I know this is a post about tech's big annual Consumer Electronics Showcase, but for a minute, let's talk about the annual Macworld Expo. Rather, let's talk about what Apple's backing out of the Macworld Expo means to CES and the category I cover (portable audio and video).
In years past, my January's involved a dizzying dash between San Francisco's Moscone Center and the Las Vegas Convention Center, as I strained to cover Apple's Macwold keynote and a week's worth of CES announcements in the same breath. But without Apple's presence, this year's Macworld (now in February) is far less significant, and I suspect that the iPod-centric vendors who were previously split by the two events will now come home to roost at CES. In short--iPod accessory announcements will likely play a larger role at CES this time around.
The flip side of this observation is that iPod competitors will probably have a harder time being heard. That's of course assuming there are any substantial iPod competitors left, beyond Microsoft.
Last year, Sony made a big stir with their OLED touch screen X-Series Walkman. Today, that same Walkman is being passed over in the discount bin and Sony's latest Walkman models aren't even slated to come to the U.S. We were also excited to see an affordable iPod Touch alternative in the Samsung P3, but by the time the promised 32GB model finally became available, many had already begun pinning their hopes on the Zune HD (and appropriately so). Creative can't even seem to be bothered to ship us their latest player, possibly because they're too busy cooking up smartphones. SanDisk came out with their SlotRadio player, and the world promptly yawned.
The takeaway from all of this is that I suspect we're going to see fewer manufacturers launching iPod contenders at CES just to watch them fail, and more companies exploring the iPod/iPhone accessory space.
Specifically, from the e-mails I'm already getting, I'm going to be up to my neck in… Read more