This year’s edition of Macworld, taking place January 26-28, is shaping up to be a bit of a departure from Macworlds of the past. 2012 is a year of evolution for the event, now branded as Macworld/iWorld.
And that evolution begins tonight with a blast.
Going into the third year of this event without Apple being attached to it directly, Macworld/iWorld has made some significant changes to the experience for attendees, starting with the reasonably priced and feature-laden iFan pass. The “ultimate iFan event” kicks off tonight with the Macworld/iWorld Blast, featuring a performance by the Grammy-nominated rock act Modest Mouse. Not a bad way to start off your Macworld/iWorld experience.
Despite Apple distancing itself from the expo after the 2009 event, Macworld/iWorld still generates quite the buzz with over 20,000 attendees expected to make the trip to Moscone West in San Francisco over the next several days. There has been cause for concern since the drop in attendance in 2010 because of Apple’s withdrawal, but the continued evolution of the expo may be its saving grace — and could see attendance increase gradually as it starts to stand on its own as an event. Although Macworld.iWorld is much smaller than CES (which boasted 150,000+ attendees during its run earlier this month), the fact that is an event dedicated to all things Apple and isn’t a trade show but a fan event (unlike CES) is pretty impressive. And while it is a smaller show now that Apple isn’t present, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Smaller can be better, and the Macworld/iWorld team at IDG World Expo are hoping that is the case for the 2012 event.
While the media gets early access to Macworld/iWorld with the Pre-Show Innovation Showcase and Media Preview Reception starting today — and Cult of Mac will be there for both — things really get started tomorrow for the general public. The Exhibit Hall opens at 10 am Thursday through Saturday, and it’s where most of the action will take place. Featuring booths where app and software developers, case and bag manufacturers and other exhibitors showcase their latest and greatest, this is the “meat of Macworld/iWorld. There are going to be nearly 300 companies on the floor, and Cult of Mac will be there each day of the event, bringing highlights as we see them throughout the three days.
There seems to be a larger focus on music at the 2012 edition of the event, with the Music Experience making its debut this year. This component will show event attendees “where Apple technology meets music performance”, and it is going to be a highlight of the overall exhibition. Apple enthusiasts who want to get the most of this component would be wise to check out the various demonstrations and talks by those from the Berklee College of Music throughout the event, as well as a performance by London breakbeat DJ Adam Skillz on Saturday night at the MASHUP @ Mezzanine.
The Tech Talks as a whole are extremely popular, and some of this year’s highlights include:
- A Conversation with Susan Orlean, Author and Geek – Thursday
- The Making of South Park – Inside South Park’s Animation – Thursday
- Theatrics presents “Beckinfield” – Mass Participation TV – Friday
- Apple in Life & Death: The REAL CSI – Saturday
Take all of the above and add in the official (and unofficial) meetups, film and visual art events, and the numerous opportunities to get special pricing while on the exhibit floor, and you’ve got the makings of a pretty solid event with a lot to see and do.