Lackluster Performance At The Keynote

by Gregory Ng Jan 10, 2006

It had all the makings of good drama. Huge iPod and iTunes music sales. Intel collaboration. Steve. But alas, it amounted to a decent amount of excitement but in a dull roar not a rabid hooping and hollering.

Steve Jobs, the master showman in his signature black turtleneck and label-less water bottle. The man who can make you hold your breath until your face turns blue with 3 simple words: “one more thing…” Today he was nothing more than a presenter. Granted it is and always has been about the products not Steve. But we have always been able to count on our fearless leader to provide the hype in the Keynote room.

In this morning’s keynote there were things that became very clear: photocasting is neat but nothing to write home about. Apple really wants people to buy .mac. All the iPod goodies were shot out of the hype cannon pre-Christmas. And Intel is a good thing.

But for the first time since I started watching these things, Steve seemed subdued. And the crowd followed suit. As he demo’ed iPhoto, he kept on pausing as to wait for applause and the good crowd (tough to please) rewarded him with utter silence. Sort of uncomfortable I must admit.

So by the time the inevitable Intel announcement came 3/4 of the way into the keynote, what normally would have been a slow crescendo to a full hysteria by this time was like blowing hot and cold.

I suspected (like most) that at least one Intel computer would be released but never in a million years did I think it would be the iMac. And then after hearing iMac, I had the anticipation that the new processor would be marked with a change in form factor. Disappointment again. Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE the iMac design but despite the huge implications internally to Macs, the external implications have been downplayed.

When comparing last year’s Keynote to this year’s we remembered the mass hysteria at the SF Apple Store trying to get your hands on a shuffle or to touch and pick up the Mac Mini. Not so this year. This year was business as usual.

Finally, Steve mentioned something very interesting at the end of the keynote. He showed a picture of the good ole days when Apple was founded in 1976. he then mentioned that he might not have the opportunity to speak to us before the anniversary on April Fool’s Day. Could this mean he is retiring? After all, Steve conducted this keynote like it was his swan song. If he does retire are you as scared Macless as I am at those implications?

Comments

  • I just watched the keynote ... agreed that Steve was not quite as enthusiastic as we are used to seeing ... he kept coughing so it might be just that he is feeling a little under the weather.

    I would imagine that the next scheduled keynote would be WWDC ... even though I am sure there will be a ‘special event’ before April ... I am sure SJ did not want to spill the beans.

    dmcleod had this to say on Jan 10, 2006 Posts: 10
  • Like the rumors pre-MacWorld, you’re looking for too much. The keynote was rather impressive in my opinion. Unfortunately, most expectations were ridiculous.

    Remember, Jobs is a recovering cancer patient. If he were to retire, I’m sure there would be an entire team put in place to replace him and ensure the continuance of Apple over a good length of time.

    breuklen had this to say on Jan 10, 2006 Posts: 31
  • dude - the new Intel PowerBook wasn’t exciting enough for you? The “as bright as a Cinema Display” comment about the new screen didn’t get your heart thumping?

    You are one jaded mac fan.

    As for no new case designs: makes all the sense in the world. If we don’t believe that Apple is spending huge time and money just to get the internals situated, then we still have the point that an exterior redesign would send a message that the Intel Macs radically different from G4/5 Macs that it may scare/confuse people.

    Nathan had this to say on Jan 11, 2006 Posts: 219
  • Jaded you are. <yoda voice>

    hmurchison had this to say on Jan 11, 2006 Posts: 145
  • You are reading FAR too much into the “may not have the opportunity to speak to you before the April 1 anniversary.”

    It simply means the next likely keynote is the WWDC conference in June, which is something that mainly developers and tech journalists attend.

    As an aside, Apple Matters is getting a lackluster, too.  Instead of insightful commentary, telling us stuff we didn’t know or that may come to pass, it’s turning into negative criticism and outlandish speculation that any seasoned MacRumors visitor knows to dismiss outright…

    mikataur had this to say on Jan 11, 2006 Posts: 19
  • Did you miss the part about the Mac book? Pretty exciting for all those who have been holding their collective breath waiting for a G5 powerbook.

    Have to agree with mikataur about this site as well.
    Seems to be on a downward slide.

    On a side note I although the MacBook Pro looks pretty spiffy and is ‘4*faster’ I doubt that is the case when running Photoshop and Studio 8 applications under the rosetta emulator.

    Would have been nice to have the pro apps to match the pro machine.

    oh and Gregory “external implications downplayed” Ng, start a Microsoft blog if the future is so bleak.

    serveblunted had this to say on Jan 11, 2006 Posts: 8
  • You are reading FAR too much into the “may not have the opportunity to speak to you before the April 1 anniversary.”

    I didn’t see the keynote, though I did follow it. Were those his exact words? If so, he is saying he won’t be speaking before the anniversary, which could mean he will speak then.

    martunibo had this to say on Jan 11, 2006 Posts: 37
  • “Remember, Jobs is a recovering cancer patient. If he were to retire, I’m sure there would be an entire team put in place to replace him and ensure the continuance of Apple over a good length of time.”

    You are kidding right?

    Design by committee?

    Here is example of design by committee: The Space Shuttle.

    No. Jobs’ talent is his unrelenting demand for style and performance and a knack for what’s cool.

    No committee can replace that.

    koreyel had this to say on Jan 11, 2006 Posts: 22
  • Maybe he’s saying there’ll be a red curtain event some time around then. That’s what I thought he meant. And I sure as heck thought he meant they are planning to celebrate the 30 years in a big way - unlike the 21st aniversary of the Mac.

    Chris Howard had this to say on Jan 11, 2006 Posts: 1209
  • Hey Chris,
    at least you are still thinking objectively and not just jumping on “whinge, whinge my expectations are incredibly unrealistic” bandwagon.
    That generally goes for James’s articles as well.
    The rest of this site I can pretty much take or leave these days.
    From one Australian mac zealot to another

    serveblunted had this to say on Jan 11, 2006 Posts: 8
  • Oh dear, did he not jump around, screaming, sweating and shouting some inane word lots of times?

    I think you’ve got the wrong Steve, there, Gregory.

    Please. Leave the stupid stage tricks to Microsoft and leave the decnt products to Apple. Steve doesn’t need to prove himself - nor does he have to look like an idiot.

    “Am I scared?”

    Ermm, there’s a lot of people on a lot of different planets at the moment. WHy do you have to be so negative?

    Andy Merrett had this to say on Jan 11, 2006 Posts: 1
  • I have yet to see the stream but will see it tonight, but

    Dang, Steve coughed and will not announce anything personally till Apple’s 30th Anniversary - IS HE ALREADY DEAD?! IS THIS JUST A PROJECTION?!

    Come on, please.

    I bet we’ll see an Intel “Mac Pro” in April, fastest Mac EVER on 30th Anniversary. Quad dual core or something, eye-pop-ping. As for the iMac not changing the external form - I guess that’s product psychology for existing Mac customers, everything stays the same, just ffffffffaster.

    Bad Beaver had this to say on Jan 11, 2006 Posts: 371
  • ooo quad dual-core would certainly be nice smile (but realistic?)

    Dell and MS will probably be the fools on april 1st!

    Emil had this to say on Jan 11, 2006 Posts: 10
  • I think he was sick.  Very sick.  Looked like a cold or flue and he was medicated.  I’ve had to do presentations when I’m feeling under the weather and its all you can do to get the words out right.

    le passant had this to say on Jan 11, 2006 Posts: 2
  • The response of the public was indeed very low. At the beginning of the speech, Steve told about the number of iPods sold. If you have been following the news then predictions were around 10 mln, later upped to 11 mln. Then came the stories of inventory and the speculation that Apple could not buy enough components. So prediction were lowered to between 7 mln and 9 mln.
    Even the highest predicted number of 11 mln was exceeded, not by just mere decimal points but by several million units to a total of 14 mln. I applauded and I was watching the delayed broadcast.
    I was amazed by the lack of response from the public. And then Steve did something that was a historic first: he disclosed Apple’s revenue for that quarter. Again: all the public did was yawn.
    I have given my share of presentations and I know it is very hard to swallow a dissapointment when there is no response for something you think is big. Unfortunately for Steve, the public remained cool. I think expectations were to be entertained, not to be informed.
    Apple is growing up with it’s line of products. New versions of existing products will always be less exciting then new products. And now, with the transition going on, is not the time to introduce something new.
    Personally, I think that we see that Apple choose a path and this speech was a confirmation that Apple is on a very good track.
    It was a good keynote.

    Eddy had this to say on Jan 11, 2006 Posts: 11
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