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Paul Kent gives TUAW the latest news about Macworld 2010

As a Mac-head who has attended the Macworld Expo and Conference on and off since the late 1980s, I met the announcement last December that Apple would no longer attend the event with a big, jaw-breaking yawn. Personally, I never attended Macworld for the Apple display, which was overcrowded and staffed by Apple employees who usually knew less about the new products than I did. The keynotes were usually a highlight, but hard to get into, and without Steve Jobs as the "star," it just wouldn't be the same. My reason for going to Macworld has always been the same; to see great new software or hardware made to work with Apple products, meet with manufacturers and developers, and to enjoy the camaraderie of the large group of buddies I've made at Macworld Expo in the past.

So, when I saw that registration for Macworld 2010 had opened, I immediately jumped on the website and signed up. To me, it's a no-brainer to attend the original and only US conference that is all about Apple. Macworld Expo has been around for 25 years, and all indications are that it will continue for as long as the Macintosh and other Apple platforms exist. Yesterday, I talked with Paul Kent, General Manager, Macworld 2010 and Vice President of IDG World Expo, about Macworld 2010 and how preparations are coming along for the show.
To start with, I asked Kent about the attendance figures so far, and he mentioned that the numbers are very encouraging. To date, over 28,000 pre-registrations have been received for the Expo, which is about two-thirds of the average attendance figures with three more months of registration left to go. That's also already at the level of attendees at Macworld Expo 2009, which saw lower-than-average attendance due to the state of the economy.

The show was moved to February 9 - 13, 2010 from the traditional January date, based on availability of space at the Moscone Center venue and requests from both exhibitors and attendees. Kent said that for many exhibitors, the early January date was difficult as employees needed to work through the Christmas and New Year's holidays in order to prepare for the show. Surveys done of exhibitors and attendees showed that many supported moving the Expo dates to a new timeframe, and IDG World Expo was able to comply.

As of early November, Kent said that there were also about 125 exhibitors signed up, and 480 press pass requests had been processed. But there's more to Macworld 2010 than just a lot of products -- there are free training opportunities on the floor, paid educational "tracks," and talks by a variety of Apple cognoscenti. David Pogue (personal technology writer for the New York Times and well-known Mac author), This Week In Tech's Leo Laporte, and writer/director Kevin Smith are all lined up to provide Expo-goers with their unique viewpoints.

Since Macworld has always had a presence in Apple's home port, the Bay Area, many attendees are from the region. Kent mentioned that by adding a Saturday to the Expo, they hope to attract a new audience of visitors who have not been able to take time off from work in the past. The new schedule, coupled with the additional special guests and events that will be added during the remaining three months before the show, should boost the attendance to all-time highs.

The conference tracks are always popular, and there will be six of them planned for 2010: MacIT, Market Symposiums (discussing deployment of Mac technology in key markets), Users, Power Tools (in-depth 2-day training in popular applications), MacLabs, andCreative Safari.

Kent was excited to pass along the information that the Berklee College of Music will once again present the Macworld Music Studio. This is an on-floor venue where you professional musicians and music educators instruct, demonstrate, and perform music.

As usual, as the clock ticks down to the start of Macworld 2010, you can read all of the latest coverage here at The Unofficial Apple Weblog.

As a Mac-head who has attended the Macworld Expo and Conference on and off since the late 1980s, I met the announcement last December that...