| Analysis

Earlier today, IDG announced that Macworld/iWorld will take place in March next year, at the end of March at that. My first thought was, man oh man, thank goodness. A later date will make Macworld easier to cover and more relevant as a trade show. My second thought was LOL@CES HAHAHAHA!!!


OK, maybe I've been spending too much time on the Interwebs, so let me explain. CES takes place in the first week of January. It's a pain in the ass time frame because it necessitates a lot of working over the Christmas and New Year holidays.

It also makes it hard for companies and the press to do both. We did it, of course, but the sometimes back-to-back schedule left a lot of folks tired and sick from all the trade show critters you get exposed to.

As far as I am concerned, CES and Macworld both would have be better in the early fall (like how Apple hosts a major media event). But for some reason CES isn't about what I want, it's about the retail buying cycle, or at least the retail buying cycle as it was 15-20 years ago. Retailers and distributors use the show to plan what will be on store shelves during the next year.

CES is also about controlling the news cycle, and that is very Apple-related. Back when Apple was still involved in what was then Macworld Expo, IDG and Apple itself were locked in varying stages of war with CES to see who controlled the news cycle.

Once Steve Jobs came back to Apple and introduced the original Bondi Blue iMac, that battle was a serious one. Apple wanted to make its winter announcements before CES so that its products would be talked about during CES even though Apple wasn't there.

CES, on the other hand, wanted to make sure that its show and its participants were the star of the news cycle, and the two jockeyed for position back and forth on the calendar in the early parts of January. It got to the point where people would likely have had to fly to Vegas on New Year's Day to get ready for the show, but Apple changed the rules and pulled out of Macworld.

CES is a giant, however, a huge massive show involving hundreds of thousands of people. The show's schedule is set for the next seven years, and they all start between January 5th and January 9th, more or less the first week of January.

And there it will stay, a legacy of the show's battle with Apple to control the news cycle while Macworld/iWorld—no longer relevant to that particular battle without Apple—moves to the end of March. The extra irony is that for the last several years, Apple has still managed to control the news cycle at CES without even the pretense of scheduling an announcement in that time frame.

In the meanwhile, Macworld/iWorld's new schedule gives that show more relevance to vendors. Without the need to compete with CES for resources, IDG's show will be more valuable to some companies. With almost a full calendar quarter of separation between the shows, it will be easier for many companies to either choose both or to ignore the circus that is CES and choose Macworld/iWorld instead.

LOL!That, in turn, will be great for the Mac and iOS ecosystems, and that's great for consumers of Apple products.

So congrats, CES, you won the scheduling battle. Have fun.

Thanks, thanks, and thanks to Shutterstock for the images.

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Lee Dronick

Unless they have not yet changed their website I am seeing the show is still scheduled for the beginning of February 2014

Shawn King

“it will be easier for many companies to either choose both or to ignore the circus that is CES and choose Macworld/iWorld instead.”

Won’t it be just as easy for the reverse? For companies to ignore Macworld/iWorld in favor of CES?

Bryan Chaffin

For some companies, that will certainly be true, Shawn. I think the gravitational pull here is with more exposure, not less (both shows). I also think the pressure of readying new products during the busiest selling season of the year makes appearing at CES more difficult for some companies, making Macworld an easier decision.

For others, of course, the exposure to retailers and wholesalers will remain the most important factor. For others, being at the “bigger” show will be the biggest factor. For them, nothing has changed.

But on the whole, I think the distance between the shows is more likely to result in a better Macworld/iWorld.

Shawn King

“I think the gravitational pull here is with more exposure”

Possibly. I think it will be interesting and instructive to talk to the three kinds of companies - those that attend both, those that only attend CES and those that only attend Expo - and see how this change affects them and whether or not it makes them rethink their position.

“I think the distance between the shows is more likely to result in a better Macworld/iWorld.”

Only if it encourages those vendors who haven’t appeared at Expo because of CES change their mind. I don’t see that as a given.

And, if you are correct and distance = better, why not move it even further? In other words, why THESE dates instead of late May…or June…or…etc….

Bryan Chaffin

I wouldn’t presume to know how much distance is optimal, but some distance=good doesn’t necessarily mean that more distance=better. Put the show in Summer and you compete with WWDC.

I’d personally love a fall show, but again, for some reason Macworld pays just as little attention to what I want as CES. smile

In any event, time will tell. The industry will need to absorb the change and IDG will need to sell it. It’s a full year away.

Shawn King

Lee, the web site has been updated to reflect the date change although there is still no press release or other info on the IDG web site.

IDG World Expo is not known for their attention to detail or their ability to get their message out clearly.

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