Apple (s aapl) is at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) despite not having an official exhibiting presence at the show, according to a new report from Reuters. (s tri) More than 250 employees are reportedly registered to attend the show, according to Reuters’ source, and at least one noteworthy Apple exec has already been spotted stalking the show floor.
Despite that Apple doesn’t officially exhibit at CES, its presence is felt everywhere. Accessory makers use the show to launch docks, devices, chargers, peripherals and more designed to plug into, power up or otherwise complement Apple hardware. And Apple’s competition in the computer and mobile hardware game seem to be almost equally paying homage to the absent Mac-maker; Intel’s (s intc) vaunted Ultrabooks aspire to be the next MacBook Air, while smartphones and tablets are measured against Apple’s iPhone and iPad.
It makes sense then, that Apple’s own iOS product marketing chief Greg Joswiak, as spotted by PaidContent’s Tom Krazit, would be on hand to take a look at what the competition thought would represent legitimate competition to Apple’s hardware and software. And if someone as high-ranking as Joswiak is on hand, then another 250-odd lower-level employees is hardly a surprising figure. CES, after all, is a terrific opportunity to see not only shipping products from a broad cross-section of the competition, but also to get a look at how your third-party peripheral partners are representing your own products by association, as well as other in-development tech trotted out to wow the media.
Apple doesn’t need a presence at CES, but it will benefit from the opportunity it represents to take a look at the competition with its guard down. In stark contrast to Apple’s typical behavior, many companies are previewing devices that could be almost a year out from actual production; getting a hands-on look at the iPad 3’s and next MacBook Air’s potential competitors with the benefit of insider knowledge is definitely worth the price of a few hundred registrations.