NeXT T-Shirts vs. Booth Babes: Macworld in a Nutshell

Stephen Hackett:

The future of the Macworld Expo is a big question mark, I think. The new name (Macworld | iWorld) is terrible, but it shows the very rift that is ever-expanding down the middle of the Apple community.

On one side, the old-school. The guy wearing the NeXT shirt. Guys like me, who have used the Mac basically their whole lives, and wouldn’t learn much from the Mac IT track.

On the other side, the customers all of those companies with the busty Asian chicks luring nerds into booths. While it is clear that iOS is the cornerstone of Apple’s business today, I’m not sure the community behind it will every be as tight-not as the one that formed around the Macintosh.

TrulyNet hooked me up with a press pass to MacWorld, and I noticed the same thing: the upper levels, with the tech talks and panels, were mostly occupied by longtime, professional Mac users. The expo floor, however, was full of day-hire promo guys, booth babes, and gauche displays that are everything Apple is not. Sure, there were some of my favorite companies there (AudioEngine, Rain, and Henge, to name a few), but you had to look for them in a sea of crapware: ten kinds of "protective iPhone films," candy-colored Korean headphones with $5 bills of materials, and random electronics companies that decided to paint their random products white and mark them up 20%.

On the other hand, iOS devices have pretty much catapulted Apple to being the second most-valuable company in the world, and you can't fault capitalists for being capitalists. The geeks can always hang out upstairs- they already saw this stuff come out at CES, after all.