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Behind a Steve Jobs Keynote 424

Posted by Zonk
from the go-talk-to-a-few-million-people-you'll-get-the-hang-of-it dept.
Shree writes "The Guardian has an article about what it takes to prepare that smooth Steve Jobs-style keynote. When Steve launches iPhoto and says 'here we have 5000 or so photos', he actually means here we have 5000 or so carefully picked photos ... " From the article: "Objectively, Apple Computer is a mid-sized company with a tiny share of its primary market. Apple Macintoshes are only rarely seen in corporate environments, and most software companies don't even offer Apple-compatible versions of their products. To put it another way, Apple is just bit larger than Cadbury-Schweppes and about the same size as Nike or Marks and Spencer in terms of annual sales. Such comparisons come up short in trying to describe Apple's place in the world of business, because they leave out a key factor: Steve Jobs."
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Behind a Steve Jobs Keynote

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  • by jmp_nyc (895404) * on Friday January 06, 2006 @10:55AM (#14408889)
    The power of Steve Jobs is that he is able to get people to notice what he's doing. Part of that includes his large following of people who hang on his every word. It shouldn't come as a shock to anyone that he works very hard to maintain the effortless appearance of his public persona in order to maintain that following.

    Apple makes great products, sometimes jumping into market segments that have other businesses with a head start, makes them slick and easy to use, then markets the hell out of them. The iPod wasn't the first portable mp3 player, but it put the product on the map. If next week's keynote unveils a media-centered Mac Mini with DVR features, it won't be the first such creature (Microsoft's been trying to break into that segment for a while, and Bill Gates just demoed similar features in Vista), but I guarantee that Jobs will unveil products that are much closer to market, and that the proportional effect on Apple's sales will be tremendous...
    -JMP
    • In a highly complicated world with new technology popping up daily, Steve Jobs does a great job at simplifying things to make an outstanding and lasting impression. The image of Apple is depicted perfectly in every one of Jobs' keynotes, down to the last little detail Steve makes sure everything is perfect.
    • I've heard a lot of people say that a lot of (presumably other) people hang on Steve Jobs' every word. But somehow I've never met anyone who actually did seem to hang on the words of Steve Jobs. The buzz around Apple products seems grounded in reality - the buzz around Jobs seems like manufactured press.

      He's like the CEO equivalent of Paris Hilton: everyone's sure he's famous, no one's really sure what he's famous FOR. No really, there a ton of sex tapes going around the internet - that's not enough to m
      • by Microlith (54737) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:26AM (#14409126)
        Why he's famous should be obvious.

        He's the CEO that came back and saved Apple, giving us the iMac, iPod, and MacOS X.

        He also presents his company's creations with a flair that Bill G. simply doesn't have, and other companies simply can't muster cause their products really don't have any style.

        Paris Hilton is famous too, but honestly for reasons I cannot fathom. Is stupidity that popular?
        • When I see MS do something stupid I don't generally blame Bill Gates. I mean, the day to day vulnerabilities, the crappy design, the shoddy interfaces, none of that can really be attributed (in my understanding) to Bill. The anti-competitive practices and other 'big picture' stuff, sure, but the nuts and bolts stuff? In a round about way of course if Bill is hiring the poeple that are hiring the people that are hiring the people that are doing stupid stuff it's ultimately his fault - but there's a lot of
          • by soft_guy (534437) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:58AM (#14409382)
            I'd agree except that I've talked to a lot of people at Apple both before,during, and after Steve Jobs return. He really is personally involved in the 5% of the most important decisions at Apple at any given time. That amounts to tremendous personal attention to the details of what is going on - and it also sets the tone for the other 95% of the decisions that get made when he isn't around.
          • Maybe Steve just has a much more powerful impact on his own company than CEOs do in general, but I've always figured that CEOs did more with broad-picture stuff and were somewhat disconnected from the detailed operations.

            It has been reported that Steve Jobs decides the order of the applications in the Dock when a new machine cold boots. Of course, someone must decide the order of these apps. The significance is that the CEO considers it important enough to have a hand in it.

            Not so disconnected, I think

        • Now I'm usually a big fan of Apple, but I think you're not really giving credit where credit is due (although not your fault, virtually nobody does). The decision to kill Copland and buy someone else's OS -- the key decision that led to the return of Jobs, the production of Mac OS X, and perhaps saved the company -- was not Jobs'. It's usually attributed to Ellen Hancock, originally of IBM, and who Jobs ridiculed and later basically ran out of the company.

          Jobs is brilliant, don't get me wrong, but I'm not sure that the credit for Mac OS X and for acquiring NeXT should be entirely his. If it hadn't been for Hancock, someone from outside the company who basically had to tell them when it was time to pull the plug, Apple might have continued along the twisted road that was Copland until finially running out of steam. And the acquisition of NeXT, along with Jobs, might never have happened.

          See
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copland [wikipedia.org] and
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellen_Hancock [wikipedia.org]
        • Bill G lacks flair? Haven't you seen his DOOM [google.com] video?
      • That's not a fair comparison- Steve really is involved with product design and really does contribute ideas that steer development. In the 80s he was instrumental in making the platform viable and immediately after returning to Apple in the late 90s he fixed all the problems Amelio introduced and started the company moving in the direction it's going today. He doesn't code or sculpt prototype cases or anything like that, but it's Steve's high-level decisions that make those things happen.

        So, while he may
        • by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:34AM (#14409178) Journal
          I got news for you. The problems Apple had were not introduced by Gil Amelio. Amelio kept Apple alive during his tenure. If Amelio hadn't been there, there would be no Apple for Jobs to come back to. Furthermore, it was under Amelio that Apple bought NeXT (or as some wags would have it, NeXT bought Apple for negative $400 million), paving the way for Jobs to retake the helm.

          No, if you want to blame Apple's problems on anyone, it should be Spindler and Sculley.
          • Man, this is horrible, but I'm automatically going to trust the guy with the three digit id.
        • by dal20402 (895630) * <dal20402.mac@com> on Friday January 06, 2006 @04:13PM (#14411453) Journal
          To expand on what the other reply said...

          Amelio didn't make great product decisions, and it certainly took Jobs, the iMac, etc. to get Apple back into public favor.

          But Amelio, not Jobs, was the real financial savior of the company. When he was hired, there were going to be losses as far as the eye could see -- Apple really had not got its costs under control, and seemed to have no motivation to change old losing business practices such as custom-building all components and pricing without considering the rest of the market. Amelio, not Jobs, really got Apple to move toward industry-standard components and better inventory/distribution practices; Apple, while continuing to shrink, stopped losing money on his watch. It turned from Mercedes-Benz circa 1991 into Porsche circa 2004.

          Like the other guy said, no Jobs without Amelio. I wish people would give him his due.

          Jobs, for his part, is successful because he's a showman. People like entertainers, pure and simple. (That's why Paris is a mystery... she's not entertaining in any way...)

      • No really, there a ton of sex tapes going around the internet - that's not enough to make someone famous.

        That explains everything! Bill Gates posed in Teen Beat magazine. No wonder he's so famous!
      • by wandazulu (265281) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:37AM (#14409199)
        ...because if there is anyone in the industry who could be described as an oracle to what the future holds, he's it. But more than just predicting it, he directs the company to make it. The NeXT machine heralded the future back in 1988....Unix-based, security-focused OS with a great GUI and awesome development tools. Did he actually write any of it? No, but unlike another operating system (*cough* Linux) that has awesome tech but remains a bit ... unfocused ... and an operating system that seems focused on the wrong things (*cough* Windows) Steve Jobs had/has a clear vision of what he wanted, and where things should go. And frankly, whether you like him as a person or not, he seems to have been pretty much correct.

        Consider this example: The original iMac had no floppy drive and used USB ports instead of ADB. People *howled*, but time has proven him right...the iMac did more to jumpstart widespread adoption of USB than anything else (I had two PCs that had USB ports that went to the junkyard without ever having been used). On top of everything else, I'm sure companies did a good business for awhile selling ADB-to-USB converters and USB-based floppy drives.

        Jobs is the only guy who has the cajones to risk alienating everyone to push the tech world further, and the world always catches up. *That* is why he is deservedly famous.

        BTW, contrast this to Wozniak who is also decidely famous, but as the wizard who made it all work. It's too bad the two of them didn't collaborate on more things...maybe those warp drives wouldn't be so far off after all...
        • Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mrcparker (469158) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:59AM (#14409386)
          I imagine that Jobs knows pretty much where Apple is going to be in 90 days/180 days/a year. I don't think that he has such a unique vision - it is just that he has a vision. From reading the article, it seems like the guy knew exactly what he wanted from the presentation, no matter how unreasonable it seemed.

          You know, if a Linux company had half the focus of a Steve Jobs and had a clear vision they would sweep the market (k/ubuntu is getting getting better each day). So many FOSS-based companies seem very passive to me when it comes to defining their product.
        • by Johnny Mnemonic (176043) <mdinsmore.gmail@com> on Friday January 06, 2006 @01:13PM (#14409986) Homepage Journal

          Consider this example: The original iMac had no floppy drive and used USB ports instead of ADB.

          An oft cited example, but I think a more crucial one was the use of 802.11b in the original iBook. That has also spread wildly.

          One could argue that Jobs is good at spotting successful trends early, and directs his hardware development accordingly, rather than dictating the direction of the market, but who cares? Often technology you see in Macs today you see in PCs in 2 years.

          That said, there's been a number of mis-steps, too, usually the tech that was developed in house at Apple eg FireWire. Disappointing that they don't even include it on their new iPods--does make one wonder if it's going away. Fewer and fewer peripherals bother to support it at all, now, in favor of USB 2.0. BlueTooth is another example--while widely supported on Macs, it just still kinda sucks when trying to find and use a non-Apple BT product. That trend has yet to take off.

      • by yog (19073) * on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:41AM (#14409233) Homepage Journal
        Keep in mind that when Steve Jobs left Apple the first time, he went off and founded Next Computers [old-computers.com], which came out with a remarkable Unix-based GUI. He captured the public's imagination with the Next cube but made a couple of strategic errors such as initially restricting the product to the educational market. A reporter asked him how an ordinary person could acquire a Next cube and Jobs famously replied, "Enroll."

        Jobs also co-founded Pixar Animation Studios [pixar.com], the premier animation film company that has created such blockbusters as Toy Story and The Incredibles.

        Then when Jobs returned to Apple, taking over from a string of lackluster bean counter executives, he inspired the company to produce some world class products such as the iPod and the iMac. The iPod is the must have product of 2005, and the Mac laptops are at the top of their class.

        I'd say Steve Jobs is more than just a showman, though clearly he loves the limelight. Microsoft is the white bread, corporate standby that does the heavy lifting on corporate and consumer desktops but is otherwise an uninspired market follower, not a market leader.
      • by Peter Cooper (660482) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:47AM (#14409278) Homepage Journal
        Who modded the parent post up? It's totally devoid of fact.

        Steve Jobs initially became famous over twenty years ago for leading the company who developed the, then, most successful microcomputer of its generation, the Apple II. He then pushed his boundaries of fame with the whole Macintosh / 1984 commercial thing and became seen as a visionary and leader of the industry. This was no accident or coincidence.

        He then bankrolled and managed (in the business sense, rather than creatively) Pixar for many years, eventually engineering a clever IPO and became a centimillionaire in the process (and now a billionaire).

        To compare Steve Jobs to Paris Hilton is ridiculous. Jobs has put in a lot of hard work, a lot of money, and run himself ragged on his route to success.. he was no overnight sensation.
        • I think the parent means "hectomillionaire," as being a centimillionaire isn't all that exciting.

          See the list of SI prefixes here. [wikipedia.org]

      • I've heard a lot of people say that a lot of (presumably other) people hang on Steve Jobs' every word. But somehow I've never met anyone who actually did seem to hang on the words of Steve Jobs.

        You've obviously not met the right people. I can't recall if I've actually met Jobs (he certainly wouldn't know me), but I once sat two places down from him at a lunch with a small group, and have been in some relatively small audiences when he spoke, and some relatively large audiences of course. I'm generally a v
    • Actually, the Rio 500 was what put the mp3 player on the map. 279 dollars for 20 or 22 low quality songs.
    • Thus Apple gets much more "bang for buck" with their advertising by doing it this way. The article discusses how NIKE for exaple introducing something basically gets ignored. The oney and effort that Apple puts int the "show" are thus worth every cent.. multiplied by a large number.
      • Apple stuff gets ignored just as much as Nike's, it will kick off a blog storm get a story posted here (and maybe a dupe or two) and probably a link to the story on the front page on newsites. In won't be a front page story in major papers or 'top the hour' on a news show, non techie people won't be discussing it over drinks anymore than when Nike announced adding a 'powerbar' to certain shoes. The only techie storys that are normally seen on the main segments of news shows are when certain products, like t
  • Title and summary (Score:4, Informative)

    by MasterOfUniverse (812371) on Friday January 06, 2006 @10:55AM (#14408894)
    are completely different.
  • Cadbury Schweppes was a bad name to throw in there because they seem to be ubiquitous in the UK.
  • by Snamh Da Ean (916391) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:10AM (#14409004)
    It is a strange comparison because, even though revenue may be in the same ballpark figure as these other companies, they are not growing as quickly as Apple has done since it launched the iPod, and while Apple may be medium sized now, it is steadily getting larger. It is also well known to anyone aged 16-30 - how many American readers know what product M&S sells, or what its famous for.

    I also don't understand why he appears to suggest that announcements made by the CEOs of other companies are scrutinised by brokers and other analysts. It was interesting to see all the work that goes into Jobs' presentations, but I think the author of the article was over-egging the importance of these presentations by attempting to diminish the size of Apple's importance and comparing the impact of the announcements to those made by other similarly sized companies. A bit dishonest I feel
    • Also, It's hard to compare Macintosh with Nike. I'm sure that the revenues of the two companies might be the same. But Nike has a much larger market share. I Don't know very many people (if any) who have never owned a pair of Nike Shoes. On the other hand, I can probably count on my hands the number of People I know with a Mac.
    • Well, the Marks and Spencer quote may not mean much to Americans - but that quote *was* from the article - which was from the website of a UK newspaper. I do not think the UK has yet got to the point where all articles are written with an eye to being fully understood in the US, they still have hints of local flavour (and spelling ;-)
    • It is a strange comparison because, even though revenue may be in the same ballpark figure as these other companies, they are not growing as quickly as Apple has done since it launched the iPod, and while Apple may be medium sized now, it is steadily getting larger. It is also well known to anyone aged 16-30 - how many American readers know what product M&S sells, or what its famous for.

      Why would a British newspaper care whether 16-30 year old Americans know about a company mentioned in one of their ar

    • Besides, who is the big "Microsoft" in Nike's world, if Nike can be compared to Apple?
  • They forgot the most important things -- the Levis blue jeans and Gap black turtleneck sponsorships.
    • They forgot the most important things -- the Levis blue jeans and Gap black turtleneck sponsorships.

      FWIW, Steve Jobs does not shop at the GAP -- he normally wears Issey Miyake black turtlenecks. It's BIG $$$ designer wear that just happens to look like something you can much cheaper. And if you have the $$$, you can wear it without giving an air of pretension because only those in the know will have any idea that you spent that much on your clothes.

      Issey Miyake is a fashion designer whose cologne for
  • by JamminBen (939801) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:11AM (#14409018) Homepage
    Steve Jobs doesn't do anything that anyone else in his position wouldn't do. The reason he's such a personality and driving force is because he sells awesome gadgets to the exact people who want them. Jobs is like Ralph Lauren or Steven King. He gives his people (customers) what they want and has a personality to boot.

    People who use Macs picture themselves as a blend of geek and artist. A shiny, beautiful piece of equipment that is easy to use and gets the job done is like a little slice of heaven to them. So when Steve Jobs does his dog and pony show, everyone laps it up.

    The difference between Macs and clothing or books is that the personal computer industry, being the interface between pop-culture and the mysterious world of high tech, gets more press and money thrown at it than most other industries. So when there's a new marketing effort it gets picked up by more of the world than similar efforts in other industries.

    This isn't to say Steve Jobs doesn't deserve credit for being good at what he does, but I don't think he's particularly unique in his approach or methods.

  • by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:12AM (#14409026) Journal
    None of this scrupulous preparation should be a surprise, coming from Jobs. He's always had a flair for the dramatic, and he knows how to achieve it. Contrast it with the disastrous keynote given by Gil Amelio:

    There were bad omens from the beginning. Instead of having a speech laid out word for word, Amelio would speak from a detailed outline. According to Amelio, his writer (whose identity has yet to be revealed) was behind schedule and making excuses. Revisions continued to be made up until show time.

    To make matters worse, the TelePrompTer malfunctioned, garbling most of the text that had been loaded on it.

    The other presenters did not fare so well either. Nobody had told them where they would enter the stage or how to stand so the cameras could pick them up.

    Because of the malfunctioning TelePrompTer, Amelio had to ad lib the order of appearances and ended up inadvertently snubbing Muhammad Ali. What was scheduled to last for 1-1/2 hours droned on to 3 full hours, ruining the finale of Steve Wozniak appearing with Steve Jobs.

    Macworld San Francisco was a disaster, and Amelio was in the middle of it. The press had a field day with his poor performance, spawning a new term in Apple parlance, a droneathon. Amelio was embarrassed by his performance and took the blame for it. Only later was it revealed that he was largely a victim of the mistakes of others.


    Source: 500 Days at the Helm: The Rise and Fall of Gil Amelio [lowendmac.com] by Tom Hormby
    • Have you ever given a public speech? It is FAR better to speak from a detailed outline than read something word for word.

      Of course, this means you have to know what the hell you're talking about. It seems like the only serious problem was the teleprompter and lack of a stage director. There is absolutely no excuse for the lack of a physical backup for the prompter OR for a competent stage director for a coordinated presentation.
      • There's public speaking and then there's show biz. An actor doesn't memorize an outline of a script. He memorizes the script. Jobs is all show biz. He's not up there giving a speech. He performs. I guess you gotta see it with your own eyes.
      • by The Fun Guy (21791) on Friday January 06, 2006 @12:26PM (#14409621) Homepage Journal
        I've given lots of public speeches, and I've been in a number of plays, and it completely depends on the audience and the intention of what you are trying to do as to wether you should work from an outline or a script.

        If you are simply trying to convey information, then working from an outline is fine, since you can move sentences and phrases around and still deliver the same content.

        If you are trying to elicit a specific emotional response, then you *must* script it out, down to the length of the pause between phrases and when to nod your head. In theatre, a ton of time is spent on "blocking"... establishing where to stand when saying one line, when to move to another mark for the next line, wether the emotional impact of the line is better if delivered facing stage right vs. house right, etc. All of this stage business will either enhance or detract from the emotional impact of your lines.

        You simply cannot effectively manipulate the emotional response of your audience by going out there are winging it. Jobs isn't trying to simply introduce a new product - any marketroid could do that. He's trying make people fall out of their chairs with excitement at sight of the new product. A standing ovation in the room is what builds excitement, word of mouth, brand loyalty and market impact. A round of polite applause heralds a product with no lasting impact.
  • influence (Score:3, Insightful)

    by phiber9 (943697) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:14AM (#14409044) Homepage
    "...To put it another way, Apple is just bit larger than Cadbury-Schweppes and about the same size as Nike or Marks and Spencer in terms of annual sales..." Apple influences IT market as much as AMD or Intel do. Sometimes even more.
  • interesting... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cj7wilson (940286) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:15AM (#14409046)
    The things that impressed me most about the article were the apparent commitment to excellence that Steve Jobs has; His hands-on, detail-oriented, perfectionistic level of involvement; and the demi-god status he appears to receive from his employees. That's why he's so successful, IMHO.
  • the show's worth it (Score:5, Informative)

    by escay (923320) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:15AM (#14409052) Journal
    honestly a steve jobs' show is as exciting as an episode of Desperate Housewives (though no cleavage is involved) - it's not the dull drone of a corporate talk. it's quite fun to watch and i regularly watch all of his addresses - can't wait for his MacExpo keynote! no wonder a lot of work goes into it - who can forget the priceless moment where he pulled out the ipod nano out of his coin pocket in his jeans!that's good stuff...
  • Apple (Score:4, Insightful)

    by revery (456516) <charles@nOsPAM.cac2.net> on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:17AM (#14409064) Homepage
    I think describing Steve Jobs as a rock star of the business world is fairly accurate. People forget that no matter how much technology changes or how many articles talk about the evolving nature our society, people are still primarily influenced by their reactions to others as individuals. For whatever reason, Jobs captivates those around him. He demands a reaction, and it is frequently visceral. What's more, is that he is able to make it work for him instead of against him (we all knew people in high school who had, to some degree, this type of personabut for whatever reason, it was their greatest handicap). It's the kind of thing that other CEO's, though they may be more financially successful than Jobs, are frequently jealous of.

    Just my 2 cents.
    • Re:Apple (Score:3, Insightful)

      I think describing Steve Jobs as a rock star of the business world is fairly accurate.

      In the modern lexicon, maybe, but it's still annoying. The Discovery Channel was running promos for their King Henry VIII special, and some historian was calling him a rock star. Bleah...

      It's OK if once in a while something in this universe *isn't* hip, folks.

  • by mcwop (31034) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:19AM (#14409078) Homepage
    10 years ago I went to see the band Helmet [helmetmusic.com], and it appeared that they were getting on stage to play as the lights went dim. Instead they played that 12 minute Michale Jackson video (the one with teh black panther in it). The audience was very irritated, becuase not many Helmet fans probably like MJ. However, when the band got up there, and the video ended the audience went nuts. It was very effective.

    Jobs knows how to show a product to enhance the consumer's understanding. Example, I went to Sandisk's site yesterday to check out their upcoming mp3 players. The site does a horrible job letting the consumer know things like size (Apple shows the tiny Nano in someone's hand), I have to read a all the text (not that I mind reading, but the impact is not the same). Jobs, and his helpers, know how to deliver a pithy, and flashy message.

  • Infectious (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thunderpaws (199100) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:21AM (#14409091)
    When Steve Jobs speaks he shows enthusiasm for Apple and the products, which is expected of someone in his position. What makes his keynotes so notable is the way he invites the audience and the faithful to join in his enthusiasm, as if all are participants rather than customers.
  • by thatshortkid (808634) * on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:24AM (#14409105)
    funny how the guy that wrote the very pro-steve and pro-apple piece is named mike evangelist.

    can't make this stuff up......
  • by loraksus (171574) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:26AM (#14409123) Homepage
    And, as a result, they don't look like idiots when plugging in a scanner BSOD's their box in front of a couple of thousand people ;)
    That all said, even non-fanboys have to admit that there is something about an apple keynote that is a bit different than what the rest of the industry has. You don't see people actually "excited" about a Microsoft event (or really, any computer related event).
    The vast majority are actually quite boring and to be completely honest, I think the only "excited" people at these events are those getting free food, swag or the latest copy of vs.net and a xp pro CD.
    I'm not saying that the events aren't informative, and I'm not advocating that people turn release events and conventions into E3, but it would be nice if some events tried to be a bit more like apple.
    • by cirby (2599) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:56AM (#14409361)
      I do this sort of stuff for a living, and while most of the shows I do are more on the "hey gang, let's do a meeting" level, when someone's spending a couple of million bucks to fly in a few thousand folks, put them in hotels, and cram them into one ballroom, there's a very high level of expectation.

      Sure, a lot of companies have Really Dull Meetings, but some others are much like the "Jobs Model." Slick, professionally-produced presentations, lots of cool videos and music, light shows, several HDTV-level projection screens, 100 kilowatt sound systems, and expensive pro talent to help entertain the crowd between product demos.

      You also get stuff like Larry Ellison rappelling down from the ceiling of the ballroom, the head of a soft drink company crashing a golf cart through a frangible projection screen, rotating platforms for the audience (to turn them to different stages) for another soft drink company, or any of a hundred different Big Show stories.

      You also get the Big Disasters when they don't prepare right. Like the above-mentioned rotating platforms not turning when the weight of the crowd is actually on them, or a full-sized luxury car on a raft in a lake doing a quick 180 degree roll and ending up suspended under water...
  • by Dystopian Rebel (714995) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:26AM (#14409124) Journal
    And my myopia, plantar fascitis, and unibrow were cured!
  • by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@optRABB ... minus herbivore> on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:27AM (#14409128) Journal
    ...the greatest carnival barker ever. "Step right up and see the iPod... no looking behind the curtain... Step right up, get your first look at the new Intel Macintosh... No sir, no touching the merchandise unless you plan to buy..."
  • The team and I spent hundreds of hours preparing for a segment that lasted about five minutes...My team picked the best and confidently presented them to Steve. True to his reputation as a perfectionist, he hated most of them....But Steve never does the demos of the pro software; he always relies on someone on the product team more familiar with its features and operation.

    Sounds like a fun job.
  • by fak3r (917687) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:36AM (#14409194) Homepage
    Obligitory:
    • smoke
    • mirrors
    • reality distortion machine
    • black mock turtle necks
    • Steve practicing saying "It's insanely great!" and "...and it's available immediately!"
    Hey, hey, hey, I love Apple as much as the next guy, but you have to admit Steve is quite the showman (salesperson).
  • I don't own a Mac, but I've been surprised to see them used in my client's sites, which include manufacturing plants and government (city, state and fed labs). Publishing and graphics design work mainly. And it does run some major pieces of software (anything that runs Microsoft Office can claim to support the most-used business software out there), even popular tax software. I notice my kid's educational video games run on both Windows and MacOS 8.6 & up
  • Starting to change? (Score:3, Informative)

    by mbadolato (105588) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:56AM (#14409364)
    Apple Macintoshes are only rarely seen in corporate environments

    I wonder if that is starting to shift at all? I know from my own experience, our company is about 32 people or so, and I can count 10 or 11 Mac users. Not one of them is involved whatsoever in graphics or design. Most are developers, but the Sysadmin, CEO, COO, and VP of Product Development all use Macs, and the VP of Sales is a Mac user at home, but chooses a Win laptop just for compatibility sake when she's onsite @ client's offices.

    Roughly 30% of our company is Mac. And barely any support is ever needed for any of them.
  • by mpapet (761907) on Friday January 06, 2006 @12:56PM (#14409859) Homepage
    The way market share was calculated the last time I looked at the market research numbers a couple of years ago, Apple's market share for desktops and laptops was calculated against the sum total of all other windows OS brands.

    At the time Apple was #1 by a good margin in laptops and in the top-5 for desktops. Yet their market share was always referred to as "miniscule."

    I still don't understand why no one's bothered to mention this from the media side.
    • Yes and no. According to the latest figures available (3rd Quarter 2005), Apple is currently the 6th largest computer maker (after Dell, HP, Lenovo/IBM, Acer, and Fujitsu-Siemens). However, they also do have only a 2.3% market share:

      http://www.systemshootouts.org/mac_sales.html [systemshootouts.org]

      (scroll down past the 2 charts at the top)

      Now, when it comes to installed base, I believe Macs are much higher, something like 8-10% or so, though I don't have solid proof of this (I think PC Mag did a study a couple of years ago whic
      • And this is where I say the figures are spun against Apple.

        Roughly 6th is about right and I'd guess they are within a few percentage points of being 4th. So when claims about top-ten PC shipments are made by the media and research firms, Apple should be in the top-ten. They are not because they specifically exclude Apple. Intention is impossible to establish. (Where's my tinfoil hat?)

        The picture for Apple is only getting better. Now, with Longwait coming the fanboy hype is going to drown out the good wor
        • "I'd guess they are within a few percentage points of being 4th."

          Again, you're technically correct (4th place is Acer, with 4.7% vs. Apple's 2.3%), but in this case "a few percentage points" actually means that Apple would have to double their sales in order to make up that difference. I'm a major Mac advocate, and Apple is certainly kicking ass lately, but their actual market share is only just now starting to rise from it's all-time low (which was actually 2004, believe it or not). Again, however, market
  • It's all about Steve (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Geoff (968) on Friday January 06, 2006 @01:24PM (#14410051) Homepage
    A former Apple employee once told me that everyone there knew what their REAL job was -- making stuff for Steve's next demo.

    And it works. Whatever is announced, the Apple Store will be swamped with pre-orders for it, and I will again be amazed at his ability to tempt me to pull my credit card out of my wallet and click on store.apple.com. :)

    (Fortunately, I'm poor enough to resist, but I sure feel the tug!)

    Geoff
  • by UttBuggly (871776) on Friday January 06, 2006 @02:50PM (#14410746)
    I am an actual former NeXT Registered Developer. I was CEO of a software company that developed expert systems for physicians on the NeXT. We were instrumental in getting the MUMPS language ported to the NeXT.

    Steve, at the time, had a real hard-on for stuff that WASN'T another spreadsheet, word processor, etc. (although everyone loved the hell out of Lotus Improv and that was definitely Steve's baby) so we were one of the companies selected to show our stuff in San Francisco in Septmember of 1990.

    This was the event where the NeXT Dimension color card for the Cubes was introduced, along with the NeXTStation pizza-box, and of course, NeXTStep 2.0.

    We were in the building for 3 or 4 days before the big show getting our stuff working on almost hourly new builds of the OS.

    So, more than a few of us took breaks and watched Steve rehearse his presentation. Trust me, he leaves nothing to chance...nothing. His air of casualness is the result of lots or preparation and practice.

    He absolutely IS a showman, but he's also unquestionably, undeniably brilliant.

    People remember the Apple IIe and the first (1984) Mac, but forget the Lisa. That "girl" was one of the greased skids for showing Steve the door. Not because it failed, but because Steve wanted about 500 million to 1 billion to build a better machine like it...the NeXT. No, that wasn't its name...but the idea was already there. The board balked, he got the bum rush from his own company.

    NeXTStep was/is Mac OS/X. Avi Tevanian was at NeXT, he's Chief Scientist or something at Apple now. Testified at the Microsoft anti-trust trial, etc.

    Steve didn't write the MACH kernel or bolt on BSD primitives and Display PostScript to NeXTStep, but damn sure knew what people to recruit and hire to get it done. And then took them back to Apple.

    Considering that the Lisa and the seminal ideas for NeXTStep came about around 1985-86...about the time OS/2 and Windows were being created, I'd say the current state of the Mac OS and Windows shows the man ain't too stupid.

    No, I am not a Mac fanatic. I have more PC hardware than NeXT and Mac hardware. I'm pretty much agnostic on this stuff...been doing it too long to be religious about any of it these days.

    The point is that there's a whole lot to the guy doing the keynotes at MacWorld.

    Steve is cool.

  • More on Jobs' style. (Score:3, Informative)

    by dr.badass (25287) on Saturday January 07, 2006 @12:41AM (#14415058) Homepage
    Gates, Jobs, and the Zen Aesthetic [blogs.com] looks at what makes Jobs' presentations so effective, contrasting with the dismal style that comes out of Microsoft.

    Regardless of what you think of the products they are selling, or the cult of personality around Steve Jobs, I would recommend this article to anyone that ever has or ever will sit in front of PowerPoint or Keynote or Impress or who will give any presentation of any kind. The contrast is so sharp that I think everyone can learn something from it.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson

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