12 Questions (and Attempts at Answers) About Next Week’s Macworld Expo Non-Stevenote

By  |  Monday, December 29, 2008 at 9:30 am

Phil Schiller Macworld Expo Keynote ComposographWe’re now just over a week before Macworld Expo–a timeframe that would normally be bulging at the seams with speculation about what the Steve Jobs keynote would reveal. This time, of course, there will be no Jobs keynote–Apple marketing head Phil Schiller will fill in at the final Apple keynote at the show. And there’s little chatter on the Web about the Philnote–and virtually no expectation that it’ll be anything but a ho-hum presentation of ho-hum products.

Me, I’ll be at the keynote as usual, covering it live for this site. It’s in my self-interest to hope that it won’t be a non-event. So I’m already asking myself questions about it, and trying to come up with answers. Such as the twelve after the jump.

1. Will Schiller make reference to the unique nature of his keynote? Yes. But only to joke briefly at the start and break the tension, which will be oozing through the room when the keynote begins.

2. Will he get all defensive about Apple’s abandonment of Macworld Expo as of 2010? Nope. It would be startling if he mentioned it at all.

3. Will he announce anything interesting? Possibly. Everybody’s assuming that nothing any more pulse-pounding than a refreshed Mac Mini will be unveiled, but I’m not so sure. Steve Jobs might be avoiding the show as much because it’ll be a downer as because there’s nothing of note to talk about. Apple clearly wants to shine more limelight on execs other than Jobs. And hey, it’s not inconceivable that even a new Mac Mini could be cool.

4. Will he announce anything hugely newsworthy–on the level of the Intel transition or the iPhone? Nah. Surely not. Right?

5. Will he follow the Jobs keynote format? No. I’d think he’d want to mix things up to avoid a point-by-point comparison. So the Jobs outline (impressive stats/minor product introduction/bigger product introduction/One More Thing/Acknowledgment of Apple staffers’ contributions/musical guest) will probably not be Schiller’s template.

6. Will he pause to gulp bottled water? Only for yuks.

7. How will the audience react? Well, it’ll be subdued–all audiences at technology keynotes by people who aren’t Steve Jobs are comparatively subdued. But even if some attendees are members of the Silent Keynote hushout, their silence may be compensated for to some degree by others who politely try to buck up Phil. And if it’s mostly a snoozer newswise, I wouldn’t be surprised if some attendees actively search for things to be upbeat about. Bottom line: It won’t be a lovefest, but it may not be an embarrassment, either.

8. Will he take questions from the audience? No. Too dangerous.

9. Will the keynote attract a Jobsian avalanche of press coverage? Sort of. For one thing, the lack of Jobs is almost as newsworthy as the presence of Jobs. And expectations for Schiller and for the event in general are so low that it shouldn’t be hard to exceed them. I’m guessing that at least some pundits will decide the event wasn’t as bad as they expected it to be.

10. Will there be any surprises? Maybe. It’s not really in Apple’s interest for its final Macworld Expo keynote to be a completely boring downer of an event. If the company can do anything unexpected and upbeat, it might.

11. Will Apple hold its own independent “keynote” event? Yes, as soon as whatever wasn’t ready for Macworld Expo is ready to go, and with Steve Jobs. As soon as in the next couple of weeks, and likely by the end of February.

12. Who will keynote next year’s 2010’s Macworld Expo? It’s gotta be David Pogue. Definitely David Pogue. And you know, he could be great.

Any other questions or guesses about what will go down at San Francisco’s Moscone Center a week from Tuesday at 10am?

(Illustration above: Technologizer’s exclusive, wholly fraudulent Composograph visualization of what the Philnote may look like.)


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4 Comments For This Post

  1. DigDug Says:

    My corny prediction..at the end of the Philnote there will be a ‘oh, and one more thing’ item of relative importance (netbook?); and out will walk Jobs with the new product, and sort of as a keynote bookend/send-off – and a gesture of good will to the mac faithful

  2. Dave Barnes Says:

    “Who will keynote next year’s Macworld Expo?”

    Uh, no one as there won’t be such an event.

  3. Kosso Says:

    DigDug: that’s exactly what I was just thinking might happen 😉 A Jobsian farewell.

  4. Harry McCracken Says:

    @DigDug and Kosso: I thought about raising the possibility, then wimped out. I’d say it’s unlikely–surely Steve would run the risk of getting booed for the first time at Macworld Expo since he introduced Bill Gates–but not absolutely unthinkable.

    @Dave Barnes: I shoulda said 2010’s Macworld Expo (next year’s is next week!), but I’m pretty darn confident that the show will exist in some form in 2010. Of course, it’s possible they’ll just kill the whole idea of a keynote…