Apple and CES? Don't bet on it

A Wall Street Journal report posited that Apple would attend the massive Vegas trade show. Now the paper is saying "it's not clear" Apple will be there.

Michelle Meyers
Michelle Meyers wrote and edited CNET News stories from 2005 to 2020 and is now a contributor to CNET.
Michelle Meyers
3 min read

Update, July 30, 10:28 a.m. PDT: The Wall Street Journal has now added a correction to its story: "Correction: It is not clear whether Apple will attend the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show. This post previously stated that Apple would attend."

We've heard lots of speculation about the possibility of Apple attending the massive CES trade show in January, but The Wall Street Journal is reporting straight out that Apple plans to attend.

Apple CES
CES is devoting more floorspace to Apple this year. But will Apple attend? The Wall Street Journal is saying it will. Tom Krazit/CNET

If true, this would seem a bit of a schizophrenic move. After all, Apple explained its decision to leave Macworld (which takes place around the same time as CES) by saying that it doesn't need trade shows anymore to get its message across, given its network of retail stores.

We've attempted to reach Apple for confirmation, even given the late hour, but haven't yet received a response.

Although the Journal blog post references a dinner with journalists and Gary Shapiro, who heads the organization that puts on CES in Las Vegas, it doesn't attribute Apple's move to Shapiro. "Apple plans to attend the show's 2010 version, marking the first time in memory the Cupertino, Calif., consumer-electronics giant will be there," the post reads.

And it goes on to talk about how Shapiro, chief executive of the Consumer Electronics Association, has invited Apple CEO Steve Jobs to give a keynote address at the show. "But nobody from Apple has gotten back to him," the Journal post says, citing Shapiro.

Meanwhile, while other bloggers have followed the Journal piece, Engadget's Ryan Block, who says he was at the same dinner with Shapiro, is challenging the report's accuracy. "At no point did Gary even remotely imply that Apple would be present at a future CES." That sentiment was echoed by Engadget founder Peter Rojas in a comment posted to the Journal story, addressing its author, Ben Charny. Shapiro "was very clear that Apple would not be exhibiting at CES 2010," wrote Rojas, who was also at the dinner with Shapiro. "I'm frankly a little shocked that anyone could have come out of the dinner with a post like this."

CNET Editor in Chief Scott Ard, who also was at the dinner, concurred that Shapiro didn't say anything that could be construed as definitive about Apple and CES 2010. He also noted that the Wall Street Journal story didn't attribute possible attendance by Apple to Shapiro.

"Shapiro didn't say anything at the dinner that could be taken as confirmation that Apple would attend," Ard said. "And it's hardly news that Jobs did not return an invite request."

Ard continued: "Ironically, much of the conversation Tuesday revolved around three topics: Apple's plans, CES 2010, and accuracy in journalism. We'll see how this story shakes out--at this point the Journal's post is hard to evaluate because it does not have any sourcing regarding Apple's supposed attendance."

"The good news in all this," Ard said, "is that Apple will likely have to declare one way or the other what its plans are very soon."

What we do know, however, is that with or without Apple,CES is planning to expand its Apple section from 4,000 square feet to 25,000 square feet. The venue will be called the iLounge Pavilion.

Anyone else having trouble envisioning Jobs in a Vegas lounge, albeit one that starts with the letter i?

This post was updated at 11:28 p.m. PDT with comments from Peter Rojas. It was updated again at 7:04 a.m. PDT on Thursday with comments from CNET's Scott Ard.