San Francisco (CA) – A lousy economy might endanger Macworld Expo, the biggest Apple-oriented consumer exhibition in the world. Traditionally held in January, the San Francisco-based event, organized by IDG, draws analysts, journalists and Mac users from around the world to gather and check the products and companies that will be making headlines throughout the year. The ultimate spectacle that always draws incredible media attention is Steve Jobs’ legendary keynote address when the Apple CEO usually unveils refreshed products, announces new initiatives and stuns the crowd with “one more thing.” However, a depressed economy has prompted a number of key exhibitors to either downsize or skip the upcoming event entirely. And now we are receiving information that Jobs’ keynote also hangs in the air.
The concern is raised in the BusinessWeek interview with IDG World Expo chief Paul Kent who told journalists there is no reason to believe that Apple’s plans with MacWorld “are not moving ahead,” adding that he expects joint announcements about the keynote “soon.” He also warned it would be a “bad thing” if Jobs did not do his thing this coming January. However, Businessweek updated the article soon thereafter with new information that gives weight to claims that Jobs keynote is indeed hanging in the air. “We haven’t made an announcement yet,” Kent clarified. “We hope to [do so] in the next two weeks.”
Putting the uncertain tone of the statement aside, Kent basically said there may be no keynote announcement until after New Year. With Macworld set to run January 5 – 9 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, this leaves Apple with an unusually narrow window of just five days to announce the keynote. Apple has traditionally announced Jobs’ Macworld keynotes much earlier than this, usually in December, but rarely in January.
Economic uncertainties took a heavy toll on IDG this year, with most exhibitors downsizing and several big names reducing significantly their visibility. Others decided to skip the event altogether, including Adobe, Belkin, CreativeLabs, and Seagate, none of which will be exhibiting. Google will also either downsize its booth or maybe even drop out of the event completely.
Wired expects Apple to launch the new 2009 Mac Mini at Macworld with Nvidia graphics and DisplayPort, with rumors that indicate Apple’s use of DisplayPort in the new Mac Mini will include DRM crippling. Analysts and Apple fans keep their fingers crossed for an ultrathin, ultralight $600 Mac netbook.
The company is also expected to officialy unveil OS X Snow Leopard and announce pricing and availability details. iMac and MacPro upgrades with Nvidia graphics, DisplayPort interconnect and newer processors are also on everyone’s wishlist.