbers at this same time last year. About 65,000 visitors attended last yearis show.
Exhibitors too are joining the call for the biggest European IT exposure of the season. At present, 240 exhibitors are signed up to showcase products and services at Apple Expo, almost the same number that exhibited in 2003.
The general architecture of the show will be quite the same as last yearis with a general attention on professional customers, organized within several isolution centeri areas. Solutions will include creative, small business and health, education, games and music. A particular focus will be given to the developer & innovation solutions center.
Hewlett-Packard will be on hand with a ismart printingi demonstration in the creative solutions area.
Special events will take place as well. A music forum with artists, editors and Apple executives will be a major focus. Showcases will also be performed by musicians on September 1st, 2nd and 4th.
Consumers wonit be forgotten as many workshops will be organized to showcase the Mac as part of the idigital hubi. The workshops will include iEasy Maci for total newcomers with computers and the Internet, iiLife 04i to show off the different facets of iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD & Garageband, and iPlay Musici with a particular focus on electric guitar and piano. Some activities and contests will be organized too with a game tournament, a iGraphic Matchi to link Mac users with certain talents to possible new jobs, and the awarding of the Swiss MacGeneration Trophy to developers.
The education market will be a major focus at Apple Expo. Special areas focusing on Macs in education will be throughout the show, including at Appleis booth. At present, Apple controls 15% of the education market in France and with a recently signed cooperative agreement with the French Ministery of Education to expand Mac usage in French schools, the Mac maker will be keen to highlight its achievments and solutions.
The third grade class of the Marseille elementary school will be on hand Tuesday, 31 and present to the audience a range of their achievements using Macintosh computers. The town of Marseille is often used as a shining example of how Macs are used in French school systems.
But next Tuesdayis keynote address will generate the most headlines worldwide as Philip Schiller, Appleis Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing, will stand in for CEO Steve Jobs and open the show at the Palais des Congr?s in Paris at 10:00 a.m., Paris time (4 a.m. EDT). Jobs is presently recovering from successful surgery for a rare form of pancreatic cancer. Much of the talk among French Mac news Web sites is that Mr. Schiller will use his forum to debut the much-anticipated re-design of the Apple iMac.