Steve Jobs presents the iPhone
about this a couple of days ago, but I wanted to talk about it this morning: according to Apple
, 2009 is slated to be their last Macworld and Steve Jobs will not
be giving the keynote speech.
Not to sound like Tom Daschle, but this saddens me. This saddens me because Steve is such a great presenter. I think it's a shame that Macworld isn't going to end with one last bang of a presentation from Jobs. In the short time that I've been an Apple fan--starting with the purchase
last year when Leopard debuted--I've plugged into the Apple PR machine, especially Jobs' presentations. He comes out on stage prepared. He knows his presentation forwards and backwards never guessing what the next slide might be. I wouldn't go so far to say he's a great orator--it's not like he's giving an impromptu speech--but his presentations are always electric and the viewer gets the sense that he's having as much fun presenting as the audience is watching.
Case in point--Macworld 2008
. If memory serves me right, this is the first iSteve presentation I've watched start to finish. I remember reading Endgadget's liveblog
from the presentation while at work and couldn't wait to get home to watch it for myself. I knew what was coming: Time Machine, Apple TV Take 2 and Mac Book Air.
There are three moments that especially stick out to me from the speech: showing the studios that Apple was working with to make movie rentals possible, admitting to Apple's failure to get digital content on widescreen TVs and the introduction of the Mac Boook Air.
We've gotten the participation of some great studios. Touchstone Pictures, Mirmax, MGM, Lions' Gate and New Line Cinema.
Oh, and by the way... these six too.
When that slide flipped down to reveal the logos of the Big Boys there was thunderous applause.
The showmanship was phenomenal. Yeah, Apple had dealt with the studios in question before and Amazon had beat Apple to the punch when it came to making rentable video content available online. But the fact that Apple had worked through the massive amount or red tape it takes to make a partnership like this happen was realized at once.
I'd like to say all of us have tried. We have, Microsoft, Amazon, TiVo, VuDu, Netflix, Blockbuster -- we've all tried to figure out how to get movies over the net onto the TV. We've ALL missed. No one's succeeded yet. We tried with Apple TV -- it was designed to be an accessory for iTunes and your computer. But that's not what people wanted.
We learned what people wanted was about movies. Movies. Movies. We weren't delivering that.
No computer is required
We're back with Apple TV Take 2. It still syncs beautifully to your computer, but no computer is required.
The final moment of note was when Steve introduced the Mac Book Air. At first, everyone must have thought he was joking when he said that the laptop would fit into a manilla envelope. In fact, when he took the Air out of the envelope and displayed the notebook, there was a muted gasp. People couldn't believe their eyes! Of course, when Steve did the comparison to the Sony TZ...
The thickest part of the Mac Book Air is still thinner than the thinnest of the TZ series.
(To see the full Keynote speech from Macworld 2008, Click Here)
I just don't get why Apple doesn't want to put their best foot forward and "give 'em something to talk about."
Of course, some have speculated that this is in relation to Job's health. I don't think so. If this were about his health, we would have had 503 redundant news stories by now about how one of the most successful CEOs in the world was terminally ill.
Apple is reaching more people in more ways than ever before, so like many companies, trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers. The increasing popularity of Apple’s Retail Stores, which more than 3.5 million people visit every week, and the Apple.com website enable Apple to directly reach more than a hundred million customers around the world in innovative new ways.
I'm not so sure.
I don't doubt that Apple's retail stores and their website are their lifeline. But if Apple doesn't continue to have press events--even if it's on the scale of the Spotlight turns to Notebooks
--then I think that (to use a timely reference) it will be a bag of hurt
. Apple has gained a lot of attention in recent years by having big press events where they release their new products because of all the speculation and anticipation of what will be announced, what it will look like, how it will work, what it will look like etc.
And to not have Steve give the keynote next year if he is in decent health is a mistake. There's just something about being able to say goodbye or announce that the company is going in a different direction and I think that there's only one person qualified to give that announcement: Steve Jobs. This is a scary new epoch that Apple is starting and we need our familiar bus driver to take us to that next place. The benevolent dictator as it were. We need iSteve.