Whither Macworld Expo?

Macworld organizers on Wednesday held a town hall meeting to discuss the West coast edition's future, given Apple's decision last month to make this year's show its final one. The East coast edition of Macworld Expo lasted two more years after Apple's final appearance there in 2003.

The company has also pulled back from other trade shows, including the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the now-defunct Paris Expo, citing its ability to more efficiently reach customers through press events and its global network of stores. Phil Schiller, Apple's Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, noted during his Tuesday morning keynote address that Apple stores see 3.4 million visitors worldwide each week, which is equal to 100 Macworlds.

According to Macworld's Jim Dalrymple, who attended Wednesday night's discussion, attendees offered a number of suggestions for next year, such as a return to Boston or New York, which previously hosted the East coast Macworld Expo. Others thought the show could move between cities, or even include film or music festivals as part of its programming.

Macworld Expo organizers clearly want to stave off the possible death of the show, given how quickly the East coast version died. Visitors to the trade show's web site currently see a splash image informing them that the San Francisco edition is still planned for January 4-8, 2010, along with the tag line "The start of a new era."

Paul Kent, Macworld Expo's vice president and general manager, was quoted as saying: "We come to Macworld to be inspired. This show is going to evolve and you need to know that we are embracing this evolution. We want Apple to go build more great products and then we'll be here to show you how to use them." Mr. Dalrymple said that Mr. Kent also cited a few statistics: 85 to 90 percent of conference session trainers are already committed to the 2010 show, along with 60 companies, including HP and Microsoft.

Mr. Dalrymple noted that free registration for Macworld Expo 2010 has started, and he gave out an email address for feedback and ideas: suggestionbox@macworld2010.com.