Rumors have it that there is concern for Steve Jobs' health as he appear gaunt and thin at the last product announcement. Also, there is speculation Apple has no 'knock ya on your ass' product announcements this year like the iPhone, etc.
Apple states Macworld is an trade show event which the company will not be participating in after next month as it is a "minor" way it reaches its customers now.
Weakened consumer spending and a global economy in disarray is more concern for Apple investors as many financial analysts have downgraded Apple, despite it has surprised the Street quarter over quarter, over expectations of the company to face tougher economic environment in the future.
Apple shares dropped $2.49 in after hours trading after the announcement.
I feel that Apple, due to its success over the last 10 years, is finding it increasingly difficult to produce the 'Wow' factor Apple fans have come to expect in January immediately after a busy Christmas season. Also, it may be too difficult to top its current lineup of products in time for the Macworld keynote; hence, by opting out of Macworld, the company can release its products within its own timeframe without the pressure of having to 'wow' those at Macworld.