By Jessica Luthi
Editor in Chief
Thousands of people from around the world come to San Francisco every year for the biggest gathering in matters of all things Apple. IDG’s MacWorld Expo and Conference at the Moscone Center from Jan. 5. to Jan. 9, has become the the company’s platform to unveil many of its popular consumer electronics, including the iPhone and the MacBook Air.
Apple announced in Dec. 2008, it would be pulling of out the popular trade show in 2010.
Phillip Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, spoke at this year’s keynote address, which has become a major highlight for the show. “I can’t tell you how personally excited I am to be the one to deliver MacWorld 2009’s keynote to you,” Schiller said at the keynote.
Rumors began circulating after the Apple’s initial announcement that CEO Steve Jobs would not be delivering the annual keynote. “Unfortunately, my decision to have Phil deliver the Macworld keynote set off another flurry of rumors about my health, with some media outlets even publishing stories of me on my deathbead, ” said Jobs in a letter to the Apple community.
Even though Jobs wasn’t present for the first time in nearly a decade, the show went on.
This year, Apple released a slew of new updates to its software packages iLife and iWork, as well as the addition of 17-inch MacBook Pro to the Mac family. Although Apple did no major unveiling of new, trendsetting electronics, many expo-goers managed to get excited about the upcoming changes to iTunes.
iTunes currently includes music from major music labels — Universal Music Group, Sony BMG, Warner Music Group and EMI. But one of the biggest changes is that all music available on iTunes will now be DRM-free via iTunes Plus, beginning with eight million songs this month and the final two million plus songs by the end of Apple’s current quarter. After April 1, songs can also be purchased in three tiers – $.69, $.99, $1.29, which Schiller said will be a benefit for consumers.
Music, in combination with iTunes, has been a signature product for Apple. Many songs have become popular after being used in Apple ads, including Feist’s “1,2,3,4” and Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida”. “Now we’re ending on music … I think it’s fitting to end our last MacWorld keynote with an artist who really has some amazing music,” Schiller said before introducing Grammy award-winning artist, Tony Bennett, who ended with the “The best is yet to come.”