What will Macworld 2010 look like without Steve Jobs? For starters, the annual gathering of Mac fans will see less than half as many exhibitors Feb. 9-13: 220 this year versus 500 in 2009, the last year Apple said it would officially support the San Francisco event.
Without as many exhibitors (particularly Apple) what will Macworld focus on? It’s all about “community,” organizers say. The goal is to replace Steve and the home ship with enthusiasm ginned-up by the faithful. To help with the revival atmosphere, Macworld 2010 will feature New York Times tech columnist David Pogue, writer-director Kevin Smith, media maven Leo Laporte, Daring Fireball blogger John Gruber and probably the most-talked-about Apple product since the iPhone: the iPad.
In 2008, Apple announced it wouldn’t appear at Macworld after 2009, citing the growth of its retail stores as a way to spread the Mac message to the faithful. At the same time, Apple said it would begin appearing at CES, a move seen necessary as the Cupertino, Calif. company seeks to brand itself a consumer electronics firm alongside the likes of Microsoft.
Will fans attend without a strong Apple presence? Will exhibitors stay with Macworld without the spotlight Jobs provided? Can “community” work without Cupertino? Stay tuned.