For The 5th Year In A Row, Apple Wins CES. Before It Starts. Without Showing Up.

Are you ready for CES? I know I am. The PR emails are flowing in and I’m going to respond to every single one of them. I can’t wait to hear about Samsung’s social media stuff. And Vizio’s new thingy. I can’t wait to get my hands on that one thing made by those guys who did that other thing last year that no one bought. It’s gonna be fantastic. So pumped.

No, I’m not going to CES. I’ve never been to CES. I doubt I’ll ever go to CES. Why would I?

As far as I can tell, every person that I know who is going to CES views it as more of a chore. They’re not excited to go; they dread it. PR people may seem overly enthusiastic about it (27 emails about iGoldenShower or whatever — really?), but following this tweet, a few messaged me to say that they actually hate it more than any other week of the year. By all accounts, CES is a shitshow. And to make matters worse, it’s not even timed with the porn convention this year.

Maybe I’m being a bit unfair. While those of us on this side may be burned out (apparently even Microsoft), there are clearly still plenty of consumers and trade folk buying tickets to go or CES wouldn’t happen. And while I might not give a damn, I also only cover Apple now for TechCrunch (like this post, clearly). And as everyone is well aware, Apple never has any presence at CES. But others have to go to cover it because there is more to the gadget (and larger technology) world than Apple. Yes, I’m actually acknowledging this.

But actually, thinking back to the past few CES conventions, all I seem to recall is people talking about Apple anyway. If Sony announced something, it was compared to what Apple was doing in the space. Each keynote was compared to a Steve Jobs keynote. If LG sneezed, a thousand bloggers would check the tissue for Apple snot. Everyone else was consumed with what Apple was always just about to announce…

In years past, Apple used the stage at Macworld to one-up CES. More recently, they hold their own events to do so. Two years ago, it was the iPad. Last year, the Verizon iPhone. That tradition of overshadowing is likely to continue — only this year, it will be overshadowing on steroids.

Part of this will be the fault of the companies actually at CES. Oh look, an iMac clone. Oh look, a MacBook Air clone. And another one. And another one. Don’t forget the blatant MacBook Pro rip-offs too! And a few iPhone rip-offs for good measure. And 35 “iPad killers” that will ultimately kill themselves.

But the biggest story is going to be the beast unseen: the Apple Television.

Talk about this still-mythical product kicked into high gear leading up to the release of Steve Jobs’ biography — and for good reason. Now that talk is in pure overdrive. It will come later this year in 32-inch and 37-inch sizes. No wait, make that 42-inches. Actually, a 50-inch one already totally exists in a dark dungeon somewhere in Cupertino. “Advanced backlighting” FTW!

At this rate, by the end of CES, the thing is going to be 200-inches and be powered by cold fusion.

Every single television that is unveiled at CES this year is going to be accompanied by talk of Apple’s device. Executives from other companies will try to deflect this talk, but they won’t be able to. Instead, they’ll have to stray into talk about “Apple forcing everyone to up their game” or worse “we’ll just have to wait and see”. The truth is that Apple — which again, hasn’t actually said a word about any such product — already has the entire industry scrambling.

The tidal wave of Apple talk will be compounded by whispers of the iPad 3. It’s coming, but when? What will it look like? This manufacturer over at this booth talked to someone in the supply chain. How does the screen on this device compare to the as-yet-unseen 9.7-inch Retina Display? SIRI!!!!

And finally there’s the known-but-unknown Apple event taking place just after CES in New York. Publishing and textbooks will be on the tip of everyone’s tongue at CES. What do those have to do with gadgets? Doesn’t matter, just go with it.

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to CES this year.

[image: flickr/]