PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

No-show Apple still an imposing presence at CES

David Sarno
Los Angeles Times (MCT)

LAS VEGAS — Apple Inc. is nowhere to be found at the big Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas — but its shadow is just about everywhere.

Many of the world's largest electronics makers have come to the show to unveil new products aimed squarely at Apple's popular devices, but Apple does not participate in the year's biggest tech event.

The trade show, which officially kicks off Thursday, will be inundated with iPad-like tablet computers, iPhone-like smart phones, and Internet-enabled televisions to rival Apple TV. There is even an "iLounge" that will feature companies hawking carrying cases, docking bays, car chargers and other accessories for Apple products.

"Apple is the phantom haunting CES," said Yair Reiner, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. "The show is supposed to be about new and innovative products, but to a large extent what you're going to see is the rest of the electronics world trying to catch up to what Apple is already doing."

Apple stopped participating in industry trade shows altogether in 2009, when it withdrew from the Apple-centric MacWorld conference, where for years Chief Executive Steve Jobs took the stage to show off the company's new products. Now Apple, whose market capitalization recently passed $300 billion to make it the second most valuable U.S. company behind Exxon Mobil Corp., makes product announcements on its own timeline.

It's a mark of the company's influence that the most-anticipated devices to be rolled out at the show are those that Apple either pioneered or has recently become a major player in. The annual gathering of the world's tech industry draws more than 100,000 people.

At CES, one visible skirmish will be among the manufacturers that will release tablet computers to compete with the iPad. Apple released its bestselling tablet in April, sending competitors scrambling to develop their own. Meanwhile, Apple has sold nearly 13 million iPads, which start at $499, analysts estimate.

By next year, the tablet market is expected to reach close to $34 billion — with Apple accounting for more than 60 percent of the sales, according to projections from JPMorgan Chase & Co.

But the allure of the remaining billions of dollars has drawn tablet makers from around the world, with dozens of the devices expected to be unveiled at CES, including possible models from Hewlett-Packard Co., Microsoft Corp. and Korean manufacturer LG Electronics Inc. Irvine, Calif.-based Vizio Inc. and Taiwan-based Asustek Computer Inc. announced tablets Monday.

There was even a new product called itablet — from a British company called AHX Global.

The hot topic of this year's convention is the Internet-connected TV, a category of television sets that will allow users to directly surf the Web and access online video, as well as watch traditional cable programming.

In the run-up to the show, however, Apple announced that its Apple TV product, a separate box that enables TV watchers to rent movies and watch online video, has sold 1 million units since its launch in September.

In the smart phone category, Apple's rivals will be trying to gain ground on its iPhone.

The iPhone's competition is the army of increasingly popular phones powered by Google Inc.'s Android operating system. Android phones now account for 25.8 percent of smart phones, a hair behind Apple's 28.6 percent, according to Nielsen Co., which said Monday that the race for the smart phone market leader is "the tightest it has ever been."

Verizon Wireless, which carries popular Android phones like the Droid X and Droid 2, is widely expected to announce yet another Google-powered phone, potentially for its newer high-speed 4G network.

Even still, one of the most persistent rumors in the technology world is that Verizon is working with Apple to bring the iPhone to its network, blunting the business advantage of AT&T, the iPhone's exclusive carrier. That announcement — as often as it may be discussed at the show — is not expected this week.

Perhaps fittingly, Apple did not respond to a request to comment for this report.

Apple's absence is "perfectly in character," said Ross Rubin, an analyst for the market research firm NPD Group. "It's not a company that's going to hop on the bandwagon simply because the bandwagon is there."

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.


Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.


CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.


Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.


While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.


Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.


Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.


Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.


In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.


The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.


The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.


The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.


When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.


20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.


The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.


Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.