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Apple resellers react to lackluster 2009 Macworld Conference and Expo

The 2009 Macworld Conference and Expo didn't generate as much buzz as in years past. Apple resellers wonder how the fallout will affect their businesses.

The unenthusiastic response to the 2009 Macworld Conference and Expo last month has some Apple resellers tempering their expectations for the year.

The products unveiled at the conference included the new 17-inch Macbook Pro with an extended seven- to eight-hour battery life, plans to lift digital rights management (DRM) technology from iTunes songs, improved editing features in iMovie '09 and improvements within iLife '09, such as geotagging support. Miles Erani, sales and administration representative for Apple reseller DesignTech in New York City, said he did not attend the show because there was not much for his company to see.

"There were a couple software announcements but no real big hardware announcements coming out," Erani said. "Mac wasn't going to be a huge presence there."

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One reason for the Macworld 2009 Conference and Expo letdown: the tremendous expectations from previous Macworlds, when Apple used the opportunity to release new products and do revolutionary things, said Michael Oh, founder and president of Tech Superpowers.

Another reason Oh decided not to attend Macworld this year was the absence of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who usually speaks at the conference but has been suffering from health problems.

"I think that a lot of people who attend Macworld are going there because of this tremendous Mac community and tremendous energy that comes from all Mac-matics," Oh said. "Without the symbolic leader of Apple and of the Mac platform, many people felt leader-less."

Many people who attended Macworld 2009 weredisappointed about Jobs' absence, but it didn't ruin the convention as a whole, Erani said. Although many respect Jobs and see him as the visionary behind Apple, "they also know the whole company doesn't revolve around him," Erani said.

In the business world, people don't go to Macworld because of Jobs. Rather, they go to connect with people and network, Erani said. The speed with which information travels the globe may have contributed to the lack of breakthrough technologies unveiled this year, he said.

"There is still tremendous technology, but today you know it instantaneously because of the Internet," he added. "It's not like you need to go someplace and travel halfway around the country to see something you can see over the Internet and blog and chat about from your home."

Oh said the Macworld letdown is more of a reflection of the economy than of Apple as a company.

"I think the recession plays [a role] in this as well," he said. "I'm not sure if it's calculated or not, but there's no real point in releasing all this new technology if people are scared to buy it, because they don't know if they'll have their jobs tomorrow."

Although Apple failed to generate excitement for consumers at the Macworld 2009 Conference and Expo, the company will continue to win over business customers in 2009, thanks to its tremendous job of brand recognition, he added.

Apple has "done what it needs to do for business users," Oh said. Now it is the job of software developers and third-party peripheral manufacturers to give business owners everything else they need to integrate Macs into the workplace, he said.

"I don't see that much of a detriment to Mac as a business, but I think a lot of people will," said Oh. "Apple doesn't have its own glory because it's not coming up with new products."

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