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Jobs Not Giving This Year's Macworld Keynote 371

Many readers including thermopile wrote in about Apple withdrawing from Macworld Expo after this year. The other bad news for Apple fans is that Steve Jobs won't be delivering the keynote in 3 weeks — we may have seen his last "one more thing." Apple VP Phil Schiller will be doing the honors. He's "an Apple executive notably lacking in Jobs's showmanship and star power," according to the Fortune blogger. Apple's press release states that "trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers." While this may be true, the keynote addresses have been a critical venue for major new product announcements. Apple's stock is taking a 6% hit in after-hours trading, possibly on concerns about Jobs's health. Reader Harry has gathered together YouTube clips from most of the Macworld keynotes Jobs given since 1997.
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Jobs Not Giving This Year's Macworld Keynote

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  • by alain94040 ( 785132 ) * on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @12:09AM (#26141665) Homepage

    I have been following Apple for more than 20 years, including stints at MacWorld and today's headline is a repeat of the mini-drama that Apple has been having with the Expo for decades. But today is different.

    Ignore the dispute about who controls MacWorld Expo's agenda. Apple feels like on top of the world (always has) and they want absolute control. But they also had found a great recipe for success. Two years ago, on the cab from the caltrain station to Moscone, the taxi driver asked us if we were there for this new "iPhone thing". The hype was just so big, the distortion field so powerful, the force was with Apple.

    Somehow, no cab driver ever asked me about Android.

    Think of the history: the iPod, the MacBook Air, the iPhone... By having someone else present the keynote this year, our collective expectations just sunk by an order of magnitude. I, for one, don't expect anything amazing this year. But on the other hand, it's only fair: even Apple can't pull off revolution after revolution, year after year. Give them a break, they are doing so much already by showing everyone how boring other products are.

    iPhone Apps review site [] looking for bilingual testers

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Si-UCP ( 1359205 )
      You assume that Apple can't announce conferences at any time other than the MacWorld expo or WWDC. Look at all the "Special Events" that Apple have been doing recently. Expect more of those in 2009. Apple have gotten so good at this thing that they can hype things up not just twice a year, but all year round.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Altus ( 1034 )

        Ill tell you this. Planning your product schedule around trade show sucks. Why do it when your the big dog and you can easily host your own events. You plan your event when the product is close to being released.

        Your right, if you can drum up the hype any time you need to, why let someone else set your schedule.

    • by tzhuge ( 1031302 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @12:39AM (#26141869)
      I'm pretty sure the reason that Jobs won't be presenting at MacWorld is that "One More Thing" at the expo will be a Cyborg Steve Jobs. It will be the most astoundingly fantastic reveal ever, and, if we're really lucky, Apple will be cutting legal department costs by equipping Cyborg Jobs with weapons (gotta make up for that 1% drop in computer sales). Awww... just imagine the smell of crackling bacon as tech journalists fry.
    • by jcr ( 53032 ) < .ta. .rcj.> on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @12:47AM (#26141921) Journal

      they want absolute control

      More like, trade shows aren't cost-effective anymore, and Apple was also getting pretty tired of someone else's schedule driving the timing of their product introductions.

      I for one, don't expect anything amazing this year.

      I do. I just don't expect them to happen only at MacWorld or WWDC.


      • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @03:36AM (#26142643) Homepage Journal

        And there are no words for how much the MWSF schedule sucks. When I realize how many employees at Apple, Adobe, Canon, and hundreds of other vendors are forced to skip Christmas vacation every year to get products and show displays ready for that horribly timed conference, it makes me want to shove my foot up IDG CEO Bob Carrigan's you-know-what. If the conference were in February, those employees would almost certainly be happier, plus it would likely cost those vendors a lot less in extra compensation to make up for keeping those folks through the holidays. If the show were in February, they might not be watching their vendor list drop like flies....

        Scheduling a trade show for the first full week in January is just plain abusive. Maybe this will get IDG to extricate their crania from their posteriors long enough to figure that out.... I won't hold my breath, though. I'd imagine they're getting a hefty discount from the Moscone Center for booking during a week that nobody in their right minds would touch with a ten meter pole.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jcr ( 53032 )

          When I realize how many employees at Apple, Adobe, Canon, and hundreds of other vendors are forced to skip Christmas vacation every year to get products and show displays ready

          When I was at Apple, we shut down between Christmas and New Year's day, and most of us who had anything to do for MWSF made sure we were ready well in advance.


          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            That was then, this is now. I personally have been asked to work through Christmas for products that were going to merely have a demo at MWSF, not even to begin shipping then. They still ostensibly have the holiday shutdown but the number of times they say "except for this project" has been rising steadily every year.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@w o r f . n et> on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @01:30AM (#26142121)

      Think of the history: the iPod, the MacBook Air, the iPhone... By having someone else present the keynote this year, our collective expectations just sunk by an order of magnitude. I, for one, don't expect anything amazing this year. But on the other hand, it's only fair: even Apple can't pull off revolution after revolution, year after year. Give them a break, they are doing so much already by showing everyone how boring other products are.

      I think this was bound to happen when Apple made the switch to Intel. Apple traditionally releases product on these big events - MacWorld, WWDC (more to the things developers want), and other big conferences. New product appears on a regular schedule, and advances could be easily plotted. This was because Apple's source hardware (e.g., PowerPC) roadmaps were quite tightly sealed, and thus, Apple could gather up momentum leading up to the event on what the next big thing was.

      But now, Intel and AMD have roadmaps known to the public way in advance. New chips, chipsets, graphics, etc., come out monthly, and there's no way Apple can wait 6 months to the next event to showcase their latest computers, using a CPU/chipset/GPU everyone else has been shipping the past 3 months. Apple can't wait for these big events to announce new product, because they happen at inconvenient times.

      Apple is large enough that it can draw a huge crowd easily, which it does with these "spotlight" meetings/keynotes. The advantage is that Apple can release product around the same time everyone else releases product. A new chipset released by Intel? Well, hold a spotlight and release the new notebooks within a month or two from the first manufacturer releasing them, before it becomes "old news."

      Apple has to release product, and they can't wait for the Next Big Expo to do it - to compete with all the other PC manufacturers now, they have to release in a timely fashion. (Think about how long it took for Apple to release Santa Rosa notebooks - everyone else had them for months!)

      Once Apple went Intel, they have to follow Intel's schedule for product releases, which won't coincide with most of the Mac Expos. Or get left behind releasing old technology, with everyone annoyed waiting for the notebooks to use the latest and greatest. It's not practical for Apple to wait - they have to release. Holding a spotlight meeting is easier than holding a random Expo (scheduled months to years in advance) to release product in a timely manner.

  • by foo fighter ( 151863 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @12:17AM (#26141703) Homepage


    Fearless Leader, why have you forsaken us?

    I promise not to bitch about the lack of firewire in the new Mac Minis, unlike my faithless ranting about the new MacBooks! Just come back.

    If I don't get my regular of RDF rays I go all wonky and think about buying crap from Dell! Or running Darwin on a home built system as a back end media server!

    Help us Steve Jobs, you're our only hope!

  • Time Article (Score:4, Interesting)

    by stoolpigeon ( 454276 ) * <bittercode@gmail> on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @12:20AM (#26141729) Homepage Journal

    This article about Job's not doing the keynote [] says the worries this is generating about his health are hurting Apple stock. Is there any other company with it's perception of viability so closely linked to a single living individual? I'm unaware of any right now. It's makes this whole thing pretty interesting. He is a human and can't live forever, regardless of how his health is right now. It seems maybe they have seen that with the earlier rumors about his health and have realized they need to start building a transition while he is still around so the company wont take as big a hit when he is gone.
    Or maybe it is all much more mundane than that - but I've never seen this type of announcement gain so much press before. It's on every MSM news outlet as well as all the tech sites.

  • Quick (Score:4, Funny)

    by The Bungi ( 221687 ) <> on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @12:28AM (#26141793) Homepage

    Somebody think up something that includes the term "beleaguered".

  • Don't worry (Score:5, Funny)

    by eclectro ( 227083 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @12:29AM (#26141801)

    That's why the imagineers invented animatronics.

  • Look, really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kc0re ( 739168 )
    We know Steve is going to die, someday. As much as we'd probably like to put him in some cryogenic container, thaw him out every few years when products start to suck ass -- we know he's going do die AT SOME POINT. Why is this blowing up to be such a freakish crazy thing? So he's turning over the keynotes to someone else!? How about he's turning THIS one over to someone else. Will he still headline his own events, that Apple throws? Probably. How about WWDC? Come on. I don't blame them for pulling
  • Hmm well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @12:35AM (#26141845) Journal

    > "trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers." While this may be true, the keynote addresses have been a critical venue for major new product announcements.

    Maybe they don't have anything.

    • Maybe not this round, maybe they have something, but they may have decided they may not always be able to have a sufficient product announcement that conveniently follows a dedicated trade show schedule. No other company off hand I can think of that has run a routine dedicated trade show in a very long time.

      Compounding their woes, in the weeks leading up to an Apple trade show, whatever announcement they are working up to is either exposed prematurely or else proves disappointing next to the rumors that sp

  • by astrosmash ( 3561 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @12:36AM (#26141855) Journal

    ... checkout this presentation from OpenStep Day, 1995 [] in which Jobs applies the famous reality distortion field not to iPods and Macs, but to Corba, OLE, Web Objects, and other Enterprisey Middleware.

    And the "One More Thing" moment? Using Netscape 1.0 to demo Web Objects and Windows NT 3.1 interoperability.

  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @12:43AM (#26141901) Homepage Journal

    ... don't be too hard on Phil. NO ONE has Steve's "showmanship and star power." At least he's kind of fun and entertaining. Should still be good. And as fun as it is to watch him Steve present, what will matter after the RDF wears off is what was announced. The only difference between Steve and Phil presenting is that with Phil, you'll notice the one secret sucky thing Apple builds into every product within 30-90 minutes instead of the customary 6-36 hours.

    Just remember to buy on the rumor, sell on the announcement, and start the framework of your "This product is the BEST THING EVER except for the (crappy battery life/DRM/Apple lock-in/no wireless)" blog entry so you can just fill in the blanks and be the first one to share your oh-so-valuable opinion with the world. Be sure to talk about how Apple is going to be out of business in 3 months because they didn't listen to you.

    In other words, just sit back and make the usual preparations and get ready to enjoy the Last Big Show.

  • Bummer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by necro81 ( 917438 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @12:44AM (#26141905) Journal
    Well, there goes AAPL's stock price. Now the thinking on Wall Street will be that Steve Jobs is going to kick the bucket at any moment.
  • by jarrettwold2002 ( 601633 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @12:56AM (#26141953)

    I mean at this point, Jobs doing the keynote has been largely symbolic. Having Schiller doing it, I could see as a sign of a succession plan taking shape. If I was on the board I would be pestering them about it. Their product strategy in core areas is more or less set on autopilot for the next few years. New versions of OS X at intervals, revamp the existing product lines, and keep a few things in the pipeline.

    So, if Jobs does take sick, and I don't think he is, it's just distributing the risk around a bit. I think people are fundamentally correct in asserting that Jobs doing unexpected anything tanks the stock for a while.

    Furthermore, much like Gates took a backseat role I could see Jobs doing the same. At a certain point you have to let go of the baby or the baby gets taken away.

    So, rather than an OMG moment, I see this as a hedging strategy against illness, significantly large drops in market share or price that would lead investors to call for Jobs' head. And really just a good idea all around.

    Or Jobs could be screwing with everyone and make himself the surprise at the keynote. I mean Schiller did introduce iChat remotely. So why not pull something similar with Jobs in Cupertino and Schiller at the con?

    Run with that idea and gets you some interesting places.

  • What year is this? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xenex ( 97062 ) * <> on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @12:59AM (#26141977) Journal

    Jobs Not Giving This Year's Macworld Keynote

    It's 2008. Steve Jobs has already delivered the keynote at Macworld 2008 [].

    Next year is 2009.

  • by MyDixieWrecked ( 548719 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @01:00AM (#26141987) Homepage Journal

    I opted out of going to Macworld this year. I'd been to every east-coast (boston/ny) macworld and keynote from 1996-2000, including the famous one where bill gates was on the giant screen to announce the apple/microsoft partnership for Word and IE. I've also been flying out to california for the san fransisco expos for the last couple of years, but after last year, I realized that the show doesn't cater hardly at all to true pro users... sure, they have pro software, like for graphics and stuff... but their developer section has been lacking since Codewarrior dropped support for the Mac, and as a Unix admin, there is almost nothing there for me anymore.

    In the last 8 years, I've found that if you drop all of the laptop cases, ipod accessories and digital camera stuff, you're left with a pitiful handful of office application (*ahem* microsoft) and minor productivity and music companies. There used to be lots of management tools vendors, high-end graphics and storage workstation suppliers and similar cool stuff... but no more.

    So, I guess I lucked out since I didn't book a flight or hotel for this year. Save $ and disappointment.

    • by jcr ( 53032 )

      as a Unix admin, there is almost nothing there for me anymore.

      There's a pretty good sysadmin track at WWDC these days, I hear. Not my bailiwick, so I haven't been to those sessions, though.


  • by calstraycat ( 320736 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @01:05AM (#26142003)

    ...and watch the stock crater tomorrow.

    Unfortunately, ever since Jobs lost significant weight as a result of his surgery (an obligatory side effect for the type of surgery he had), MacWorld keynotes have become a "Steve Jobs Death Watch" for the press. Before, during and after the keynote, more ink is spent on speculations regarding his health than the product announcements.

    I think one side benefit of Apple's abandoning MacWorld is the press can no longer turn it into a morbid event.

    • by Baricom ( 763970 )

      I believe a very large part of that can be blamed on Apple. When lawyers and the SEC are involved, the lack of a strong denial sounds like a confirmation. To my knowledge, Apple has never said "Steve is not sick--" they've only flirted with the question ("Steve's BP is 120/80") or avoided it ("We're not here to talk about Steve's health.")

      A simply-worded denial could dramatically tone down the questions, if that's their goal.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by calstraycat ( 320736 )

        I can't say that I agree with you. The "large part" of the blame lies with sensationalist journalists and stock price manipulators.

        Name one other company where people demand they to go on record regarding the health of the CEO when some band of journalists decides to perform an amateur medical diagnosis based on photographs and videos.

        Senator Bill Frist was rightly admonished for performing a "video diagnosis" of Terri Schiavo...and he has a medical school degree. Why should Apple respond when a bunch of bl

      • Lawyers and the SEC? I've heard nothing of lawyers or the SEC demanding information regarding the CEO's health.

        The only people speculating and demanding disclosure are blowhard journalists and stock market manipulators. The basis for their "concern" is purely from an ignorant and amateur medical diagnosis based on pictures and video.

        Hell, Senator Bill Frist was rightly admonished for performing a video diagnosis of Terri Shiavo and he has a medical school degree.

        Why the hell should Apple's board respond to

  • The reason that the keynotes at MacWorld have lost their importance is that Apple can attract just as much attention with their own media events. They've done several product launches that way now, and will almost certainly continue to use that method for major launches in the future. And they can reach consumers directly through the retail stores as well.
  • Strikes me, tradeshows are an expensive proposition for the computer industry with the Internet abound. I might help the little guy - but - then again you're only able to 'show' your product to people willing to pay to visit the show. I see the only practical use of tradeshows now is if you're selling specific products where you really need to talk to your customer ( e.g. a retail buyer) - cart parts, floor tile and carpets, fitness equipment, make up. With these are the sorts of things, the Internet hasn't

  • by actionbastard ( 1206160 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @01:23AM (#26142081)
    From a marketing perspective. Apple has always introduced new products at MacWorld and WWDC. Since these events happen twice yearly it has limited Apple's product introduction cycles to predictable times. Because of this schedule, saavy buyers -as well as the people they recommend to- have held off on purchases to see what 'Steve will intro at MacWorld/WWDC'. This causes Apple's sales to take a hit prior to the shows and probably leaves them with an awful lot of unsold inventory at the end of the quarter preceding the show. Now they can adopt a more fluid product intro cycle that won't hit the bottom line so hard.
    I'm sure Steve -or one of his handpicked henchmen- will keynote at WWDC to make the fanbois happy. As to his retirement, if I was in his place I'd be thinking of the Gates strategy to ease myself out of the business. After all, he's as human as the rest of you.
  • It's true. (Score:5, Funny)

    by puppyfox ( 833883 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @01:24AM (#26142093)

    Steve Jobs doesn't care about Mac people.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @03:17AM (#26142567) Homepage

    Apple doesn't need Macworld because Apple doesn't need fanboys any more.

    The Apple fanboy crowd is totally irrelevant to the iPod/iPhone line - those are mass-market consumer products. The laptop product line is aimed more at the status-conscious crowd. Neither market is the Macworld demographic.

  • It's a gong show (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sentry21 ( 8183 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @03:37AM (#26142647) Journal

    I'm going to guess that Apple is backing out of Macworld SF because it's so poorly run that no one wants to go. $20k for a table? sure. five 30" Cinema displays 'go missing' from the loading dock? sorry, not our fault, not our problem. Need a new outlet? You have to hire one of our electricians. How many hours do you want him for? oh, we don't know how long it'll take, you have to figure that out yourself.

    The company that runs Macworld runs it half-assed, they don't care about attendees because they know they're the only game in town and people will pay regardless, and they don't care about vendors, because again, you need the exposure or your competitor is going to get it first.

    If we're lucky, Macworld will die off and be replaced with something better.

  • The Inetbook (Score:3, Interesting)

    by johnsie ( 1158363 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @06:12AM (#26143297)
    no doubt next year will be the year of the Inetbook. A little white netbook that everyone can carry around with them. Oh wait they already exist as eeepc's et al, but this will be the first one with MacOS and will be super trendy. They will revolutionise portable computing
  • by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @06:25AM (#26143341)

    He's "an Apple executive notably lacking in Jobs's showmanship and star power," according to the Fortune blogger.

    Nonsense! Behold and rejoice! The era of Schillermania begins! Phil! Phil! Phil! Phil! Phil! Woooooooooot!

  • by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @08:56AM (#26143947)

    that people going to MacWorld will be without Jobs?

  • by twasserman ( 878174 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @11:23AM (#26145499)
    When I was a vendor back in the Dark Ages of the 20th century, I had very mixed feelings about trade shows. It took a lot of people, time, and money to prepare for a show and then be present for the duration. Most of the people who came by our booth were tire-kickers at best, and we developed the theory that anyone who took our giveaway (candy, etc.) first wasn't really a prospect. On the plus side, we came away from almost every show with enough good leads to justify our expenses. Our marketing and sales guys would screen the leads and follow up with the best prospects. A few of our bigger customers would never have found us had we not shown up at these shows.

    With so much information available online, and with the ability to purchase things with just a few mouse clicks, why would I go to such a trade show today? For me, that's easy.

    • It's a great way to discover new companies and products, often hiding in the corner of the show floor or as an adjunct to a larger vendor.
    • It's often valuable to get your hands on a product to see if it is well made and usable. I recently went through a lot of hassle with Dell when I bought and subsequently returned the Inspiron Mini 9 (Ubuntu version) because of the tiny and unusable keyboard.
    • If you expect that the product you are seeking will be critical to your business over time, it's valuable to build a relationship with the vendor. A major trade show is often the best chance to meet their senior people and decide if you want to invite them to make a sales call.

    So I will once again show up at Macworld SF and will hope that IDC will find it profitable to continue running the show. That gives companies the chance to show their stuff rather than struggling to get their product stocked and displayed by the Apple retail store or other merchants (who show only a tiny percentage of what's available out there). I'm likely to show up at future Macworlds, too, since my purpose for attending isn't to see Apple's products, but to see everything else.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.