Keynote speeches by Steve Jobs, the co-founder and CEO of Apple, Inc., have become something of a cultural event. Especially as of August 24, 2011, when he resigned as CEO of Apple. So, relentlessly analyzed, interpreted, live-blogged and picked apart for details, these "Steve-notes," as they have come to be called, give insight not only into the new products and features Apple will be touting in the coming fiscal quarter, but Jobs' own outlook on gadgets and technology. With Jobs ongoing struggles with illness, his physical appearance and demeanor as well have become fodder for armchair pundits and tech obsessives.
This list will count down some of our favorite moments from Steve Jobs' many speeches and presentations over the years. Some of them are notable for how ahead of the curve and visionary Jobs was at the time. Others because of the expert way he navigates the events themselves, smoothing over technical difficulties and essentially inventing the branding for items like the iPhone or the iPad live on stage. And some just because we think it's amusing when Steve calls things "magical." So fire up your Humancentipad and relax as we bring you this list of Greatest Steve Jobs Keynote Moments!Also check out the list of best Steve Jobs interviews.
2007: Introducing the iPhone
"Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything." With those words, Steve Jobs introduced the first Apple iPhone on January 9, 2007, at the Macworld convention. He described it as over two years in the making, but the project had been percolating for many years before that. (The original use of the term "iPhone" to refer to a planned Apple phone dates back to 2004 or even earlier!)At the time, a lot of the emphasis focused on the iPhone's touchscreen, quite possibly the device's single greatest contribution to the world of gadgets. Interestingly, the presentation included Jobs playing Beatles songs on his iPhone, though the iTunes Store wouldn't get access to the Fab Four's catalogue until over 3 years later.
2001: Jobs Introduces the First iPod
At a small "music"-themed event in 2001, Jobs took to the stage to introduce the first-ever iPod to an unsuspecting world. Interestingly, he starts the presentation by convincing the audience that music is a good business to be in, and that it's important to people. (Did they really need convincing?)He goes on to introduce a portable digital music player with an ultra-thin hard drive that will allow you to bring your ENTIRE music library with you (provided it isn't more than 1000 songs and doesn't take up more than 5 Gb).
1984: First Apple Macintosh Demo
To thunderous applause, Jobs demonstrates his very first Apple Macintosh computer before a crowd of 3000 in this clip from January of 1984. (Days earlier, the world had first heard about the Macintosh from a Ridley Scott-directed TV commercial - "1984" - that had aired during Super Bowl XVIII.)
In true Jobs fashion, the presentation begins with the computer displaying a title card reading: "Insanely great!" It then jumps around to a basic drawing program, a spreadsheet and calculator, some different fonts, pictures of buildings, a chess game, even a photo of Jobs THINKING about the Macintosh. The presentation ends with the computer running a voice simulator, reading some pre-entered text advising you "never [to] trust a computer you can't lift." The computer then reintroduces "a man who's been like a father to me, Steve Jobs."OK, it's sort of creepy. But also historically significant!
1997: Microsoft Deal Announcement
1997 was a chaotic year for Apple. In July, CEO Gil Amelio was ousted by the board of directors as the company coped with significant financial losses and its lowest stock price in 12 years. Co-founder Jobs was brought back in as the interim CEO to begin a restructuring of the product line. (He would, of course, stay on as Apple CEO and has run the company ever since.)
At that year's Macworld Expo in Boston, Jobs announced that Apple would enter a five-year partnership with Microsoft to release that company's Office suite of software for Mac, as well as shipping Internet Explorer as the Mac's default Web browser. (The deal also included a $150 million investment in Apple). Much to the surprise of everyone in the room, Jobs wrapped up his remarks by introducing Bill Gates on screen, via satellite.As Gates appeared, the crowd greeted him with a mixture of cheers and boos. (In the film "Pirates of Silicon Valley," about the relationship between Apple and Microsoft - and Jobs and Gates more specifically - the moment was depicted as far more negative towards the announcement.)