Over the past week and a half, iLounge’s editors have had the opportunity to speak with dozens of leading iPod and iPhone accessory developers regarding their plans for the 2010 Macworld Expo and CES trade shows. As a result of Apple’s decision not to exhibit at Macworld Expo going forward, the vast majority of third-party iPod and iPhone companies we’ve heard from have said that they will not be exhibiting at Macworld Expo, either, and that they are instead considering—under the right circumstances—moving over to the 2010 CES.
As you know, iLounge has been dedicated to covering iPods and iPhones since the 2001 launch of the first-generation iPod model. Though we pride ourselves on our independence from the thousands of companies we have covered, we are genuinely concerned about the well-being of the iPod and iPhone ecosystem, and saw great reason for concern due to Apple’s departure from Macworld Expo. Other trade shows Apple has left have withered soon thereafter, and the companies that have hung around have told us repeatedly that they wish they hadn’t wasted their time or money. Having attended some dying shows ourselves, we didn’t want to waste our time or money, either.
So we’ve been trying to build a consensus around the venue that companies are interested in: Las Vegas. Up until this point, we’ve been talking with companies in large-scale e-mails that have been circulated to big and small developers alike. Now we’d like to get you, our readers, involved as well.
Below is the text of a five-point message we sent in response to a reporter’s inquiry on our involvement in bringing developers to the 2010 CES in Las Vegas. We would like to hear from you: would you, readers, be interested in seeing the latest and greatest iPod and iPhone products on display there? If so, what would you be most excited to see on display?
(1) Apple’s abrupt announcement about the 2010 Macworld Expo and the current economic crunch were the two key disruptors that led companies to question their future plans for exhibiting at that event. To be very clear up front, iLounge has no profit motive whatsoever here, no financial involvement with any trade show exhibitor, and no agenda other than to see the iPod and iPhone development community continue to grow and improve. We are completely independent, and have never had any ties to either IDG or CEA as organizations, other than as members of the media covering their shows.
(2) Based on concerns raised by a number of people about the viability of the 2010 Macworld Expo without Apple, we went directly to the iPod and iPhone development community to determine their plans for Macworld and their needs going forward. The broad consensus amongst these companies was that they were not going to exhibit at Macworld Expo. Many of them knew what happened at Macworld Boston, Apple Expo Paris, and MacExpo London, trade shows which became sad ghost towns while draining lots of money from overly optimistic exhibitors’ pockets. Without Apple around to draw crowds, and with limited marketing resources, companies are trying to figure out the right next step.
(3) Rather than hang on to an unrealistic hope that Apple would suddenly change its mind and show up again for Macworld Expo next year, or wait and watch the iPod and iPhone community struggle to find a home in 2010, we decided to evaluate the best practical options for the ecosystem’s future and try to make lemonade from the lemons we’ve all been dealt. We are convinced that the best option is CES 2010, and we have absolutely, openly been in contact with CEA and members of the iPod and iPhone community regarding that show.
(4) It is our strong belief that the iPod and iPhone accessory community deserves a world-class spotlight for its efforts, and that the combination of trade, retail, and media presence at CES 2010 will make it the best possible venue for the community to continue to shine. With at least twice the attendance of Macworld Expo, CES has the foot traffic and infrastructure to boost the profile of iPod and iPhone developers—assuming that they are not spread out across the multiple, massive venues CES normally occupies. This is a concern of virtually every company we’ve talked with, and we are increasingly confident that it will be handled intelligently.
(5) Our strong hope is that CEA will make it possible for everyone from small App developers to large accessory makers to exhibit at the 2010 CES show, and we think that we have some great ideas for how to bring the community together and make this happen. My personal belief is that CES will wind up offering iPod and iPhone companies fantastic exposure at a time when they will really be glad to have it.
We look forward to reading and responding to your comments, thoughts, and questions in the thread below. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see some of you at CES next year!