The Mac community lost a good friend this week, as IDG World Expo announced that Macworld/iWorld was going on "hiatus." If you're the type of person who follows Apple on the Internet, you've lost a friend, too.
Firstly, I assume "hiatus" means that Macworld/iWorld is gone. That said, I'm hoping it might be reborn with another name or in another location. It's telling, after all, that IDG World Expo used the word "hiatus" in the first place. Hiatus is a far cry from "cancelled" or "shutting down," or "closing."
That's spilt milk under the bridge, though, and there's not much use crying about it when you're up the creek and your canoe sailed on without you*. Today I wanted to write about how Macworld/iWorld's demise will affect you even if you never went or even wanted to go.
It also bears pointing out that fewer people went to Macworld in the years since Apple pulled out—the market has spoken. The Internet, Apple's media events, and Apple's own retail stores have replaced the purpose of a public trade show to that public. But I believe the industry-side of Macworld/iWorld is also important, even if it is less public.
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If you read about Apple, iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple Watches on the Internet, you're reading content written by people like me. It's a pretty large group of people who do that these days, as Apple's massive success has made it quite profitable for even mainstream publications to write about Apple.
Even there, however, a lot of material eventually picked up by the mainstream is developed by people in the Apple-centric press. Many of us in that press develop and foster relationships at Macworld, and the same is true between the merchants who make your peripherals and software and the press.
That's why it always made me cranky when Apple proudly stated it had no need for trade shows, that its own media events and Apple Stores were all it needed to get the word out to folks. While utterly true, the rest of that community
gets got its face time from Macworld Expo—Macworld/iWorld.
Twitter is great, and I love Instagram. Social media as a whole is mo$tly wonderful. But face time—and I mean the old fashioned face time where you and I can look at each other, shake hands, and communicate using spoken word and body language—is still the most important element in fostering the kind of relationships that is an important part of all forms of journalism.
Without that face time, without that yearly renewal of friendships and relationships, the Apple-centric corner of the Internet will know each other a little less well. For sure, it will continue. For sure, sites like The Mac Observer, 9to5Mac, MacRumors, The Loop, iMore, MacStories, AppleInsider, MyMac, Low End Mac, and a host of others will continue and thrive, but they will do so with a measurable decrease in one-on-one relationships between each other and between writers and product makers.
It's true that CES is still going strong, but that soulless gathering doesn't have the same spark as Macworld/iWorld, and it doesn't offer the same kinds of opportunities to network as the Apple-centric event. Macworld/iWorld was about people getting together. CES is about information and "experiences" and ENTERTAINMENT™ being blasted our way at 120 decibels.
In short, the Apple-centric world will be a poorer place without Macworld/iWorld, whether or not you went, and whether or not Apple was a participant. That makes me sad.