Every year indie Mac developers ask themselves whether they should spend a few thousand dollars to exhibit at Macworld Expo. Now that Apple has indicated they are pulling out of future shows, the expo’s raison d’etre is firmly in the spotlight, and thus the death spiral begins. I expect WWDC will now cement itself as the place for developers and Mac heads to network, along with indie efforts like the Business of Software, C4, and even simple meetups such Macs in Prague.
I’ve never been entirely convinced with the merits of exhibition shows in the Internet age (although the networking aspect is tops) so I’m not at all surprised with Apple’s decision. They can announce products as and when they like, without the pressure of having something amazing up their sleeve every January. Not so good for Wall Street ‘analysts’ but hey, we know they just leech off sites like AppleInsider and MacRumors.
The next shoe to drop will be the selling of boxed software in retail stores. It surely has to change. Firstly, it’s so passé and environmentally unfriendly. Secondly, there isn’t enough shelf space to show off the growing OS X software library. Thirdly, the success of the iPhone App Store and general willingness of consumers to download everything in sight makes it highly likely that a Mac App Store would be a winner. Watch this space!