2009 Macworld Expo in a Nutshell: The Non-Show Report

Forgive us, dear readers. We have bad news to share.

As has been the case for years, we came to Macworld Expo with a team of editors who looked forward to sharing at least some exciting news with you from the keynote speech, the show floor, or from off-floor events. Our hope, of course, was that we would hit the floors of Moscone Center, discover a wide variety of new, interesting accessories and applications to share with you, and bring you one of our extensive show reports packed with details and photos.

We came. We saw. And after posting 400-some photos, we honestly didn’t feel like it was worth the effort to write about most of what they contained.

Our editors attended the keynote, looked over both of the show floors, and peeked into suites to see additional products that weren’t on wider public display. We think we’ve seen every booth of the 70-some vendors with iPod or iPhone products. And with extremely rare exceptions, we felt hugely let down by the state of what we saw.

There were plenty of completely forgettable cases. Lots of me-too speakers. Bunches of seen-‘em-before headphones. And more than enough nothing special car accessories. We began to compile our show report today around an hour and a half after hitting the floor, and realized that the majority of our summaries consisted of phrases like “generic,” “more of the same,” and “weird.” Little of it was worth sharing with you. Virtually none of it was worthy of our Best of Show Awards, which continue to be earned, not just handed out to anything with a cute name or simple idea.

Tomorrow, following judging that took place today and this evening, we will announce the Best of Show winners. Our editors concurred over dinner this evening that iLounge will not give out awards to mediocre products merely to adjust for the lower standards set by this show’s offerings. Instead, there will be far fewer winners than in the past. And the recipients of awards will be ones that are truly impressive in design, innovation, and/or value. Other products and companies will, for the first time in many years, receive disproportionately less of our coverage and attention based on whether they actually brought anything of value to this event. The days of giving every product or company a spotlight regardless of their actual value have come to an end. Your time, and our time, are too valuable to waste on the junk.

As our own Bob Levens correctly felt last month based on Apple’s departure from this event, the times are a’changin’. And we’ll be changing with them, based on your much-appreciated comments and suggestions. But as we change, we will continue to uphold the high standards that we’ve been known for; consequently, you can expect to see more focused and opinionated coverage from us going forward, rather than passive tolerance of the filler, junk, and hack journalism that have become far too common in the iPod and iPhone space. You and we both expect better, and in the weeks to come, we will do our best to make a positive difference.

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