Still billed as the world’s premier event solely focused on the Apple platform, Macworld returns to San Francisco next week with a certain amount of anticipation. While the event has lost much of the excitement and lustre from years past, tens of thousands of Apple users and developers from all over the world are once again expected to descend upon the tradeshow now formally known as Macworld/iWorld.
Gone are the days when Macworld exhibitors occupied much of Moscone Center, San Francisco’s largest convention and exhibition complex. During its peak years, there were two Apple tradeshows, one on each coast in addition to a host of international shows, primarily in Tokyo. Many of Apple’s wildly popular gadgets and software were unveiled by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs at Macworld San Francisco, including the iMac, iTunes, Mac OS X and the iPhone. But as Apple’s popularity and wealth grew to gargantuan proportions, its presence at Macworld diminished. The company’s meteroric surge reaped more Apple Stores, which in itself was the place to see the latest and greatest must have products. At the 2009 Macworld San Francisco, Apple announced that the show would be their last in-show participation.
The following year, attendance dropped dramatically from its record year just two years before. The decline continued in 2011 although 2012 remained steady with the striking difference a 145 percent increase in conference attendance due to a reduction in registration fees.
Obviously there are high expectations for next week’s show. Many new-to-market gadgets will be introduced although there may not be a landmark product such as Plastic Logic's flexible plastic display or the OLED televisions. Instead, attendees can look forward to a slew of new mobile apps, software and iPhone and iPad related products. Among the most interesting unveilings are Mauz, a device from Spicebox that transforms a smartphone into a gesture enabled mouse and Crestron’s Mobile Pro, enabling a user to control a number of tasks such as turn on a television, dim house lights, and adjust a thermostat.
In addition to the exhibits, there is a bit of star power scheduled to appear at the 2013 Macworld/iWorld. Among the confirmed featured speakers are actors Ashton Kutcher and Josh Gad, who will speak about respective roles as Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in the upcoming movie “Jobs” and singer, songwriter and producer Will.i.am slated to discuss future technological innovations. Other surprise guests may be announced in the days leading up to the show.