This was our Macworld

This was our Macworld. Other Macworlds were different. But this one was ours.

Macworld | iWorld 2012 was not the event of old, where Steve Jobs put sneaker to keynote stage and introduced us to everything from the iPhone to the MacBook Air, and where Apple's massive booth, and the massive booths of countless accessory makers, filled Moscone to capacity.

Apple has held their iPad keynotes -- and just recently the education event -- outside of Macworld, at a time and place of their own choosing. And CES has made a concerted effort to steal away the accessory booths, and now has more iPhone and iPad cases in their halls than any person, sane or otherwise, would ever want to walk through at any one time.

Some would say they tried to take the heart from Macworld, but all they took was the keynote and the bigger booths. Macworld's heart, it turns out, was never in either of those things. It was in the community. And it endures.

Complete iMore coverage of Macworld 2012

Those who only ever bothered to fly in for the keynote and fly out again no longer bother. Those who only scoured the booths for deals no longer show up to scour. Now it's the dedicated media who stay the week. It's the fans who show up and want to find out about what's going on. And we all had a great time.

After dealing with travel delays, Leanna and I arrived on late Thursday and enjoyed only the briefest glimpse of the show floor before it closed. But Macworld didn't end at Moscone. That night we met up with a veritable who's-who of fellow Apple bloggers and journalists, developers and designers, accessory makers and advertising/PR reps. We drank, we ate, we shared stories and opinions -- we shared Macworld.

The next two days we hit the show -- hard. We recorded a bunch of videos and a ton of interviews you'll see over the course of the coming weeks. And those two nights we kept meeting up with our fellow Apple enthusiasts, our community.

Because that's what Macworld is and really always was. A reunion of those who cover and create and consume the Apple experience. A homecoming.

That's not to say everything is perfect now. It isn't. Macworld has transformed into Macworld|iWorld and turned from a traditional expo into a modern fan event. But they haven't fully embraced that change yet. A lot of the talks, a lot of the panels, were filled with the same Mac pundits that have always filled them. Just like Macworld has added iWorld, the agenda needs to add the energy and insights of the new iOS-centric generation. Don't lose the old guard, but add the new blood. We'll all be richer for it. Likewise, build on the smaller accessory makers and the developers, the kickstarters who don't fit in at CES, and the indies who want to network with each other and with their most enthusiastic consumers in a way WWDC could never allow.

Still, new Macworld|iWorld is just getting their footing. Just like we envision iMore to be the ultimate online site for iPhone and iPad enthusiasts, Macworld|iWorld is aiming to do that for the entire Apple community in the real world. I expect great things ahead. So great, in fact, I don't really miss Apple or the big accessory makers at all anymore. So many things, smaller, more delicate, more unusual things have blossomed in their absence. If IDG can keep up what they've started, if the community can realize the benefits of coming together like this, of being a community together like this, there will be many more amazing Macworld|iWorld events to come.

And I for one can't wait to attend.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.