The Big Macintosh Geekfest is Upon Us: Macworld Expo 2010!

May 12, 2019 by  

By Larry Grinnell

Author’s note: I recently discovered a number of blogs I wrote when attending the Macworld Expo event in San Francisco in 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2012. Here are the ones I’ve found thusfar.

This week marks the annual pilgrimage of Macophiles around the world to the big annual gathering in San Francisco. Macworld Expo has been a part of the Macintosh community for as long as there has been a Macintosh community. It evolved over the years from a twice-per-year show: winter in San Francisco and summer in Boston (and for a few years, in New York City).

As Apple’s fortunes waned in the late 1990s, the east coast Macworld Expo went away, but the San Francisco venue, taking up the majority of the immense Moscone Center, soldiered on, anchored by the legendary keynote address, presented in most recent years by Apple’s equally legendary CEO, Steve Jobs, and his ever-present Reality Distortion Field—not that this is a bad thing. No, it merely demonstrates what a master salesman and public speaker Steve really is.  Of course, he didn’t speak at last year’s Expo, as he was in a fight for his life, in which it appears he has been victorious. This year, it’s completely different.

For 2010, the Macworld Expo has undergone massive changes.

First, the Expo has moved from its traditional time of the first week in January, where it usually butted its head with the enormous Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas (creating scheduling conflicts with both vendors and the press), to the second week in February.

Second, and potentially even more significant is that Apple is no longer actively participating in the Expo. No booth. No keynote. No nothing. Last year when this was announced, the doomsayers came out in force, prematurely announcing the death of the Macworld Expo. Admittedly, a number of major vendors like Adobe and Belkin dropped out, too.  But it’s also a bad economy, and the big convention displays can cost as much as $1 million to set up the space, pay the rental for the space, and to pay for the very expensive mandatory union labor to set up the booth. If the 2010 Expo goes well, these guys might just be back for the 2011 show.

So, what is it about this show that attracts tens of thousands of attendees? First, it’s the “Cult of Mac.” This is the one place the Apple community, for the price of a bus or airline ticket, can get together with like-minded people and check out all the latest gadgetry, software, and accessories on the convention floor. For a few dollars more, they can attend seminars and lectures lead by top industry experts.

I’ve attended four Macworld Expos, including the 2007 event where Steve Jobs announced the iPhone– I was in the audience for his keynote address as a member of the press, and even wound up appearing very briefly in the movie Macheads. If you blinked, you probably missed me.

But I digress. What really does it for me at the Macworld Expo shows are the breadth and diversity of small software developers. In many cases, the Expo is the first place these new products have been seen by the public. You can actually talk to the folks who wrote these programs. For programs that have been out there for a while, again, you can talk to the developers, share your personal experiences with their products, and can even offer suggestions for improvements. In 2007 (and 2008), I got a chance to hook up with Thorsten Lemke, author of the popular shareware product, Graphic Converter, which has been around for more years than I care to think about. I met the real “Larry” of Mac accessory supplier One World Computing, and countless other Mac heroes. I was even passed by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who was riding his Segway with a few members of his entourage.

Another great element of Macworld Expo are the parties. Oh, Lordie what parties! The big event is the Macbreak party, usually held the evening of the keynote address. For your admission fee, there’s an open bar, plenty of food, and a name band for entertainment. Name band, you ask? In 2007, it was Cheap Trick, and in 2008, the band was Devo (who had a sound system so loud, it gave me a full body massage). There are lots of other parties, sponsored by the vendors, most of which are by invitation only, and well worth it if I say so myself.

With Apple’s announcement of the iPad, you are sure to see apps and accessories galore for it. At Macworld 2007, it seemed every other vendor was an Asian supplier of cases for IPhones and iPods.  You will also see celebrities galore. As we all know, the creative folks (designers, artists, and movie stars) love their Macs. People I personally saw included Robin Williams, actor F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus), comedian Sinbad, musicians Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades, and those are just the ones I saw.

Jack Blades and Tommy Shaw – Macworld Expo 2010

Macworld Expo is one of those things every devoted Mac person should see at least once in their lifetime. From the positive buzz I’ve been hearing about this show, as long as there are Macintosh computers, iPhones, iPods, and now iPads, there should be plenty of future Macworld Expos to attend. I feel like I’ve got at least another show or two in me before I give it up.