updated 03:25 am EST, Fri February 12, 2010
Images from the first day of Macworld 2010
The first day of IDG's 2010 Macworld Expo has attracted large crowds, despite the absence of Apple. Although the exhibits and events only filled the Moscone Center's North Hall, rather than extending across the street to the South Hall, the attendees still arrived in droves.
Apple in 2008 announced its departure from the Macworld Expo, following a consistent presence since the event's inception in 1985. The company defended its decision by highlighting the expansion of Apple Stores in the US and abroad. Tim Cook, the interim CEO during Steve Jobs' leave of absence, claimed the move had "nothing to do" with Apple disliking the event.
Analysts have speculated that Apple may have felt pressured to align product launches with the annual event. The company still attracts the press to its own media events, including the recent iPad unveiling at the Yerba Buena Center.
The number of exhibiting companies in 2010 has been nearly cut in half, with allocated floor space reportedly dropping from 75,000 square feet to 28,000 square feet, according to an SFGate report. The attendance, however, is said to be close to last year's total which reached 26,000 visitors.
Although Apple may be missed by visitors, the change is said to be welcome by a number of exhibitors. Without Apple's presence, many smaller companies have noticed an increase in traffic.
"I think it can survive because the fans want it," Kwame Weusi-Puryear told SFGate. "Apple will always do their own thing, but the fans need this convention. Macworld is our mecca, so we'll keep coming back."