Apple on Apple Expo pullout; more on 3G iPhone shoot; .Mac outage

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Apple has confirmed that it forgo this year's Apple Expo in Paris. Meanwhile, more details of the company's 3G iPhone commercial shoots are surfacing. And Monday's .Mac outage has added to speculation that a re-branded service may be imminent.

Apple says no need for Apple Expo

Apple has made it official that it will not attend September's Apple Expo in Paris via a statement published by the French-language Mac Plus.

"Year after year, Apple reduces its participation in trade shows because there often exists better means of getting in contact with our clients," the company said. "The growing popularity of the website permits us to directly touch over 100 million clients around the world in innovative ways."

The statement confirms a report published Monday by French Mac news site Mac Generation, which noted that original plans for conference called for Apple to occupy the two largest floor exhibits. In recent days, however, all mention of the electronics maker was removed from the floor plan.

Apple Expo has historically been held in September, which conflicts with a relatively new practice on Apple's part of holding its own stateside media events around the same time. Over the past three years, the company has used those events to usher in its holiday consumer electronics offerings (2005, 2006, 2007).

Apple Expo 2008 will go on without Apple, running September 17 - 20.

More rumors on 3G iPhone filmings

ValleyWag is running with a first-hand account from Apple's recent commercial shoot out in Los Angeles, which is interesting in that it corroborates several of the specifics first published by AppleInsider on Friday.

Among those details were that Apple built a full-scale replica of an Apple retail store interior for the shoot and that all non-essentials were forced to vacate the set when the product of honor was brought out.

In its report, however, ValleyWag adds that the set took two days to construct on the same Warner Bros. lot lot used to film the movie "The Perfect Storm." It added that film from the shoot will be shown off during Steve Jobs' opening keynote address at next week's Worldwide Developers Conference.

In speaking to AppleInsider, one person familiar with the filming claims that one of the scenes portrayed two CIA-type individuals trekking through the halls of a high tech building carrying an aluminum case. After a series of mundane corridors, they arrive at an Apple Store Genius Bar where they open to case to reveal the "product."

Given that Apple may have filmed several scenes on the LA set, there is no guarantee that any one particular scene will see the light of day, though the account is being published for the sake of interest and discussion.

Update: One producer and AppleInsider reader doubts the accuracy of ValleyWag's report in regards to the location of Apple's Los Angeles filming. He notes that the Warner Bros. stage used to film "The Perfect Storm" is actually stage 16, which is a massive water stage with a permanent hydraulic gimbal positioned in the center of the floor.

"There is no reason Apple would need all of that space and even if they did I'm not sure why they would need a floodable water stage with a huge gimbal in the middle of it, which makes rental time on that stage much more expensive than other dry stages at Warner Brothers Burbank," he writes.

Warner Bros. Production Stages
Warner Bros. Production Stages; Stages 19 & 20 pictured.

On its own website, Warner Bros. says: "Stage 16, one of the tallest stages in the world, was raised foot by foot in 1935 to its current height of 98 feet (65 feet to the permanents) for a Marion Davies/Clark Gable film titled Cain and Mabel. Since that time, Stage 16 has been the home of memorable scenes: the features My Fair Lady , Camelot , The Music Man , The Old Man and The Sea , The Great Race , PT 109 , Key Largo , Ghostbusters , Jurassic Park , The Perfect Storm and Ocean's 13 to name just a few."

However, portions of the "Perfect Storm" were also filmed on a secondary stage, Stage 26, which could be the stage ValleyWag's sources were referring to, not the film's primary stage (16).

.Mac service outage

Apple's .Mac mail service dropped offline around 5:30pm Eastern time on Monday and did not return until about 6 hours later. This sparked a flurry of reader submissions filled with speculation that Apple may have been conducting tests associated with the much rumored rebranding of the service, which could potentially be announced as early as next week.

The online service has long been criticized for its lack of compelling features and high subscription fees. During last year's D5 All Things Digital conference, .Mac was singled out as a poor example of an Internet collaboration tool, an opinion shared by Steve Jobs.

"I couldn't agree more [with the assessment]," Jobs confessed. "And we'll make up for lost time in the near future."