Letter From Las Vegas: Apple Stole CES Thunder

Now that Apple's introduced another drool-worthy product, my guess is that Consumer Electronics Show executives will make sure that next year's 'Gear Gone Wild' will steer clear of Steve Jobs and Macworld.

If there ever was a CES killer, it was Apple.

With some 10,000 products on shimmering display at CES, headlines round the world beamed on just one: the iPhone.

Outside the ballroom moments after Michael Dell's keynote on Tuesday, I tried to ask one of the attendees what he thought of the new Alienware product, The Hangar. But he shooed me away with a flash of his Treo. "I'm trying to get stock prices. If Apple announces a new phone, the stock is going to pop."

Market analyst Robin Wansbrough: "Damn. I didn't get a buy order in."

Wall Street did respond with a 5% jump in the newly-named Apple Inc's stock shortly after the launch. No such pops from the rest of the consumer electronics industry.

On the shuttle bus to the Las Vegas Convention Center, there were scattered comments about Windows Vista and Intel's Multiply Your Grooves demo but plenty of scuttlebutt about Microsoft's sour grapes over Apple.



"Robbie Bach has a point. Will the iPhone be the iPod or the Newton?"

"What do you expect Microsoft to say?" put in a rep from Australia.

In the press room, it was evident that reporters were zipping back and forth from CES to Macworld. In Las Vegas, it seemed, it was easy to find a bigwig to interview. In San Francisco, Apple was doing its usual tightlipped embargo on product demos.

The bloggers were going gaga:

"Why do people talk so much about Apple? Because people /love/ Apple. People love their MacBooks, iPods, etc. They'll love their iPhones. Whereas most people don't give a s--- about their Dell boxes." Diego on

At lunch, a Hollywood entertainment exec who declined to be named because her clients are hyper-sensitive about the cool factor, told me: "Nobody does cool like Apple. It was hard to focus on the scene in Las Vegas while waiting for the other shoe to drop in San Francisco. Now that its dropped, maybe we can get back to dishing about Blu-Ray."

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