IDG World Expo has just announced the dates for Macworld Expo 2010, shifting the conference's historical January jaunt to February. The Macworld 2010 Conference and Expo will take place in San Francisco from February 9 - 13.
When I spoke to Paul Kent, the General Manager for Macworld Expo, earlier this afternoon, he stressed that IDG is answering a call from exhibitors and attendees to move the event to a less stressful time of year. Developers won't have to rush through the holidays to finish up software demos that might not be ready for a few months anyway, and exhibitors won't need to balance the holidays and booth-planning all at once.
The date change isn't the only new development: the Expo will run from Thursday February 11 - Saturday February 13 (the conference will run from the 9th - 13th). This means that attendees who are full-time professionals won't have to take off as much time from work. Can't make it on Thursday? Come on Saturday. Paul told me the real goal for Macworld 2010 is to make Macworld about the community.
After Apple announced that Macworld 2009 would be its last expo, the Mac community (and tech community at large) started speculating about the future of the event. Emerging from all this speculation is an interesting opportunity for Macworld to reinvent itself.
IDG announced during Macworld 2009 that Expo-only registration would be free. Already, more than 10,000 people have registered for the 2010 show.
Losing the largest show exhibitor does mean that the Expo floor will be scaled down. The Conference will be held in San Francisco's Moscone Center West, while the Expo will be in the North Hall (rather than the North and South as in years past). I think scaling the Expo down is a good idea. It's easier to interact with fellow show-goers in one space. In this economy, scaling down just makes sense.
Paul emphasized that there will be a real focus on independent software developers. I think this is a good thing and that Macworld has a real opportunity to define itself as not only a Mac community Woodstock, but also as a place for developers to talk, discuss, learn and show-off their wares. With iPhone development as hot as it is, a stronger focus on that audience has real potential.