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Has Steve Jobs Lost His Magic? 432

Posted by Zonk
from the get-more-pixie-dust dept.
TimAbdulla writes to mention a Wired article wondering if Steve Jobs has lost his magic? The keynote yesterday, author Leander Kahney says, was the most uninspiring he's yet seen out of the usually charismatic man. Accompanied by other folks from within the company, Kahney wonders what lackluster showings like this will mean for the company after Jobs steps down. From the article: "Looking very thin, almost gaunt, Jobs used the 90-minute presentation to introduce a new desktop Mac and preview the next version of Apple's operating system, code-named Leopard. The sneak preview of Leopard was underwhelming. For what seemed an interminable time, Jobs and Co. showed off one yawn after another. There's no way I can get excited about virtual desktops or a new service that turns highlighted text into a 'to do' item. Oooo."
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Has Steve Jobs Lost His Magic?

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  • Translation (Score:3, Funny)

    by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:17AM (#15866278)
    I want an iPhone! Gimme gimme gimme gimme now!!!!!
    • by jmp_nyc (895404) * on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:56AM (#15866769)
      The event is called the Apple World Wide Developers Conference.

      Steve Jobs talked about the new version of the OS and new high end boxes. These are the products that will most directly impact the lives and work of those who develop software for Apple systems. This conference has never been about targetting consumers. It's all about things that matter to developers.

      The next version of the iPod, the next revision of the iMac and laptops, as well as any other devices Apple has up its sleeve (iPhone, Tivo-esque Mac Mini settop box, tablet, etc.) are all consumer focused items. Anything Apple wants to release to consumers will be released a little closer to the holiday season, making it harder for imitators to be able to produce knockoffs in time for Christmas. Anyone who thought they'd see an iPhone, new iPod, or any other strictly consumer-centric item at WWDC has put their desire for new gadgets ahead of Apple's desire to maximize its profits. That said, stay tuned for a product announcement sometime before October with Apple's slate of holiday season offerings.
      -JMP
      • by ericdano (113424) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:02PM (#15866827) Homepage
        Exactly. Why NOT have the people within the company, who deserve some spotlight time, talk about the things THEY do in the company.

        Basically, I think the Wired article is doing a Dvorak, and inciting Mac users to go to the site. It's much ado about nothing.
        • RTFA? (Score:5, Funny)

          by JonTurner (178845) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @03:01PM (#15868619) Journal
          >>Basically, I think the Wired article is doing a Dvorak, and inciting Mac users to go to the site. It's much ado about nothing.

          Not me! In proud /. tradition, I didn't bother to read the article and instead immediately jumped to a prior-held conclusion based on emotion. I sure showed them who's boss!
      • by Dhrakar (32366) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @01:00PM (#15867504)
        It's also important to remember that the keynote is just 90 minutes out of a week-long conference. Jobs' role in the keynote is to get developers excited about all of the other 120 (or so) sessions and materials. His keynote sets the tone and the emphasis for the remainder of the week. I remember very specifically lots of really cool stuff that was discussed in the 2004 WWDC in the sessions. Much of it was alluded to during the keynote but, since it was under NDA, never really made it out into the wild. Really, I think that folks like Leander need to remember that the WWDC keynote is not intended to stand on its own -- it is an intro to the conference.
      • by Chanc_Gorkon (94133) <gorkon AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @01:02PM (#15867523)
        THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

        I think the "problem" is that some people are looking for the next significant advance that i s AMAZING. Well, the iPod itself wasn't that amazing when it came out. What is more amazing is people bought em. Every release form Apple is not going to be awe inspiring or even that exciting. Personally what EVERYONE missed is that Apple pulled off the fastest platform switch EVER. Less then ONE YEAR after the announcement, other then repaired machines or refurbs, all new equipment coming from Apple are now running on the Intel platform. That is significant! Anyway, the new hardware kicks ass in my opinion. I probably will never have one.
      • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @01:30PM (#15867835) Homepage
        Developers Developers Developers Developers

        Woooo!!

        I love this company!

        </sweat>

        Chair.Throw()
    • Re:Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:18PM (#15867016)

      This is more proof that the rumor sites are Apple's worst enemy. They hype things up, even though Apple purposely keeps quiet.

      The things that were demoed were demoed because they pertain to developers who will need to interface with the new APIs and test for compatibility with their existing apps. For example:

      • Time Machine has APIs that applications will need to talk to for it to support their documents.
      • Mail Notes utilizes a new system-wide To-do service in OS X Leopard that all apps will be able to access.
      • I can imagine some apps needing some testing to make sure they don't go all wonky when the user is switching across virtual desktops (for instance, I wonder how Yojimbo's side tab will behave).
      • CoreAnimation, XCode 3.0, and DashCode are a given.

      The only thing I can't think of pertaining to devs is iChat, but I'm sure there's a reason they demoed it now. Also, did anyone notice it wasn't using brushed metal anymore? Straight Aqua.

      • Re:Translation (Score:3, Interesting)

        by XxtraLarGe (551297)
        The only thing I can't think of pertaining to devs is iChat, but I'm sure there's a reason they demoed it now.

        I thought there was a chat API that you can incorporate into your apps? That would certainly be of interest to developers.
      • Re:Translation (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Aqua OS X (458522) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @01:45PM (#15867974)
        Well iChat can now display keynote / powerpoint slides, and can remote control desktops like VNC. This is a fairly useful dev tool in combination with audio and or video conferencing.

        It'll be quite nice to use this as a tool to show and illustrate specification documents, builds of software, etc.

        Yet, this will only be handy if Apple develops a Windows and a Tiger client. If it only works with other Leopard users... forget it.
  • Poor Apple. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DirePickle (796986)
    I guess useful features just aren't as sexy as a New Brushed Metal Look, or a Genie Effect.
    • Re:Poor Apple. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:03PM (#15866845) Homepage

      Yes, in fact, when you look at what's come out of the WWDC, there are some good, solid improvements. Leopard sounds to me like it'll be a worthwhile upgrade, Xcode 3 sounds like it has some improvements that I, not being a developer, won't fully appreciate. And the Mac Pros came out, which is a pretty big deal. It means Apple has a full Intel line-up, and the MacPro looks to be a speed demon at a very competitive price.

      And let's not forget that Apple just announced the Intel transition one year ago. The first Intel-based Macintoshes were releases a little over six months ago. Apple is a company in rapid transition and I'm sure it's a lot for them to deal with, and as their position solidifies, they shouldn't be making as many total-redesigns and huge changes all the time. OSX is becoming a more mature OS, and so the improvements should have fewer huge leaps and more incremental shifts. The should be continuing to fine-tune under the hood. The should be refining their UI instead of redesigning from scratch.

      I just don't see that there's anything to complain about. They'll release some new hardware designs in the next year, most likely. I think that a phone and a media-center device may well be on the horizon-- now that they've finished the Intel transition and they're on-track to release the next version of the OS, I think their R&D may become more and more focussed on new devices and the next-big-thing after the iPod.

      • Clear indication someone doesn't know design:
        "It took you that long just to do that? Thats simple."

        ---------
        They didn't show their best stuff because MS would copy them, if you did not notice they made sure to point that out to you
        Many refinements were quite good-- virtual desktops is not new, but their way is the best UI for virtual desktops I have ever seen. Not every idea was mind blowing, but their UI design and cost (bundled free) can't be beat.
        Time machine is the best version control UI I've seen. my
  • illness (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kris_lang (466170) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:18AM (#15866289)
    maybe it's a recurrence of illness?

    Didn't he have surgery for a tumor?
  • by unity100 (970058) * on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:19AM (#15866296) Homepage Journal
    about new stuff ? new technology ?

    Are there really people whose heartbeat rises when some new tech is introduced ? Wasnt that a thing that is of the long-gone 70s-80s now ? Dont we just use something if we find it useful and dont use, if we dont, and thats that ?
    • by fohat (168135) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:31AM (#15866444) Homepage
      You must be new here?
    • No new features?

      How about Time Machine? This is a very user friendly backup concept. Imagine a normal user performing backups on Windows. How hard is it to save off apps that rewrite 1,000 entries in your registry? Heck your average user has no idea where to find and backup his e-mail:

      If you're using Outlook, they're in: C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

      If you're using Outlook Express, they're in: C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\
    • Are you serious? Of course we exist. $450 cell phones like the Sony k800 wouldn't exist without people like us. (I just bought one ... SO can't wait for it to arrive.)

      It's new enough that there aren't many user reviews, and yet I just bought one on the specs. Because I -must- have it. It's new, it's neat, and it's MINE!

      It's the same with OS features. I switched to Linux for the features, not more than 6 months ago. I still keep WinXP for some of my recalcitrant games, but KDE is my desktop now. (Ya
    • by hackstraw (262471) * on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:06PM (#15866885)
      Are there really people whose heartbeat rises when some new tech is introduced ?

      Yes. Although, the drama is slowing down.

      People's heartbeat rises when some new cars are introduced. Cars are pretty common and standard now, but there are still times when new models and/or features are introduced and people go nuts.

      I used to go nuts when every beta release of Netscape came out. I would wake up early in the morning and download it from a california server from the east coast so I could get into the FTP server and to get a good transfer rate. Now, I just use the default browser that comes with my OS, and when an update or feature is added, and thats few and far between, I say, wow, thats nice, why did it take them so long?

      Now, this slashdot drama about Steve Jobs is probably sensationalized a bit, but as far as desktop computing goes, Apple has it down. I've used kazillions of desktop GUI environments, and I will say that the OS X environment at least wins because it annoys me the least. I've used KDE, Gnome, OL(V)WM, CDE, Windows 3.1->XP, FVWM, TWM, Afterstep, Window Maker, Apple //s, Macs from 84-present, and I'm sure a few others. But as any industry matures, the number of choices diminishes, and the real differences between them are not that big of a difference.

      Personally, I'm glad that reboots and crashes are not an integral part of computer usage. I see that the computer market may stagnate for a while, and then, like cars today, there may be a new uprising where there are other options available to fit ones personality and fashion interests, but for the most part, computers, like cars, are just tools. Pretty much a dime a dozen, but if you want to impress your friends and enemies, you can get a more fancy, newer, niche computer, and like a car, your friends will say, "Ooh, thats cool", and your enemies will say "He just got that to compensate for _____", and yeah, both will be right :)

  • by Kaellenn (540133) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:19AM (#15866298) Homepage
    Don't I read this exact same article following every one of Steve Jobs' keynote speeches?

    Has he "lost the magic" or is it just impossible for any man or any company to live up to the incredible hype the technology media puts on Apple and Jobs?
    • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:37AM (#15866526)
      I think you're right, but I also think that this is a little more vitriolic than previous articles on how Apple launches don't excite anymore. Yes, there is no new iPod (did anyone see that coming when it was announced anyway?). Yes, there is no new Mac like product, and we won't see advertising to match it either. But is that really surprising? Do these people really expect that Apple will release every year a new, ground breaking product? Is every conference going to be life-changing? Of course not. Yet judging from the article, that seems to be exactly what's expected.

      You know, to me, this sounds simply like this specific journalist drank too much of his own kool-aid, and is disappointed that Apple and Jobs don't live up to the hype that he probably created himself in earlier articles. And now he is frustrated, and vents his frustration in a meaningless articles. Kinda reminds me of how the Spice girls fell. First everyone loved them. Then, suddenly everyone hated them, even though their music really hadn't changed. I think the same thing might happen to Apple and Jobs if they make even minor missteps. Everyone will be so happy to make some new predictions that they'll be announcing the emperor's nakedness even before the emperor is on the street.

      Personally, I'll just enjoy what Apple is doing so far. The iPod is great, and while I'd love the full-screen iPod if it ever comes to pass, I'm happy to wait for it. Same with a MacBook that doesn't burn and can play Spore.
      • Reference the Spice Girls?? what the hell?!
      • by kerry-buckley (647774) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:17PM (#15866993)
        Do these people really expect that Apple will release every year a new, ground breaking product?
        Especially when in this particular year they've managed to move their entire product line to a completely different CPU architecture. Now that's done, I expect they're going to have more time for the one more things that really get people excited.
      • by binary paladin (684759) <binarypaladinNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @01:12PM (#15867664)
        Yeah, this dude's a jackass.

        I think the main problem is that the Intel announcement last year was a huge announcement. However, being a developer's conference it was the most appropriate time, place and crowd to make that announcement since they're the ones that were really going to have to deal with the transition. That simple.

        They're not going to top the Intel announcement any time soon for pure shock value. It just ain't happening. Not because Apple is out of cool stuff, but because changing architectures every year would be absolute madness and nothing short of that is gonna get people freaking out like the Intel switch.

        However, since it was a developer's conference I was also hoping for them to bump the MacBook Pros up to Core 2 Duos. Virtual desktops make me happy though. (Woohoo!) And frankly, the longer they wait to announce the update to Core 2 Duo (within reason anyway) the longer I have before I shell out more money on something I really don't *need.*
    • by jellomizer (103300) * on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:27PM (#15867109)
      Production is off pace for Apple. In their Mad Rush to move everything to Intel, including their OS (For production). A lot of resources were diverted to Redevelop their product line. Noramlly these changes are paced out much more slowly so you can get a Big thing every keynote. PowerBook/MacBook Pro, iBook/MacBook, MacMini, iMac, PowerMac/MacPro, XServe. Then a bunch of Ipod updates and a Major OS once a year/Year in a half. This normally happends in a 3 year cycle. With about 3 New OS happening (at each WWCD) and a new iPOD at MacWorld, Mixed with some new software from Apple and 3rd party companies...
      But 2006 Was a 2/3 of a year of Major Macs upgrades. That is a lot of work, and there was no supprise about it. Leapord needed to be set aside and the Demo is of a beta version that is not to be released for almost a year, they say it is Top Secrete, but in truth it is probably not at Keynote Presentation level yet. Most the application teams have been working to make all their apps Universal Binary. Not much time for massive exterior case redesign, new software, or Highly inovative stuff that can make the keynote great.
      I bet Apple is extreamly greatful that Long^H^H^H^HVista has been delayed so many times, It gave Apple a change to do a Major undertaking, and still come out ahead of Microsoft. With rumor sites giving more and more hype on what can come up with next, people are expecting apple to come up with the impossible. Heck I still want my holographic display iMac.
  • thin and gaunt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wardk (3037) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:20AM (#15866303) Journal
    didn't/doesn't Jobs have a health issue he's dealing with? that could explain his appearance.

    it's too bad he didn't have a flying mokey to release for the gawkers wanting a mac-gasm. guess we'll just have to live with a reliable, stable system.
  • by thogard (43403) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:21AM (#15866315) Homepage
    Doesn't this follow his trend for last quarter century? When he has to prove something to the board or other people in the company he can pull off some impressive stuff. Once he is crowned king of the company, his performance slips. He's done this with apple how many times? And there is a chain of other companies he has also done it with. I'm guessing the next cool stuff he does will be with Disney since he sill has to prove himself there.
    • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:41AM (#15866580)
      Define performance. I think that if you look at the actual numbers, what people don't realize is that you can't have 30%-100% growth all the time. At some point, Jobs will have turned the company around, and it will slip back to more reasonable, single-digit growth rates. And there is nothing wrong with that.

      I've seen this with a number of companies. People start to believe that a temporary blip, like the introduction of the iPod and Apple's subsequent explosive growth in revenue, is forever. Then they get pissed when they find out it isn't, and blame it on obvious incompetence by management. Instead, the problem lies strictly with vastly exaggerated expectations. Remember the little blurb about past performance not predicting future performance? It's there for a reason.
  • by Nanite (220404) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:21AM (#15866318)
    One of the hardest working Companies in the computer industry, trying to make your experience genuinely better, and some people still aren't impressed. Go wait with baited breath about what Dell is doing if you're that underwhelmed. The lines aren't nearly as long!

    • by thelost (808451) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:30AM (#15866441) Journal
      unfortunately when you do something well you rarely get praise for it, people generally say 'well thats great, so what's next'. Peoples expectations of Apple are so high these days that when Jobs doesn't pull a full formed iBaby out of his ass they cry fowl.

      Personally I did find his key-speech lacking, but I just think that they were being cautious because they are waiting to release the big guns next spring. I personally think it will have something to do with making sure Vista comes out stillborn, but that's just my take.

      yeah, nice imagery huh.
  • by +Majere+ (178506) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:21AM (#15866327)
    The company can't come out with an awesome new toy every 3-6 months. Steve and Co. just had nothing to talk about, and anyways it's the WWDC. It's for developers and there were tons of new developer centric stuff Obj-C 2.0, XCode 3.0, a preview of Leopard (which I think the big things are still be held close to their chest, don't want to promise stuff like Vista and just have it trimmed every month). Wait til near Christmas, because you know there will be a new iPod or something for the masses to drool over.
  • Consider the recasting of things like the Darwin/kernel source back to something similar to OSS, the virtualization bits, easier to use Leopard, and so on.

    Jobs isn't the techno leader in the industry, just like Gates isn't (he's the best follower).

    The innovation that comes from Apple happens in fits and spurts, mostly to augment the fall buying season. I think there's more up their sleeves.

    And so, a yawner from Jobs is insignificant.
  • Apple wants to make money not toys, Duh.

    Mac addicts need to remember that as their obession continues to go mainstream it's going to loose some of that "cool" in exchange for some of that "dependable, useful, ruggeded, trustworthy" crap.

    -GiH

  • by teamhasnoi (554944) <teamhasnoiNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:22AM (#15866338) Homepage Journal
    Steve isn't going to waste exciting things on Developers for pete's sake - he's saving the insta-boner stuff for the Consumers. Excite Developers too much and you end up with a music video of a sweaty fat guy, or Kai's Power Tools.

    I think we can all agree we don't want either.

  • by mccalli (323026) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:22AM (#15866341) Homepage
    It's the developer's conference, not the consumer "Let's show shiny things" conference or special event. Some of the new stuff would be interesting only to devs, and I imagine some new Apple toys were deliberately not presented in this forum.

    Cheers,
    Ian

  • Lost his magic? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by C3c6e6 (766943)
    Well, O.K., this year's Keynote was not as spectacular as it used to be, but then again, it's just a business presentation!

    The Wired article reads like it's a review for a theatre play or a movie screening. In my opinion, if you're the CEO of an multinational computer company and people are talking about your latest presentation this way, you definitely haven't lost your magic.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:23AM (#15866348)
    Hey, did you ever see a MS presentation? It's usually just a bunch of "gee, what else did you copy this time?" yawns.

    Quite frankly, why must every presentation of Apple be a revelation, while it's quite ok that the rest of the industry shows us what we already knew and loved from free systems? I'm the last person to jump onto the Apple hype (I refuse to buy any of the pricy designer stuff that does essentially what my low cost and just as good stuff does), but I don't consider it fair to expect Apple to reinvent the wheel and make everyone go "ohhhh" in awe while it's quite acceptable that competitors do bland presentations routinely and it's ok.
    • by Millenniumman (924859) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:39AM (#15866551)
      Microsoft presentations boring? What is boring about seeing a billionaire jump around and scream on stage? Or shout your job title fourteen times?

      And as far as Apple being "pricy designer stuff that does the same thing as cheap stuff", it is not. Yes, you can get the same functionality out of them, but you can also get the same functionality out of a luxury car and a bicycle. Mac OS X provides an intuitive interface that makes it easy to do what you want. Beyond that, the Jobs's claim about Dell being $1000 more is correct.
  • MacOS 8.6 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lymond01 (314120)
    I remember when 8.6 came out. He toted it as a "Whole New Macintosh!" when, to most users, it just meant that, when you viewed the contents of a folder, the rows alternated colors for easier reading.

    I'd rather be underwhelmed and content, than overwhelmed, just to fall farther down.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:24AM (#15866361)
    Maybe it was kinda dull to the author because it was a developers conference. From TFA, the author didn't understand the applause on speed improvements and the technical under-the-hood wizardry. As a developer, you get why that was important and you get excited about it. I guess its the difference between being a journalist and being an engineer/computer scientist. We actually get excited about the geeky things.

  • Granted, keynotes are a major showplace for Steve Jobs, and he puts a lot of work into them, sometimes that work doesn't come off, or he's just not feeling well. (Or the products are boring, no matter what he says about them). That doesn't mean the magic is gone, it just means that it's on vacation, having a drink with a little umbrella in it.
  • by defile (1059) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:25AM (#15866368) Homepage Journal

    I wondered if Jobs, who was treated for cancer last year, was sick. Was he sharing presentation duties to save energy? When I saw Jobs introducing the iPod Hi-Fi at Apple's headquarters in late February, about five months ago, it looked to me like he was tiring quickly and was glad to get it over.

    Gosh, I wonder if his fight with cancer has anything to do with him feeling sick.

    Way to ignore pertinent facts to make a story.

  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:25AM (#15866372)

    Who?

    I know this has been asked many times before, but at what point did the opinion of dumbarses on blogs become "news"?

    (Yeah, I know there's a lot of technical wizardry under the hood, but that's for the geeks).

    What part of "developer's conference" did you not understand, dickhead?

    Apple's head of marketing, Phil Schiller, is the most relaxed of the bunch and has his own cuddly charm.

    Hey, I'm as infected by Shillermania as the next Machead, but cuddly?

    The whole article reads like a MySpace posting by a 14 year old girl disappointed by the first experience with her latest 40 year old beau.

    • by DuncanE (35734) * on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:32AM (#15866465) Homepage
      Man.. despite being totally correct you are gonna get modded six feet under, but I think I have a new fav slashdot quote ;-)

      "The whole article reads like a MySpace posting by a 14 year old girl disappointed by the first experience with her latest 40 year old beau."
    • by tgeller (10260) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:40AM (#15866559) Homepage
      This "dumbarse" with a blog has been writing professionally, full-time, about the Mac for over ten years. I sat a few cubicles away from him at MacWEEK when he was a news reporter and I was a reviews editor, waaay back in 1996. He went on to his current job at Wired (where he's maintained the Apple beat) and has written two excellent books about Apple [powells.com].

      So, umm, no.
      • Wow, that's great for him. Except that he's a journalist, not a software developer. As such, he wasn't in a position to appreciate the things that were presented during the Keynote. I know that journalists get intimidated when presented with things they can't understand or distill into small, 3- to 4-word sound bytes, but that's no reason to shoot the messenger. This conference is not about the average user. It was about the developers. Sometimes those interests coincide, like when the Intel transition was
      • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @02:35PM (#15868447)
        "This "dumbarse" with a blog has been writing professionally, full-time, about the Mac for over ten years. I sat a few cubicles away from him at MacWEEK when he was a news reporter and I was a reviews editor, waaay back in 1996. He went on to his current job at Wired (where he's maintained the Apple beat) and has written two excellent books about Apple."

        Okay, you've countered the subject line of his post; and I'm not particularly happy with the juvenile insults and name-calling found in the parent (de rigueur for Slashdot unfortunately). But the points raised are totally valid. How did a professional tech beat writer totally miss the whole point of a developer's conference?

  • Which Is It? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by devphaeton (695736) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:27AM (#15866394)
    By the summary, I can't tell if the author was unimpressed by the 'new features', or if he was simply unimpressed with Steve's delivery of it. As far as the 'features', this is all old shit that's been around for ages- why would one expect to be excited about it. You can't blame Steve for boring stuff, can you?

    And for Steve? He's getting old. He's possibly sick. Or maybe he's just not as excited about this stuff as usual.

    Oh well. Since I don't own a Mac, I guess I'll never 'get it', right?
  • Time Machine? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nattt (568106) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:27AM (#15866399)
    The reaction to "time machine" was pretty good - the crowds seem to really like that, and it was fun how it was presented. No, there wasn't the biggest of announcements, but overall it was pretty good. I think the key point is that OS X is pretty mature and doesn't really need "that" much doing to it.
  • Maybe there's more behind Steve's choice to put other people on stage than just lack of news. Whoever Jobs successor will be, he will certainly need to be charismatic. And what better way to see that, than to leave the stage to the candidates.
    • It's weird - the rest of the industry moved to the commodity model 10 years ago, yet Jobs still grabs attention like it's 1985.

      I mean, do people flood web sites to read a live blog of Windows developer key notes?

  • Bad day? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by greg_barton (5551) * <.moc.oohay. .ta. .notrab_gerg.> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:28AM (#15866415) Homepage Journal
    Can the man not have a bad day without it being a cosmic event?
  • I think the person writing the article has never been inside a product development team where you have to worry about what your competitor learns about your VALUABLE CREATIVE future products!

    If you had your Big Gates competitor near ready to put out his first major OS release (in 5 years) & it is due to launch within 6 months, and you are describing the "Next Hottee"at Monday Aug 7 @ 10am, you can bet Billy would have a new software team on any key feature he wanted to add to Vista, by Tuesday, August 8
  • Granted, the system as a whole looks slick, and Jobs said he was keeping some new features "top secret" to stop Microsoft from copying them.

    Any one of these super top secret features will be copied into a Linux distribution within hours, if it's any good. Microsoft can just as easily do the same.

    So saying it's being kept "top secret" is just insulting the audience's intelligence.

    • maybe these super top secret features can be hacked together and made available for linux or microsoft within a few 'hours' but in both cases they'd generally take much longer (less for linux, more for ms) to make it into an official distribution.

      if apple announced and demoed all of their super top secret features for leopard now, there would certainly be plenty of time for ms to get them in to vista if they're useful/flashy enough and thus apple would lose a little lead on microsoft. apple wants to be abl
  • there is no more magic in the world for me...

    (http://secretdiaryofstevejobs.blogspot.com/)

    --
    Carnage Blender [carnageblender.com]: Meet interesting people. Kill them.
  • by Cr0w T. Trollbot (848674) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:31AM (#15866449)
    "This time, Tom, he only walked on two feet of water! Why, if he fell through, he'd barely get his knees wet!"

    "That's right, Diane. Moreover, reports say the amount of water Jobs convreted into wine was down almost 35% this year from last!"

    Jeeze, over the last six years under Jobs, Apple sextuples it's share price, exceeds Dell in market cap, takes over the MP3 market, practically invents and dominates the music download market, doubles the Mac's market share, successfully transitions first from OS 9 to OS X, then from PowerPC to Intel, the last several months ahead of schedule. What the hell do you people want?

    Christ, Jobs could announce that from now on every single Mac would ship with a free Natalie Portman clone, and you people would be complaining that it was a disappiontment because the rumors sites said it would ship with two free Natalie Portman clones, each holding ice creame sundaes!

    Crow T. Trollbot

  • Reading through TFA, I was reminded of similar ones, 20 years ago (mid to late '80s), when the Macintosh was out, but not performing really well, there were still being versions of the Apple ][ being produced and nothing exciting on the horizon.

    It will be interesting to see if the complete cycle repeats with a stock slump, Steve being canned, looks around for the next big thing and brings it with him back to Apple for another triumphant return. If this is what's going to happen, then you should start buyin
  • by Noryungi (70322) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:35AM (#15866505) Homepage Journal
    You know, I have seen the same kind of FUD ever since the days of the Apple ][. I mean, every single step of the way, some journalists have said, again and again and again, that Apple was finished and that it was going to disappear any day now.
    • When the IBM PC came out, Apple was finished.
    • When the Macintosh came out, Apple was finished.
    • When Windows 3.0 came out, Apple was finished.
    • When the Macintosh switched to PowerPC, Apple was finished.
    • When Windows 95 came out, Apple was finished.
    • When Windows NT came out, Apple was finished.
    • When the Macintosh switched to G3 (and G4, and G5), Apple was finished.

    Etc... etc... Etc... Same thing with the PowerBook, the Cube, the switch to Intel, ad nauseam. I wish these people could stop writing that FUD, already! Apple will disappear when it will disappear, in the meantime, its financial position looks excellent.

    I personally think Macintosh, and Ipods, and Mac OS X are very sexy beasts. They are much too expensive for my taste, they run expensive proprietary software, and everything Apple does is way too costly for me, but Gosh, aren't they sexy.

    The fact is, Apple has survived. Every single "Apple is dying" has been proved wrong time and time again. They have top-notch engineers and designers and they will keep on making great products for the time being. Sure, the last WWDC may have been unexciting, but guess what? Even great companies won't release great (hardware) products every six or eight months. These things take time.

    And dissing Steve Jobs for looking thin is simply disgusting. The guy recently survived cancer, for (bleep) sake! Give him a break: he is not going to look plump after chimio or whatever he had to do to overcome cancer! Sheeesh. Tech Journalists sound more and more like bottom feeder, these days.
  • Jobs has done a remarkable job reinventing Apple and giving them some traction. Industry shows where you go and bring the dog and pony in are sometimes entertaining and sometimes boring as hell. That goes for the presenter too. If he had an off day, meh. If it becomes a trend, then maybe he should see a doctor if he has a physical ailment or hire a dog and pony handler to do most of the shows if he is sick of them.

    The gadgets, everyone in the industry has shown crap of all kinds whether for PC, Mac or othe
  • WTF??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iamacat (583406) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:37AM (#15866524)
    Nobody attending WWDC thought so. Leopard has lots of cool features that beat even previous stuff like Expose and Dashboard in the dust. Time machine in particular looks like star trek computers. Apple completed a complete platform migration in less than a year, Objective C is getting garbage collection and properties.

    Looks like the article's author doesn't care about anything besides iPods, but there is more to technology than just small gadgets.
    • Re:WTF??? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:41AM (#15866573)

      Nobody attending WWDC thought so.

      What?! You mean the unamed female reporter sitting next to Leander who wouldn't know Monty Python humor if it built a condominium in her arse cannot be considered a reliable barometer? The deuce you say!

    • Re:WTF??? (Score:3, Funny)

      by lisaparratt (752068)
      Time machine in particular looks like star trek computers.

      Nonsense! Anyone who's watched Star Trek knows that you can't even copy data without wiping the source media clean, let alone keep a file history.
  • Jobs has always been passionate about Apple and the good things that come from it. Seeing as how Apple has been in the sights fo the SEC (as have many companies for the same thing lately) I can see how he'd take personally the issue of the company he started being targeted for something like this. It was / is his baby, and I can't image not letting something like this not having some adverse effect on your health.
  • I dunno' (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bealzabobs_youruncle (971430) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:38AM (#15866543)
    I thought the Mac Pro was a pretty big deal, and especially for a room full of developers who have been screamig for performance. I thought clear acknowledgment that the move to Intel was a huge success, that sales are great and that they now feel strong enough to make direct comparisons to MS products was pretty cool. Never mind that repeatedly Steve stated that the best parts of Leopard were still under wraps until closer to release to prevent any "me too" features in Vista. And ignore some of those useful new features that might not appeal to cynical tech reporters but are welcome additions to actual Mac users. And forget about the fact that this conference with a couple thousand developers is about break out sessions and hands on with the new hardware, coding tools and Leopard previews.

    I wish MS could "bore" me like this...

  • "The keynote yesterday, author Leander Kahney says, was the most uninspiring he's yet seen out of the usually charismatic man."

    The keynote could have just been, "I'm rich bitch!" for all Steve cares. What do you want him to do, entertain you?
  • You can't pull off the unexpected and sensational every 6 months. It's a developer conference! The entire thing was aimed at software developers, showing them new software and hardware tools they will soon have, as well as a new operating system revision. The i-pod was a FLUKE, kids. You can't expect sensational magical new wonders every 6 months, especially from a software company that, really, hasn't been releasing anything "new" but has been just steadily refining existing ideas. Hell, even the ipod
  • Wha? (Score:3, Informative)

    by hatless (8275) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:21PM (#15867048)
    I wasn't there. I didn't watch the keynote. I know nothing about the presentation. I don't have a Mac or even an iPod.

    However, I did mosey over to the Apple website yesterday to look at the new stuff. The new Pro desktops look like a nice new iteration of what's become a workstation line. Will they enable developers and media-content people to work more quickly and efficiently? Yup. That's all they really need to do. Are the new servers keeping pace on price, performance and management features? Yup. So far, no problem.

    And the new OS X features? Looking over the short screencasts on the website, lots of that stuff sounds mighty nice. Time Machine is pretty darned revolutionary: an API and systemwide user interface for user-friendly browsing of data snapshots over time from within any application! Spaces looks like an extremely well thought out expansion on the virtual-desktop concept, with all sorts of visual cues and clever UI bits that will make it useful for people without photographic memories. If the Core Animation APIs are any good, they'll make developers mighty happy. The visual dashborad widget creator opens up widget creation to pretty much everybody. What is there even remotely like it in the Windows world? Even the mail client's editor component leapfrogs everything else out there and will probably sell a lot of consumer Macs the same way iMovie, iPhoto and Garageband have.

    Much of it makes Vista look dated enough that Apple shouldn't have a problem keeping up its market share.
  • by aduzik (705453) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:31PM (#15867167) Homepage

    I thought exactly the same thing yesterday when I watched the WWDC webcast. Steve Jobs looked, in my estimation, terrible. I'm pretty sure he's grown out his beard to hide how thin his face looks. And, it's also true that he didn't seem to have his usual blend of piss and organic vinegar that he generally shows off at these things.

    (I do think I know where Steve's weight went, though: into Phil Schiller! That guy should take a page from the Steve Jobs cookbook. Man!)

    But I thought that there were some great features in the Leopard preview they showed off. For example, Time Machine looks simply astounding. Maybe the sci-fi effects are a little over the top, but being able to look for a lost file by browsing through past versions of the folder in which it's contained is really cool.

    I'm also really jazzed about the Web Clip service in Safari. I can think of lots of times when that would be handy. And, I will say that I really enjoyed the comparisons between a Windows Vista desktop and a Mac OS X Tiger desktop. Microsoft even stole the "lickable" aqua sphere!

    It's entirely possible that Steve might be trying to take a step back from these keynotes. And it's also entirely possible that this was a sort of "test" for these three guys to see which one would have the ability to do these presentations in the future if Steve can't. However, the company itself is still the same as ever. Lines like, "Redmond, start your photocopiers" and "Mac OS X Leopard: Introducing Vista 2.0" are classic.

    Let's also not forget that the new Mac Pro is pretty astounding: four cores, standard! And, let's also not forget that Steve did say that the best new features of Leopard are, as the slide said, "Top Secret". I think Apple really felt like they got burned by Microsoft when they copied, feature for feature, everything that was new and exciting about Tiger for Vista. My guess is that, since Leopard is slated for Spring, Apple wants Microsoft to release Vista, which is truly lackluster, and then release Leopard in rapid succession. Those, "I'm a PC, I'm a Mac" ads might take on a whole new antagonistic dimension! For example:

    (Cue cutesy music)
    PC: I'm a PC
    Mac: And I'm a Mac. Hear me roar.
    PC: I can search every file on your hard drive instantly.
    Mac: I've been doing that for two years now! And, I can search network servers, other Macs, and even tell you that the remote is lost between the second and third cushion on the couch. Take that!
    PC: Well, I've got transparent windows!
    Mac: Oh yeah, well MY windows are so transparent you can't even see them! Our computers don't even come with displays anymore. I just read your mind and do exactly what you were thinking. Kapow!
    PC: Touche
    Mac: See, you finally understand what that word means. And why? Because I teach you new words while you're sleeping. Ha!
    (Cut to picture of new Mac Book, now without a display!)

  • Some stuff is being kept under wraps for now, lest it be "innovated" by Microsoft and appear in Vista.

    Remember years back when Aqua was demoed, and not long after that XP suddenly had that ugly Fisher-Price GUI in response?

    I honestly think that at this point feature-theft by Microsoft isn't that big of a threat. They've proven too inept to even get Vista out with the feature set they've got currently, much less suddenly bolt on something else to it to better compete with Leopard.

    I just wish they would have demoed some of the new stuff in Leopard Server. I've been begging them for years to put together something that can replace Exchange (at least for the SMB market), and it seems like the iCal server fits the bill quite nicely, in concert with improvements to the other services that already exist in Tiger Server.

    ~Philly
  • by wandazulu (265281) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:34PM (#15867204)
    I don't think it's Steve Jobs per se, but the fact is, and it's not limited to Apple or Microsoft, but innovation is clearly slowing down. Virtual desktops are a great addition to OSX, but as (many) others have pointed out, Unix has had it for years and you can get similar functionality from other products. Time Machine is a great idea, as is the VMS versioned file system.

    It's come down to new takes on old ideas; everything that has been toted as a new feature in OSX (and Vista) can be found in some other product or OS. While OSX's great strength is its Unix roots, Unix itself has been around literally my entire life. Not much innovation there.

    I'm not saying Unix isn't an awesome OS, its longevity is a testiment to this fact, but complacency has certainly set in across the research spectrum, AFAIK; where are the truly groundbreaking ideas in interfaces, storage, etc.? Why has nothing that has been put forth been greeted with anything more than a ho-hum? Can we not find something better than the desktop metaphor to organize everything by? Is there nothing better?

    New ideas seems to be a well on the verge of running dry and no one cares enough to notice. Until somebody comes along with some truly ground-breaking stuff, I see Microsoft's and Apple's OS offerings getting thinner and thinner from version to version; just not enough meat to hang on the old bones.

    And while I'm ranting, Linux provides the *perfect* platform for people to go nuts on...it's completely open, anyone can use it and work with it...no one has an excuse not to use it for developing the next great leap in computer technology. The banquet is all set, but who is coming to dinner? Why do we have these pointless KDE-vs-Gnome, Reiser4-vs-everybody, distro-vs-distro holy wars?

    • by jacobw (975909) <{moc.gofeeknay} {ta} {gro.todhsals}> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @01:50PM (#15868032) Homepage
      It's come down to new takes on old ideas; everything that has been toted as a new feature in OSX (and Vista) can be found in some other product or OS. While OSX's great strength is its Unix roots, Unix itself has been around literally my entire life. Not much innovation there.

      Actually, although it is heresy for a Mac fan like me to say this: Apple has never really been about innovation.

      Now, this fact is usually trotted out by people who want to bash Apple--but I'm actually citing it as proof of Apple's savvy. There's an old saying: "Pioneers get eaten. Settlers get rich." Apple has a real corporate talent for noticing when other people have come up with an intriguing innovation of a good idea, but haven't figured out how to combine that innovation with all the things that make a good end-user experience--interface, design, etc. This goes right back to the very beginnings of the company. Stevens Wozniak and Jobs weren't the first people to sell homebrew computers--they just did it better than anybody else around. Apple didn't invent the idea of whole window-based GUI with a mouse controller, Xerox Parc did. But Xerox didn't recognize how incredibly significant the invention was; Apple did. And, obviously, MP3 players were around before the iPod made them a must-have item

      Like any human institution, Apple is imperfect. Sometimes they've gotten to the market too soon (as with the Newton). Other times (perhaps more rarely) they've trailed too far behind, as for example at certain points between System 7 and OSX. But they seem to get it right far more often than most companies.
  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @01:20PM (#15867742) Homepage Journal
    Xray in Xcode 3.0 for Leopard looks interesting though. http://www.apple.com/macosx/leopard/xcode.html [apple.com] .. Has some features of Solaris DTrace, with some fancy GUI to do graphs and organize your data samples.

    It was WWDC after all, what do you expect. the D is for Developer.

    I don't know why Leopard added a bunch of Dashboard stuff (like safari as a widget, and a widget builder). I totally don't use Dashboard and it eats a lot of memory.
  • Jeez... (Score:3, Funny)

    by jpellino (202698) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @01:54PM (#15868080)
    Steve's finally delegating.
    Apple's showing the developers what matters to them.
    Run for your lives!
  • by theolein (316044) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @02:06PM (#15868185) Journal
    If anyone remembers the CherryOS fiasco of two years back when that weird Albanian in Hawaii stole the PearPC source and claimed it as his own "80% native ppc speed" clone, the same Leander Kahney wrote one of the biggest bullshit articles I've ever read, claiming that he felt it was the real thing (even though it didn't even get past the boot screen), and that Apple should start worrying about its hardware sales. I wrote to the guy and flamed his butt off for being such a bullshitter. The guy wrote back telling me that I was just being typical of Mac zealots. Fast forward to the present and lo and behold, we have the same brain dead idiot making the same negative "Apple's dying" (but please read my crap anyway) statements like "but that's for the geeks" at a DEVELOPER conference!

    The guy is simply a more effeminate version of Dvorak. It's one of those minor trendy things amongst pseudo intellectuals (Boing Boing's rant on Apple because Apple hadn't released the sources to the x86 XNU kernel yet, for instance) to be mildly critical of Apple, YET STILL SPEND GOD KNOWS HOW MUCH TO GO AND WATCH A PRODUCT INTRODUCTION SPEECH! Apple must laugh itself to tears at morons like this who pay large amounts of cash to them for the privilege of being trendily critical of Apple.

    Make no mistake, Apple is no saviour and there are many things that I personally prefer in Linux and Windows (Linux for its openess and configurability and Windows for its GUI responsiveness), but acting like a clueless consumer at a developer conference only makes you look dumber than you are, or, in this case, exactly as dumb as you are.

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