Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) still dominates the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, even though the company isn’t officially there. Wired’s Alexandra Chang reports that the company’s devices seem to be everywhere, even though there is no official Apple exhibit. There are about 3,000 exhibitors at CES this year, and almost 500 of them are set up in an area dedicated to companies selling Apple products.

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According to Chang, “It’s a lot easier for startups and established players alike to ride Apple’s coattails than those of, say, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) or Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT).”

Exhibitors at the show said Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s success is one thing when it comes to being able to find success in the world of electronic peripherals, but the other important thing is the way Apple makes its products. The company uses the same two connectors for its products. Also, there are only basically three cases for the company’s phones, compared to Android’s cases, which are many.

And then there’s the popularity of Apple’s devices. Buyers love to accessorize. Chang also noted that there are plenty  people looking to take advantage of Apple’s “i” branding: iLounge, iPort, iConnectivity, iSkin, etc.

Many CES attendees say they don’t feel like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) really needs an official presence because its devices are everywhere, and the fact is that Apple has set a trend by doing its own electronics event. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is following in Apple’s shoes by planning a separate event to unveil the Xbox 720 this year. After all, why would you want to show off your products at an event where there are thousands of products, when you could host your own event focused only on your one big product?

It doesn’t seem like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) or any other major tech company really “needs” CES any longer. Companies that are big enough to matter can do their own thing, and people will excitedly follow along. If you’re a big enough trendsetter in the industry, then people will come to you. You don’t have to go to them.

This year’s CES just shows how much truer that fact becomes every year. CES seems to be evolving into a show for slightly smaller companies looking to make it big, perhaps by “riding on the coattails” of a company that already has.