No More Macworld? No More Steve Jobs Keynote? No More Santa Claus?

This past week, Apple announced that the Macworld Conference and Expo in January will be the final show in which Apple will participate. It also announced that Phil Schiller will give the final keynote address, not Steve Jobs. These two announcements spurred numerous news articles and an enormous amount of opinions from analysts and pundits, the majority of which were doomsday predictions regarding the demise of Steve Jobs and the fall of Apple. What does this all mean to you?

Ritual and tradition give us a sense of stability, predictability and security, which create ideal conditions for advancement of society in an orderly fashion.

Once a long-standing, time-honored tradition is altered or removed from practice, it can immediately generate a negative response and even devolve into anarchy if the change is considered profound enough in people’s minds.

What if Thanksgiving or Christmas were removed from the calendar and no longer celebrated? How devastating would that be?!

Fortunately, when Macworld Expo debuted in 1985, it did not replace those traditions nor did it create a worldwide religious ritual that could not be removed or replaced without significant repercussions for Apple or its attendees.

Trade shows are no longer a preferred way of connecting with customers, at least not for Apple.

There is a great deal of money and time that goes into these shows and the “payback” is not near as satisfying as reaching your audience to deliver your message and listen to the needs of your customers through the internet and the multitude of retail stores located around the world.

Apple is also a master at delivering its message through the media to reach a wider audience than a trade show could ever offer them.

The wildly successful “Special Events” that Apple periodically uses to showcase new products are broadcast throughout the globe reaching a worldwide audience almost instantaneously. They can also time the delivery of new products on their schedule, when they are ready to be unveiled.

The announcement this week is not completely unheard of – there were numerous trade shows that Apple stopped participating in years ago such as the East Coast Macworld Expo and the Apple Expo in Paris.

Many other participants, such as Adobe, Belkin, Seagate and Google, among others, that were to be present at this year’s event have either completely pulled out or scaled back the size of their booths.

In addition to the late timing of these announcements, a mere three weeks before the event, it has been the surprising announcement that Phil Schiller would deliver the keynote address that has been rather difficult for most people to grasp.

For the last decade or so, Steve Jobs had given the keynote address and had usually introduced new products during his speech, such as Apple TV, the iPhone and new Macs. It was this announcement, above all else, that sparked a surge of news reports, sensational blog headlines and general mayhem over the web.

What could this mean? Is Steve Jobs’ health prevent him from appearing in public? Are there no new cool electronic gadgets to announce this year? Is the sky falling?

While it may be depressing to some that Macworld will no longer have Apple, its even more distressing to most that Steve Jobs no longer will announce some cool new gadget that will convey a sense of wonder and make you feel like a kid again – at least not at Macworld anymore.

In the last year, Apple stock has been volatile as a result of Jobs’ rumored ill health even in the face of stellar quarterly financial results. 

Investors who own shares of Apple and consumers and businesses that use Apple products all have a vested interest in the company. The health and well-being of the company instills confidence that it will continue to deliver products and support for those products.

The last thing anybody wants to do is buy a product from a company that shuts its doors the following day, which would invariably mean a lost investment because product upgrades and technical support would be slow or nonexistent.

Steve Jobs has been tied to the success of Apple and there is a perceived notion that any negative issues that arise concerning Steve will have a damaging effect on Apple the company.

Of course, this is not the reality. Since Jobs’ return to Apple over ten years ago, he had surrounded himself with smart, loyal and talented people who share his vision.

The success of this company can be attributed to all of those people who work together as a team and who have been trained by the CEO to continue their work based on that vision – to focus on the customers and to make great products.

Even if Steve Jobs leaves Apple tomorrow, the company will continue to produce “insanely great” products for many years to come. However, since true visionaries that have the fortitude, charisma and insight that Jobs possesses are exceptionally difficult to find, hopefully he will choose to stay with the company for a little while longer.

It may be time that Apple showcases to the world the incredibly talented team of people that is Apple today.

We caught a glimpse of a few members of the team when Tim Cook and Jony Ive took the stage with Jobs to announce the new redesigned MacBooks in October 2008.

Having Phil Schiller deliver the keynote address at Macworld is another step in that direction.

The timing and essence of the announcements also signify Steve Jobs’ character: bold, adaptable to the times and looking forward to the future.

What are your thoughts on these startling announcements?

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