Interview: Macworld/iWorld GM Paul Kent on the event's evolution post-Apple

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
In years past, Macworld was the year's defining event for the Mac community, an event blessed by Apple's presence. Since Apple stopped attending Macworld, the show has lived on, evolved, and even taken on a new name.

Macworld
The 29th annual Macworld is now underway.


Macworld once served as a platform for Apple to address its loyal fans, with then-CEO Steve Jobs taking the stage to give updates on the the health of Apple as a company, as well as the Mac as a platform. Jobs introduced Mac OS X at Macworld, as well as iTunes, the Safari browser, the Mac mini, and the iPhone.

Since 2009, though, Apple has been absent from the show held in honor of its products. Macworld has endured, though, even thrived according to general manager Paul Kent. AppleInsider spoke briefly with Kent on the eve of this year's event, which is now known as Macworld/iWorld, revealing that there's a lot of faith and energy behind the expo even if Apple's not in attendance.

Kent said Macworld is in a continual state of flux as of late, due in part to the changes going on in the ever-growing Mac/iOS community.

"Apple is increasingly a mobile-oriented company," he said. "Their mobile products are their most successful, and Macworld has grown to reflect that. Increasingly, Macworld and iWorld represent a mobile lifestyle audience."

The increasing importance of mobile computing will be evident throughout the show, according to Kent. Exhibitors this year are focused on bridging the gap between "personal and professional productivity," he said.

"I think overall the show leans toward the mobile lifestyle. That's one of the biggest impressions people will walk away from the show with."

Kent
Macworld GM Paul Kent is upbeat about this year's Macworld


Kent isn't discouraged by Apple's absence. Macworld has filled the gap with a number of other events, including appearances by entertainment luminaries connected to Apple products. This year's event kicks off with Kent interviewing Ashton Kutcher and Josh Gad, who play Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in an upcoming Jobs biopic. Kent listed the interview as one of the things he's most looking forward to in the expo.

Kutcher and Gad are just the headliners for the show, though. The coming days will see Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas making an appearance to talk about technology. Kent touts Will.i.am's cred as one of those individuals at the intersection of technology and liberal arts.

"He's got the top album out, and he's an interesting thinker with regard to how technology shapes popular culture," Kent said. "He's very aware of the power of celebrity in influencing consumption."

Later in the expo, Fred Armisen from Saturday Night Live will show up to talk about how Apple products come into play throughout his life.

"That's all part of the charter of what Macworld is about," Kent said. "It's about talking to people about Mac products and figuring out how they can use those in their lives."

The Macworld general manager remains upbeat about the future of the event. Even without any major Apple announcements, Macworld's drawn close to 300 presenters in its 29th year, with over 100 new products being shown off on the convention floor.

"Looking into the future, we're always looking for interesting things that are going on in the market," he said. "Macworld is a mirror for what's going on in the larger Mac market. I think we can expect to see more great new products, more emphasis on the mobile lifestyle. That's really where our world is going, and that's the direction Macworld is going in."

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,435member
    That 'paying off success' certainly is visible everywhere. The amount of websites, B&M stores, software - anything Mac related is quite staggering. Though for some strange reason I wish I was still part of that elite club, maybe I should mingle around Android crowd. Good to read Mac World is doing good as well.
  • Reply 2 of 8
    rainrain Posts: 538member
    How long before Apple sues them for their name?
  • Reply 3 of 8
    macrulezmacrulez Posts: 2,455member


    deleted

  • Reply 4 of 8
    Alright
  • Reply 5 of 8
    ecsecs Posts: 307member
    It's curious how he remarks they've grown to be also a mobile event. It's likely that the "Mac" in "Macworld" was what made Apple uncomfortable attending it. Had it be called "Deviceworld", they'd be still attending.

    The "post-Apple" term is a reflection every Mac user will need to do at some point, maybe not now, but in the not so far away future (ie what computer do I choose now?) Not easy to answer if you really like the Mac and used it for many years.
  • Reply 6 of 8
    robmrobm Posts: 1,068member
    ecs wrote: »
    It's curious how he remarks they've grown to be also a mobile event. It's likely that the "Mac" in "Macworld" was what made Apple uncomfortable attending it. Had it be called "Deviceworld", they'd be still attending.

    The "post-Apple" term is a reflection every Mac user will need to do at some point, maybe not now, but in the not so far away future (ie what computer do I choose now?) Not easy to answer if you really like the Mac and used it for many years.

    Macworld without Apple is basically a trade show, that's all it ever was BUT with some bang and pizazz. Mostly added by Steve
    IIRC they dropped attending NAB the year after.

    Paul Kent is a promoter - he has to talk it up.

    Great place to display tech and good on him for taking the risk.
    Ain't ever going to be what it was.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macworld_–_iWorld

    "Devicewold" nah - Apple don't need to go there..
  • Reply 7 of 8


    Originally Posted by ecs View Post

    It's curious how he remarks they've grown to be also a mobile event. It's likely that the "Mac" in "Macworld" was what made Apple uncomfortable attending it. Had it be called "Deviceworld", they'd be still attending.


     


    Abject nonsense.

  • Reply 8 of 8

    Quote:

    It's likely that the "Mac" in "Macworld" was what made Apple uncomfortable attending it. Had it be called "Deviceworld", they'd be still attending.


    Not true at all. Actually, Apple prevented IDG from doing an "iWorld" event concurrent to Expo many years ago.


     


    There are a lot of reasons behind Apple no longer exhibiting at Expo - personal, professional, financial - but the name "Macworld" had nothing to do with it.

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