Apple’s most recent non-Steve Jobs event was a show ‘n tell devoted to iPhone OS 3.0, due this summer; new features, new API’s for software developers, cool new stuff.
What struck me most about the event, which highlighted all the wonderful new features of the soon-to-be latest and greatest iPhone OS, was… new iPhone features. Only later did I realize that hardly anyone made mention of what was really missing. Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Normally, such events find me browsing through different web sites in real time trying to glean little tidbits of what’s happening during an Apple live event to which I was not invited.
I’ve been to Macworld events but never had Apple invite me to Cupertino for a show. Pity me. Engadget’s live running commentary was the best view online of Apple’s iPhone 3.0 party.
Later in the day I watched the download video and I was impressed by two things. The first, of course, is the exciting new features of iPhone 3.0, making it even more of a Mac in your pocket.
Engadget finished their live coverage by reporting on Apple executives who stuck around after the event and asked questions of the audience. I hoped that segment would be in the Apple streaming video later. It was not. I was disappointed.
Then it struck me. Uh, what’s missing, Babs? No Steve Jobs. No mention of Steve Jobs. No one predicted Apple’s demise after the tech execs did their show ‘n tell routines. No one pined for the good old days.
It was all about the product, the developers, and the fun customers would have with new features.
If any of the dozen sites I visited during the live presentation of iPhone OS 3.0 mentioned Steve Jobs, I didn’t pick up on it. Is it even important? The answer is yes, and for a variety of reasons.
First, Steve Jobs’ impact on the company he helped to start over 30 years ago cannot be underestimated. But life goes on. Jobs is taking a much-needed leave of absence, and, guess what? Apple keeps on keeping on.
Second, the focus of Macworld in January was partly, “Where’s Steve?”, partly new products, and partly how Veep Phil Schiller performed on stage. We know why Steve is not there. The new products were expected. Phil Schiller did a decent presentation.
Finally, ultimately, it’s all about the products—not Steve Jobs. Apple’s competent executive geek crew kept the pace lively, the details light, and didn’t embarrass themselves or the company. And, for the most part, no one was worried about Steve Jobs’ absence.
No one was outside the Cupertino campus or the Town Hall raised a banner that said, “Free Steve!” The focus of the show inside was totally on Apple’s products and features and the future.
Interestingly, I didn’t even think about the fact that Steve Jobs wasn’t there to give the presentation. Though we wish Steve well, though we want him back, his absence at this event was a good thing for Apple.
The company’s stock is back over $100 again and all is right with the world. Except for two things.
The first is Apple and the so-called netbook (cheap, plastic, Windows and Linux PCs) category of products. The second is, what product will Apple produce that falls between the iPhone and iPod touch and Mac OS X and the MacBook?
My guess is that we’ll see a multi-touch screen, tablet-like “pad” before the end of the year. The question is, “Will it run iPhone OS 3.0, or Mac OS X Snow Leopard?”