A Macworld conclave devoted to all things Apple gets under way this week without the technology sun around which the annual event has revolved for years.
Long a centerpiece of the cult-like gathering, Apple has opted out of the event and will not be giving a keynote presentation this year that was so popular people queued around the building for seats.
"I am still very excited about it," said Jed Seifert, executive vice-president of MusicSkins, which makes hip vinyl coatings for personalising iPhones, iPods, MacBook computers and other gizmos. "Macworld is all about finding the hottest coolest new stuff out there."
A conference portion begins tomorrow with seminars on succeeding in an Apple "ecosystem" ranging from software applications to cases, ear buds or other accessories for the California company's popular devices. An expo at which companies show off Apple-oriented creations opens on Thursday and continues through the end of the conference on Saturday.
"This will be a thrilling time," said Jeanniey Mullen of Zinio, a global 'digital newsstand' for Internet Age magazines and books delivered to a wide array of electronics devices including iPhones. "The recessionary period, if nothing else, led to a lot of innovation for survival and a pretty great explosion of ideas."
Macworld organiser IDG enhanced the conference line-up in an apparent move to fill the void left by Apple.
Actor and film-maker Kevin Smith will be a "feature presenter", sharing views on using technology to tell stories and create art. Smith's films include Clerks and Chasing Amy.
The list of Macworld speakers includes long-ago Apple employee turned venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki, New York Times technology columnist David Pogue, and John Gruber of Daring Fireball blog.
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