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It’s been a while now since Apple Expo and I must admit, I’ve been putting off writing this installment because I was disappointed with the event. However, I am told that time heals all wounds (or at least most of them) so I am pressing on with my report and will reserve my rantings and complaints for my closest friends, which I’m sure they’ll look forward to.

This is the first of a four-part series on the Apple Expo, and what follows is a general overview of the event. The second installment will address my appreciation for and the importance of great conference management. The third posting will deal with what I learned from the seminar on eliminating Windows while the final segment will review the excellent seminar on B2B social networking.

Arrival

Given that the website for this event indicated limited spacing for seminar,s I checked the site for more information both the night before and the morning of the event. There were no changes posted and no schedule displayed. The event commenced at 12 noon and I arrived about 30 minutes early to pick up my welcome kit. In my fabric welcome bag was an event brochure describing the seminars and times, as well as a handy seminar schedule on the back of my name tag—or at least it would have been handy, had the times and topics of the seminars been correct or had the expo staff alerted me to these facts. Since I had some time, I walked around outside of the expo area and found signs indicating that some of the seminar topics, including one I wanted to attend, had started as early as 10:30 and 11:15 am—prior to the event start time—which left me quite disappointed.

Seminars

The first seminar I attended began at noon and was supposed to be about the iPad. The small, informal seating area was packed, but I managed to squeeze in. Once the seminar started, however, I realized it was not about the iPad, but was about making Windows disappear. In fact, the seminar on the iPad was not being held at all and the packed audience quickly emptied down to four people. I stayed partly out of politeness, partly because according to the schedule there was not another suitable seminar for me, and partly because I felt bad for the speaker. Despite my greatest efforts to understand the discussion, and my furious note-taking—on a piece of paper I happened to have with me because no note pad was supplied in the welcome bag—it was clear that this topic was more for IT personnel. The contents of the seminar, as best I understand them, will be discussed in a further (and probably shorter) blog posting.

Exhibitors

The Apple Expo Canada 2010 website indicated “You will meet the best Mac manufacturers, see live product demonstrations, touch and feel the latest products and learn from the best Mac experts in Canada.” No such luck. I saw no Mac reps and no iPhones, iTouch devices, iPads, or Mac computers/laptops. In fact, the only exhibitors present were companies who created software and devices for use on Macs/PCs such as imaging manufacturers (eg, printers, scanners), accessories, and data storage device and services companies. While these exhibitors would have been useful for IT personnel and company owners to meet and discuss their business needs, they were certainly not for the average Mac user.

Summary

Advertised as “a uniquely Canadian event exclusively for Mac enthusiasts as well as people contemplating switching to a Mac” this event did not meet my needs and left me thoroughly disappointed. I saw many attendees who had been sent to this event by their companies, including many graphic designers and general business personnel who seemed to share in my disappointment. The expo fell well short of  expectations and I will likely not attend the event next year. However, I tried to salvage what I could from the event and ended the day with a fantastic seminar on social networking for business.

Tune in for more learnings from the Apple Expo including 1) tips for great event management, 2) a review of the first seminar on making Windows disappear, and 3) a review of an excellent seminar on B2B social networking.