Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, had a lot to be pleased about Wednesday afternoon. The gigantic Consumer Electronics Show was hours from opening in Las Vegas and it was all good: sold out hotels, packed exhibit halls and more than 120,000 participants pouring into town. The industry is feeling "phenomenal optimism" after several years of gloom, Shapiro said in an interview at the show, which runs Thursday through Sunday.
Despite CES's tremendous success, there is one rub: Apple Inc., which, as of last year, became the world's biggest tech company, is a no-show. It hasn't been for years. The world's other largest electronics makers show up annually to roll out new products. But Apple makes its announcements in its own way, on its own schedule.
Shapiro shrugged off Apple's non-appearance as an official exhibitor. "Apple is here" in innumerable indirect ways. For example, one huge area of the exhibition floor is labeled the iLounge, where legions of sales reps were setting up booths to display every sort of Apple-related product, such as iPad carrying cases, car chargers and whatnot.
Besides, even if Apple wanted to participate, "we don't have any more space for them," Shapiro noted.