Should Apple have had a bigger presence at SXSW?

With the newly released iPhone SDK, Webkit, Safari (now available on Mac & PC) and Apple’s professional audio and video software such as Logic, Final Cut and Shake, I was fully expecting to see a rather prominent Apple booth at the SXSW tradeshow.

I did see a handful of Apple employees on the list of panelists speaking at SXSW, an interactive, film and music conference and festival hosted annually in Austin, Texas. It appeared they were there more for personal reasons than officially there on behalf of Apple.

Is Apple so confident in their place in the industry that they can ignore their core user group? Was their absence simply due to other factors, like a busy schedule or timing conflicts? Surely Apple has enough “evangelists” on staff to send a few.

Apple wasn’t the only big company missing from the floor… There was no Mozilla or Microsoft or Avid. Yahoo, Google, Mapquest and others were represented, as were a slew of smaller companies offering services, products or software.

Should Apple have had a presence at the conference? Have they ever before? To be honest, this was my first time at SXSW and I was more surprised than anything at Apple’s absence, especially considering the SDK announcement the day before SXSW started.