I was also at the dinner and have a transcript after the jump of the CEA president’s comments, which reveal Apple will have a big presence at CES, but only through third parties.
The Journal’s blog post “Will Apple CEO headline CES ’10?” has been rebutted by another dinner attendee – Ryan Block of Engadget, who described it as “specious and flatly wrong.”
A Steve Jobs appearance at CES would be nothing short of sensational, since he has spurned invitations in the past in favour of Apple’s own publicity vehicle, Macworld, held at the same time.
However, Apple announced in December it would no longer exhibit or give keynotes at Macworld following the 2009 show. Trade shows had become “a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers”, it said.
That has led to companies in the Apple ecosystem scrambling to show their wares at CES in 2010 in a section of the show called iLounge.
Cue Gary Shapiro’s comments (courtesy of a transcription from my Livescribe pen recording):
Shapiro – iLounge – you know, we took advantage when Apple said they were not going to be part of Macworld.
We just announced this with our partner and designated 3,000 square feet and all of a sudden everyone’s signing and we have to keep expanding, expanding, we’ve quadrupled it to 12,000 and we’ll continue to expand it, but we have so many parts of that community there, so that’s a big deal for us, that we have never had before. so the Apple community is…
Journalist – Will that be on the show floor?
Shapiro – Yes, it will be on the show floor, it will be a large portion of the show floor.
Journalist – Is Apple taking a booth?
Shapiro – Apple does not have a booth formally.
Journalist – Is Jobs likely to be talking?
Shapiro – I have invited Jobs to speak, but I’ve done that before.
Journalist – Does he ever respond back?
Shapiro – Honestly? Occasionally, they’ll respond with a memo. “No”.
Journalist – That’s good for him though.
Shapiro – Well good, I’m glad we all share the same frustrations. [laughter] No, but we all wish him well.
So the bottom line is that while Steve Jobs has been invited to speak at CES, it seems highly unlikely he will reply to the invitation, let alone accept. However, Apple will have a strong presence at CES through companies that sell peripherals.