The End of Macworld

Yesterday, the world was abuzz over the news that Apple (s aapl) was pulling out of Macworld. While many were taken aback, as the publication Macworld (no affiliation with the show) notes, Apple has been backing away from trade shows for a few years already, among them the Apple Expo, in Paris, whose 2009 show has now reportedly been canceled.

In fact, the latest move, which led to further speculation about the health of CEO Steve Jobs and helped push Apple’s stock down some 6.5 percent today, is a sign of how the world of technology is changing. With virtually every technology service and product a mere click away, live video streams that allow people to watch events in real time — and liveblogging for those that want to read about them — trade shows are a relic of the past, like pinups from the 1940s.

What’s not replaceable is the community these trade shows foster. As someone who hit Macworld every year since 2002 (except 2008), I have to admit I felt a certain sense of loss at the news that Apple is pulling the plug on this event. Macworld (again, not affiliated with the show) Editor Jason Snell puts it best when he says:

I’m stunned that Apple has taken a 25-year-old event that has been the single best meeting place for the entire community of users and vendors of Apple-related products and treated it like a piece of garbage stuck to the bottom of its shoe. (hat tip to Daring Fireball)

There are, of course, various theories as to the reason behind this move, centered around not only Jobs’ health but management shifts and whatnot. We’ll know soon enough, I suppose. Just not at Macworld!

From the archives:

  • The Steve Jobs Experience: Macworld, is more about Steve Jobs’ experience that the new products. On stage, Jobs displays emotions with the veracity of a Hollywood thespian.
  • iPhone & The End of PC Era: Steve Jobs is a great storyteller. If he were a fiction writer, he would stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Tom Clancy and John Grisham. Mesmerizing in prose, master of the climax.