Was WWDC’11 the first “post-Steve keynote”?

He’s here, but this is the first post-Steve keynote.

This is what every Twitter follower of Mac uber-blogger John Gruber read during Monday’s WWDC keynote.

Quite a surprising statement — one could on the contrary argue that seing Steve back on stage, even though he is still officially on a medical leave of absence, is a supplemental affirmation of his enduring commitment to Apple.

But this is one more of several indications of his possible progressive departure:

  • in the Fortune piece Inside Apple, Adam Lashinsky wrote about the so-called Apple University, a program that Steve Jobs put Yale professor and management guru Joel Poldony in charge of. Its goal is to make business cases on Apple history for future Apple leaders — in short, to codify Steve’s management. In a way, it is reassuring that he thinks about the future of the company without him… but obviously it means he has his departure in mind already. For some time now, because the program was started in late 2008.
  • second of course is the upcoming authorized biography, iSteve: The Book of Jobs, available in March 2012. Steve has been super-secretive as Apple’s CEO, and one can wonder whether this sudden publicity is not a testament that he’s slowly accepting his (overwhelming) place in history, and stepping back as a day-to-day leader of Apple to become more of an old wise genius watching over his baby. Who knows?
  • the third is more anecdotal, but quite telling to me. If you watched carefully on Apple’s homepage, you noticed this change just as I did:
    I chose the October 2008 keynote because during that show, Steve also shared the stage, with Tim Cook and Jony Ive. But WWDC 2011 is the first time I see the other keynote participants (including recurrent ones such as Scott Forstall and Phil Schiller) being put front and center on apple.com like this. I am certain this is no coincidence — Steve Jobs really must be preparing the press/the community/the world for Apple’s future keynotes, without him as master showman.

Only time will tell, but perhaps 2012-2013 will see the departure of Steve Jobs as official Apple CEO.

 

While you wait for tomorrow’s keynote…

I am like all of you guys (I assume) eagerly awaiting for tomorrow’s WWDC keynote. The rumor mill is acting crazy and I am sure I will spend the night dreaming of iClouded skies. Until this week, Steve Jobs news have been kind of slow lately — here’s a roundup of the information I’ve collected in the past month, that some of you may have skipped:

 

  • The New Yorker did a story on the history of the computer mouse, back to Xerox PARC and the famous Steve Jobs visit that supposedly inspired Lisa then Macintosh. One of the mouse’s inventors, Malcom Galdwell, recalls what we already know, that Apple didn’t “steal” the mouse from Xerox. Unfortunately the story can only be accessed by subscribers — I didn’t subscribe just to read it. The abstract is here (not very well done). It contains interesting old sketches and pictures of prototypes, as well as quotations from the piece, such as this one:

    “I had a series of ideas that I wanted to bounce off [Jobs], and I barely got two words out of my mouth when he he said, ‘No, no, no, you’ve got to do a mouse.’ I was, like,‘What’s a mouse?’ I didn’t have a clue,” Hovey told Gladwell.

    (via Cult of Mac)

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  • We’ve talked about it earlier: the building of the extension of Pixar’s Emeryville campus, Pixar Phase II, is now over. Check it out on the excellent Pixar blog.
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  • A curious piece of trivia, some study was made to prove that Apple had actually the same effect on fanboys that a religion (or, more appropriately, a cult) on its followers:

    As discussed in the new BBC documentary “Secrets of the Superbrands”, when you put an Apple fanatic under an MRI and start mentioning iPhone 5s and iPad 3s, neuroscientists found that Apple tends to stimulate the same parts of the brain as religious imagery does in people of faith.

    No news to me.

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  • And I thought I would never be able to find new keynotes… but no, two oldies came up this past month to add up to my impressive collection. I hope you guys take time to check them out, because they’re both pretty interesting.
    First, an interesting one (and in high quality, too) from 1996, where Steve Jobs still spoke as CEO of NeXT Inc. — but already famed CEO of Pixar — at a Microsoft Developers Conference, about NeXT’s server technologies, WebObjects. In the video he is a late speaker, which is a testament to how unimportant he seemed to be. He is also very casual and humble, as depicted in a number of articles from that time (he was just coming out of his wilderness years). Watch the keynote here (via Daring Fireball).
  • The second one I just found, and on YouTube, too! it’s a casual chat Steve Jobs had with then-struggling Mac developers at the end of the 1997 WWDC! Definitely worth a look if you’re interested in Steve Jobs history. Again, it is a testament to Steve’s unchanging character and principles. He stands by the same rules now as he did then,  including the most important one: building great products. He also mentions something I knew from a 1999 interview, quoted below:

    About 10 years ago I put in a T1 to my house. I’m actually getting ready to put a 45 mg fiber to my house, because I want to find out what that will be like, because everybody’s going to have that someday. But I have a pretty sophisticated setup; whether I’m at Apple or at Pixar or at my home, I log in and my whole world shows up on any of those computers. It’s all kept on a server. So I carry none of it with me, but wherever I am, my complete world shows up, all my files. Everything. And I have high speed access to all of it. So my office is at home too. And when I’m not in meetings, my work is fundamentally on email.

    in the aforementioned video, we discover Steve’s been working in such an environment since 1990. This is thanks to NeXT’s very advanced ‘inter-personal computing’ (i.e. networking) technology. So basically Steve’s been living ‘in the cloud’ for over 20 years, while we mere mortals will probably find out  what it’s like thanks to a product that he will introduce (if rumors are to be verified) tomorrow. The advancement of NeXT’s technology still continues to amaze me.

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  • Business Insider has published a thorough interview of Apple’s first CEO, Mike Scott. Honestly I haven’t had time to read it yet, so I wo’nt comment on it, but you can be sure I will pretty soon. (via TUAW) Same goes for the Fortune article Inside Apple, which I finally got my hands on last week, but haven’t yet had time to write about.
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  • Conan O’Brien dressed as  the iLeader in a baroque fresco by Fast Company: Continue reading

About that “Back to the Mac” keynote

As I’ve stated before, this blog is not about the Mac, but solely about Steve Jobs. So I won’t go back on the details of the latest keynote’s announcements.

My only thoughts :

  • The photos of both the keynote and the new MacBook Air will all be on the new version of all about Steve Jobs (going live any day now)
  • Once again, Tim Cook has been given the “state of the Mac” part of the keynote, which used to be a Steve Jobs favorite. This is to me an indication that after Steve leaves, Tim Cook will probably handle the “business” part of Apple’s future keynotes (I guess the “new products” part will be divided between Phil Schiller and Scott Forstall… god I hope that day never happens)
  • On that Mac OS X Lion UI: if Steve Jobs’ past is any indication, it’s very likely that the future OS will not look at all like what was presented today. The UI is always the lastest thing that Steve shows in a new OS – because it’s the easiest to copy, but I guess also because it’s his favorite part.
  • Article on TUAW whose title I find funny: Can you trust a Steve Jobs email? “Nope.” because it’s true that Steve denied there would ever be a Mac AppStore a couple of months ago (although when you read it again, he denied there would be an exclusive Mac AppStore, so technically, he wasn’t lying……. yet nothing forced him to write back so it’s obvious he wanted to trump the rumor sites).