Are Trade Shows really dead?

While reading various stories and comments tonight on the news that Apple won’t be participating at Macworld Expo after 2009, I noticed one sentiment that kept popping up on website after website. The idea that trade shows are an archaic, 20th century, form of marketing that are either dead, or dying. I’ve never heard this before, is this really true?

I actually have both a personal and professional interest in this. On a personal level, I enjoy going to trade shows. They’re a great way to get some face-to-face time with the companies that make the products I use, or am interested in using. I think it’s time well spent, by both sides.

On a professional level, I create trade show materials for some of my clients. Everything from Video attract loops, to booth graphics, to handouts. It’s not a huge part of my business, but it definitely contributes to my income.

Other than current problems due to the general state of the economy, I haven’t heard anything specific about trade shows dying as a format. And, I’m curious if this sentiment is directed specifically at computer-related trade shows, or do people think trade shows of all types are on their way out.

Anyone care to comment on this?