shiny new things
Well, that was quite the slog. For two hours today, the Apple execuatti showed off the company’s new products to excited developers (and press) at the company’s WWDC keynote in California, and boy, aren’t we living in the golden age of personal computing.
For roughly the first hour and a half, Apple honchos attired in their finest business casual clothing showed off new products and generally drummed their chests. There’s the new operating system called Maverick (cue breathless John McCain jokes on Twitter), a revamped Safari browser that might make us peel away from Chrome, new MacBooks with extended battery life and a redesigned Mac Pro that looks like a Darth Vader shake weight.
Reddit’s “IAmA” question-and-answer sessions can be thorny territory for celebrities brave enough to wade into the seething, snarking masses. Redditors who catch the scent of bald PR stunts can rhetorically (and gleefully) crap on promotions-friendly scripts and set them on fire. Comedian, author and Expedia.com naked traveler Michael Ian Black has just braved the wilds of the web’s premiere link aggregator and as far as we can tell, survived.
Reflecting on Woody Harrelson’s no-good, very bad Reddit experience a few months ago, Betabeat asked Mr. Black to comment on the session.
The Tao of Steve
“I wanted to come and just have chat this morning,” says Steve Jobs, seated onstage for the closing keynote of Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference back in 1997. Mr. Jobs, who officially stepped down from his post last night, had just begun his second tenure as Apple’s CEO. The company’s stock had been dipping below $20 a share for much of that year, and it was clear to Mr. Jobs that someone needed to light a fire under the developers who helped support the Apple ecosystem.
“We get to spend 45 minutes or so together and I want to talk about whatever you want to talk about,” Mr. Jobs told the crowd. Coming from a legendary CEO, known for having things his way, it was a disarmingly humble and open stance. “I have opinions on most things,” he said, drawing a laugh from the crowd. “So I figured if you want to just start asking some questions, we’ll go to some good places.” It’s a turn of phrase that reminds one Mr. Jobs is in fact a Buddhist, raised in the apricot orchards of Silicon Valley.
But the first question was about OpenDoc, a piece of software Apple had just discontinued, and from there, Jobs transformed, becoming the confrontational yet charming executive whose reality distortion field drew standing ovations from developers and journalists alike. “I know some of you spent a lot time working on something that we put a bullet in the head of. I apologize. I feel your pain. But Apple suffered for several years from lousy engineering management, I have to say it.”
The Tao of Steve
We witnessed something on Twitter today that one rarely finds in 140 characters: raw, human emotions. Lots of them. All jumbled and up and in conflict with one another, coming from every which way. It was sort of like watching the cycle of grief in real-time. Join us, if you will, down the rabbit hole of Instapaper founder Marco Arment’s Twitter feed as he heard Steve Jobs & Co. announce what sounded an awful lot like the death knell of Instapaper.