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Could Apple be eyeballing CES? Probably not

Robert Palmer
12.18.08
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After news of Apple's decision to pull out of Macworld, many tech writers are wondering if Apple isn't considering participation in the Consumer Electronics Show, typically held around the same time as Macworld, in Las Vegas.

Most seem to be asking vague questions about what would happen if Apple decided to attend. Even so, most of the pundit crowd seems to be leaning toward it probably won't happen, but it might. Maybe. Someday. Kind of. If it does happen, they'll claim they called it; If it doesn't they're still right.

As Apple produces more consumer electronics devices (like the iPhone, iPod, and Apple TV), BusinessWeek's Arik Hesseldahl sees a place for Apple at CES. "Could a new re-imagined Stevenote at CES in Las Vegas starting in 2010, become the de-facto headline event at CES and thus push Microsoft's presence out of the limelight? It certainly could."

"It probably won't happen, but it certainly could," he writes. The heat death of the universe probably won't happen tomorrow, too, but it certainly could.

Wired's Brian X. Chen asks more questions: "Why would Apple ditch Macworld, a show where the corporation stood in the spotlight, for a bloated carcass like CES? That'd just be counterproductive and a huge mess for a company that likes to keep stuff simple; Apple would be throwing itself into a 'bag of hurt.'"

"As much as we'd like to see Apple at CES, we don't think it's happening," Chen continues.

Computerworld's Dan Tyman goes so far as to say CES is next on the trade show chopping block anyway. "[Trade shows are] fine if you're in the electronics biz and want to schmooze with suppliers and distributors, but as a source of actual product news, CES hasn't been relevant for a coon's age." (How long does a raccoon live, anyway? Turns out: two or three years, in the wild.)

Tyman continues, "And as for the future, well, remember COMDEX? That show went from over 150,000 attendees to dead in less than three years. My crystal ball tells me CES is on a similar track." Ouch.

As you might expect, Daring Fireball's John Gruber gives the most cocksure answer so far to the question: Will Apple be ditching Macworld for CES? His answer, reproduced here in its entirety: "No."

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