Apple's Last Macworld Keynote

For perhaps the last time Macworld is host to an Apple Computer keynote and product announcement.  Be it the economy, their messiah, CEO Steve Jobs' health, or simply a saturation point in their marketing strategies, Apple announced that this will be their last Macworld conference and Steve Jobs announced that he will not be delivering the keynote.  It is an end of an era in the history of consumer technology and computing.

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple as their CEO and announced the first iMac in 1998, you got the sense that he was both the prodigal son and the prophet savior of techno-geeks who sat on the outside of corporate technology.  The computers appealed to more emotional sides of our desires by, of all things, innovations in engineering and technology.  It was revolutionary.   Looking back, it's not uncommon from how we buy cars (or at least used to before the recession).  We marvel at horse power, suspension, handling, and safety.  But ultimately what makes the final sale is the supple feel of leather, and the arc of sheet metal sculpted by the hands of an artist.  It's even sometimes the sound of the revving engine.  Auto makers customize their mufflers to match the sound of the car to its look and overall persona. 

I've been using computers since the 70's in primary and secondary school, but was able to afford my first computer with my own money in 2000.  It was a decision I mulled for weeks and drove my wife crazy.  I had been given PC's and hand-me-down laptops up until this time, so being able to select what I wanted was huge.  Living in New York at the time, with no real need for a car, it WAS my first "car purchase."

After trolling the Dell, HP, IBM, and Apple websites on my dial up connection I boiled it down to a high-end iMac G3 or a low-end G4 tower.  But something was missing.  I liked the iMac for its essential use of technology and that it came in colors, I did go to art school after all.  The Power Mac G4 was a lot of computer at the time and I wasn't sure if I would use it all.   The iMac was also at the end of the life cycle for the current generation and my old friend, Paul, recommended I wait until Macworld to hear what might be announced.  Rumors were abound, so I waited.
It was July 2000, and the morning of the Macworld I waited with baited breath on what would be announced.  That morning Steve Jobs introduced the G4 Cube, a plexiglass enclosed 8x8x8 cube with a slot loading optical drive at the top and completely fanless and silent.  It rose from the show floor like a monolith and the press and ardent followers alike were transfixed on the object like the primates in the movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

This is it!  I proclaimed.  It had the higher level processor, but I didn't need the extra peripheral card slots and it came with an LCD display!  The current generation iMacs still used tube based CRT monitors back then. 

After the announcement, I went back and forth still.  The price for this piece of art, which by the way is now in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, was hefty.  So I printed out spec sheets of it and the "Special Edition iMac" a graphite encased iMac with a fast processor.  The difference was hundreds of dollars, but something tugged at me.  I ultimately decided on the cube and took the plunge on the LCD display as well.  I had officially "drunk the kool-aid" and was now a member of the Apple, and Steve Jobs, following.  A cult if you will, but they have managed to make science and engineering an art, something that I've always marveled at. 

Last night I spoke to Crash, he's cueing up this morning for the keynote.  And according to the rumors he's hearing, there's something "new!" and "unanticipated" coming today.  Again, I wait patiently, but anxiously, for what will be announced.

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