Crowded house

Of the Monday of Macworld Expo week, the show floor is closed to the public. No one is permitted past the Moscone Center lobby and onto the exhibit floor itself unless you’re sporting a snazzy blue Exhibitor badge. And yet, on this particular Monday, there I was on the Macworld Expo show floor without a blue Exhibitor badge to my name.

How’d I do it? Um… let’s just say “elfin magic” and move on. It’s getting harder and harder for me to pull this off without revealing any tricks of the trade.

Besides, it’s not like I have any scoops to report. The Apple booth is encased in frozen carbonite —or at least, a very large, very impenetrable curtain that even the most industrious reporters would find well-nigh impossible to breach. So if Apple does have wondrous secrets to unveil Tuesday morning, the company did a bang-up job hiding them from my prying eyes.

But my visit to the exhibit floor did help me form one first impression about this year’s Expo—things are going to be hopping. And I don’t think that impression was swayed either by the buzz of activity as developers hurried to set up their booths or by the fact that—if I’m reading this floor plan PDF correctly—the entire Expo seems to be crammed into Moscone Center’s South Hall.

It may only occupy one hall, but it’s taking up the whole floor—there are no curtains blocking off vast stretches of real estate the way there was back in the lean times of a few years ago. Expo organizers say that more than 300 exhibitors are on hand for this week, and I certainly have no reason to doubt their math—and not just because we work for the same company.

I mention all of this because, in the hullabaloo surrounding Expo, everything that isn’t an Apple product announcement tends to get drowned out. And that’s a shame since plenty of Mac developers will be making plenty of news this week outside of Steve Jobs’ keynote. And one of the reasons behind the creation of this particular blog—besides giving our readers a sense of what’s happening on the show floor—was to make sure news from other developers didn’t get short shrift.

So it’s good to see a bustling show floor, packed with enthusiastic Mac developers. Certainly, Apple is the headliner at any Macworld Expo, but it’s certainly not the only act worth paying attention to.

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