Apple's big show flops
After a big buildup to Steve Jobs's opening keynote yesterday at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, even die-hard Mac fans came away disappointed. Leander Kahney, who writes the Cult of Mac blog for Wired News, groused that the speech "was the most uninspiring he's given in recent memory."

Part of the problem was the fact that Jobs uncharacteristically shared the podium with three other Apple executives who lacked Jobs's charisma. There's a reason why his keynotes are usually a solo act: Jobs is uniquely talented at presenting new technology in a compelling way. But the other problem was the pacing and the content of the speech. The big news -- new Mac Pro desktops -- came right away, and the rest of the time was spent plodding through minor new features in Apple's latest version of Mac OS X. Thousands of "Mac nerds ... paid a pretty penny to be here this week, and Jobs' talk is the highlight of the show," Kahney writes. "I don't think they got their money's worth."

Ars Technica's Infinite Loop agreed that this keynote was no "Stevenote." Enduring a dog-and-pony-show about Mac OS X is only worth it because of the surprise that Jobs inevitably saves for the end of a speech -- his famous "One more thing" ending. But this keynote went out with a whimper, not a bang. If the goal was to get software developers charged up about Apple, it looks like this conference will be a bust.

Do you feel like Steve et al. let you down yesterday? Tell us what you think by leaving a comment below.
Posted by Owen Thomas 10:35 AM 41 Comments comment | Add a Comment

I ordered a BTO Mac Pro last night, so I don't think the dull keynote will hurt sales, but I am very concerned about Steve's health. If you remember, he has had some problems. I'm afraid all keynotes may look like this in the future if he is forced to step down.
Posted By Gene Feierstein : 12:32 PM  

Yes, I was a bit disappointed both as a heavy Mac user and as a stockholder. But never count Steve Jobs out. I am confident he'll be back with bigger, more exciting news in the months to come.
Posted By George Sass, Annapolis, MD : 12:57 PM  

Someone's missing the point. The Mac Pro Desktop is the most revolutionary Desktop computer ever introduced into the home environment. With space for 4 internal hardrives, the new Xeon Chip Set and a new Operating System, this computer promises to change many industries. Everyone can now afford to have something close to a mainframe computer in the home. As we each figure out what to do with this much power, the Mac Pro is going to be the STAR of our industry. The future has arrived.
Posted By Arden Rynew, Studio City, Ca : 12:57 PM  

This title is biased. There were a number of excellent products at WWDC although they were aimed toward DEVELOPERS. Apple will likely unveil the "shiny gadgets" closer to christmas time to make it harder for copycats trying to get in on the christmas rush.
Posted By Adam, Langlois, Oregon : 1:02 PM  

Owen Thomas needs something better to write about. Fortune, Business 2.0 or Time... do something. This is one dumb article and a waste of time.
Posted By John, New York, NY : 1:11 PM  

I'm afraid you guys don't get it.

It's the World Wide DEVELOPERS Conference, not Macworld Expo. As a developer I'm learning about a number of new, exciting Apple technologies. XCode 3.0. A new version of Objective C. Core Animation, to go along with the previous release of Core Audio and Core Video. This is why I paid to go to WWDC, not to see a new iPod. That's what Macworld Expo is about, it's not what a DEVELOPER conference is.

This is a case where the media hype machine raised its own expectations so high that disappointment was the only possible result. Consider the target audience for the event.
Posted By Terry Furtado, Seattle, WA : 1:15 PM  

I thought it was great! I didn't expect a "one more thing" it's a developers conference those theatrics are for other arenas. I'm VERY impressed with Leopard and am salivating over the new Mac Pro.

I fully expect more announcements for the upcoming holiday season for IPod upgrades and maybe an IPhone and a more fitting venue than the Developers Conference.
Posted By Roxanne, Manchester, ct : 1:17 PM  

The people quoted certainly wanted the usual Steve Jobs hype, however, I believe this is far from a bust. I think Steve Jobs knows he needs to start pacing announcements. We know there will be new ipods coming, new Dual Core 2 iMacs and Macbooks coming and more features in Leopard then they showed, plus Apple needs to transition leadership eventually and starting now is smart. I am excited about Leopard and think Apple is being savvy about maintaining growth which is more important than hype.
Posted By chipT Greeley, CO : 1:19 PM  

Let's not forget this is a developers conference. Whilst underlying OS technologies mean little to most people, i'm sure if you asked a developer his opinion of the keynote it would be more upbeat. Steve and his colleagues showed off some great stuff coming in OS X 10.5 Leopard, plus they transitioned their whole Mac line to intel in just 210 days this year, culminating in the announcement of the Mac Pro yesterday.

Steve did look rather thin - gaunt even - I hope everything is OK with him.
Posted By Paul, Birmingham, UK : 1:20 PM  

It is terrible to say that this keynote was a letdown. What did you expect? You can't rewrite the technology landscape at each keynote that he gives. Did you notice how awesome that Leopard is going to be? Those weren't little features. Those take a lot of peoples time and energy to make those types of updates to an OS. Does whoever wrote this work for Microsoft? The speech was great. I am so looking forward to the new OS X, MacPro, and Macworld in January. Please don't ever rip Steve again. He doesn't deserve it. You are ripping on him for bringing all of this to the table and sharing it with everyone in the world. But Seattle Bill has done absolutely nothing the last five years and you still find a way to make fun of Steve. That is easy to do from your computer. Typical journalist attitude. Kick those people that actually do something in this world. Get a job.
Posted By Rob, Cupertino, CA : 1:24 PM  

I was among the disappointed. I expected the introduction of machines with core2duo processors, and figured that the reason Dell has pushed back its desktop delivery dates was that Apple had been given first priority. Now it just looks like Intel may be behind on shipments. At least Apple rarely introduces a product that is not available.
Posted By Michael, Oklahoma City OK : 1:26 PM  

Nope I wasn't disappointed. But if you followed the gossip that Apple would show every conceivable gadget then I can understand how you could have been. The gossipmongers are always dismayed because they tell their "new product release" story so often they come to believe it. I guess their "sources" weren't so reliable after all. Guess they have to save some dignity and just blame Apple for screwing up the release that never was.
Posted By Jersey City, NJ : 1:28 PM  

This is such a idiot story. Do you expect a magic show? Everyone knew it was about software update and a new desktop intel based. Why don't we write a review about dumb articles.
Posted By eric preston, Hartford, CT : 1:34 PM  

Mac and Apple fans are spoiled by Jobs. Apple finished the Intel integration in record time, have a new PC that runs on 64-bit architecture, and showed some of the features of Leopard. This is a developers conference, so no consumer products were to be expected. People don't see the bigger picture.
Posted By Ray, Miami, Florida : 1:52 PM  

unfortunately, yes I feel let down by steve. Not only was I holding stock options on Apple, but I also need a new iPod. But hey, iTunes will offer movie downloads soon, and that, for me will totally wipe out any need for a blockbuster or hollywood video card.
Posted By Nate, Hamilton, Ohio : 2:05 PM  

I think Apple is pacing themselves. The style and content of the presentation is an obvious signal that there is more going on behind the doors at Apple computer. They used this captive moment to get the message out about the new computer products while the attention is captured in anticipation of the iPhone. Look for the iPhone by XMAS.
Posted By Mathew Scott, Atlanta, GA : 2:07 PM  

Apple has been closing down the cooperation with the Open Source community (GNU, Linux), so their new Intel Macs are less interesting there, and they have no new technology that is Mac-unique nor is any expected. Maybe they should just forget the computers and make iPods. Insanely great has become senile conservatism. They are trying hard to make sure Mac OS X doesn't run on non-Apple hardware, but if they don't do something soon, no one will want to anyway.
Posted By tom z. Southfield, MI : 2:13 PM  

this past sunday the LA Times ran an article about how it's not how well a movie does, in terms of box office, but how the studio manages the expectations of how well the movie will do.

i'd say it's the same for Apple and Steve Jobs. as a society we're very 'bling' oriented. it's not enough that Jobs et.al. presented the final Intel Mac and did a preview of the new OS, they were supposed to pull a rabbit out of the hat.

maybe it's my age, but i prefer reality to potential excitement. sure bling is fun, but Apple has done a decent job of delivering on the promise of the 'chip change.'

i'm waiting to see the sales at the end of the quarter.
Posted By ValleyDriver, Sherman Oaks, CA : 2:38 PM  

Authors like Owen Thomas need a reality check, and news organizations like CNN need to post responsible headlines on their homepage. Clearly, you guys flopped -- not Mr. Jobs or Apple.
Posted By S.L., New York, NY : 2:50 PM  

His keynote was directed at developers, as it was the developer conference. It was supposed to be focused on development topics, and the new OS. Every time Jobs is scheduled to speak the media expects world-changing moving speeches, but that is unrealistic. The media, including rumor sites on the web, always play up these keynotes to such proportions there is no way they could ever live up to everyone's expectations. People need to calm down a bit and be realistic about the intent of Apple's World-Wide Developers Conference. It is not designed to be the launching point for shiny new toys, it is a launching point for "boring" software development tools.
Posted By Marc Cohen, Indianapolis, IN : 2:52 PM  

At least Apple delivers. Where's Vista ? Anyone seen a copy around ? More vapour from the dinosaur at Redmond. iPod Killer ? Microsoft Vista ? All talk. All I can see so far is that Redmond is fading into the sunset as Google and Apple take over the electronic world. And none too soon. I have had enough of Bill Gates and certainly enough of that buffon Steve Ballmer.
Posted By Eddie Russell, San Dieog, CA : 3:02 PM  

The new desktop machine is awesome and worth the trip.

But Steve is a victim of his own PR machine. Too much buildup for this show....
Posted By Mike Roberts, Portola Valley, CA : 3:34 PM  

What a bunch of egotiscal BXXXXXXXXX there ipod products/batteries are bad quality and I would like to see them fall
Posted By john : 4:22 PM  

nope, couldn't expect every single show is a big hit, do you or could you?
Posted By toronto : 4:23 PM  

Yes, I feel completely let down by Jobs' speech. I feel like my purchases of Macs have been a mistake. I am putting both of my Macs up for sale on eBay tonight and, I swear, I will not buy another.
Posted By John Doe, Miami, FL : 4:29 PM  

It was definitely not a top ten Steve performance. He seemed unsure, relied on notes and the prompter a lot. They spent a lot of time knocking MS which really came off lame, especially the excuse of not showing features in case MS was watching. Microsoft are cutting the features that go into Vista not looking for new ones
Posted By Oisin, Cupertino, CA : 4:35 PM  

I wish there was someway to tell Apple they should have waited until they could put a bluray drive in the desktop machines. It would have been the inovative type of presentation people expect from Apple
Posted By Nathaniel, Chicago, IL : 4:53 PM  

Totallly inept performance.......
Posted By Boca Raton, Fl. : 4:56 PM  

I thought the announcements were good. I enjoyed learning more about Leopard and the new specs and pricing on the Mac Pro and Cinema displays. Even though MacWorld East coast is gone, Apple's announcements for this WWDC is more signifcant this year than they were for the past WWDC's. Anyway, I wasn't disappointed and I look forward to the non-conference announcements that Apple have been doing more of these past few years.
Posted By Peter, Los Angeles, CA : 5:09 PM  

Pardon me but this is a developers conference.. You do not pay $1000+ to hear Job's keynote but to attend the 100+ developer sessions with Apple engineers.
Posted By David Bainbridge, Bemidji, MN : 5:27 PM  

No question about it, I was let down. Typically he has announced the best things at the WWDC Keynote and always look forward to it in slow news of summer. My kids are now old enough to be entertained by Steve Jobs type of Keynote but unfortunatley they were bored with this one. When I told them hang on he always saves the best for last with "One more thing" I looked like I was crying wolf as he neglected to incorporate one his trademarks. Wait till spring? Leaopard will be lost in the Vista release even if they did copy everything no one will know.
Posted By Neal, Centreville, VA : 7:20 PM  

Disappointed? No way. The Time Machine feature alone is more valuable than anything Windows/Vista or Linux will offer.

The new MacPros are the most powerful consumer PCs in history. The Xserves are awesome too.

I'm not sure why best there is, is not considered good enough anymore?

Apple routinely displays one amazing thing after the next and Microsoft can't even release Vista after 5 years.

Apple is right on target.
Posted By Enzo, Los Angeles, CA : 7:33 PM  

I watched the keynote and couldn't disagree more. I am not a computer geek but was nevertheless significantly impressed with the feature set of Leopard. Time Machine, in particular was incredible. Regarding Steve's performance. I personally thought he did fine but was most impressed by Scott Forestal (sp?) who was very "Steve-like" in his delivery. I could see Forestal stepping into Steve's shoes before Phil Schiller, at least as far as the keynote duties are concerned. The smart money was on Apple to delay Ipod and new hardware announcements until a more appropriate moment. This was WWDC afterall.
Posted By Jeff, Atlanta, Georgia : 8:00 PM  

What a waste of space this story is....if the writer thinks this is what will best keep Money readers "informed" about the latest Apple offerings, he should seriously find a new career. And so should the editor in charge.
Posted By Paul, Cedar Grove, NJ : 8:35 PM  

Yes he did but Apple did not since they did launch at least one of the products I was waiting for, nevertheless I did expect a few more surprises.
Posted By Jeffrey los angeles : 10:07 PM  

This event for developers is all about "big iron" which, unless you are a geek, is not very flashy or sexy. Apple never promised more than to showcase the technical side of Leopard to the professional programmers who attend. So how did they fail? It's not their fault a bunch of hyper fans imagined a whole world of products. The press needs to stop feeding on non-news that feels exciting and start being real reporters.
Posted By Ashley, Los Angeles, CA : 10:27 PM  

The problem with your article (and also, Wall Street reaction) is that this keynote was for developers, not the general public. Contrast this with Gates' keynote at the last Microsoft developer conference... he wasted half of it demoing Office 2007. The new stuff in Leopard is amazing. Macs and Mac OS is Apple's future. IPods (over time) will be a fading fad. Apple is investing its money well in solid additions to Mac OS. The level of integration is phenomenal. I am both a Windows and a Mac developer and I can confirm that Windows Vista is way, way less sophisticated than Leopard. I am very disappointed that the press in general seems unable to understand the profound differences between Vista and Mac OS X. Again, consider Gates' last developer keynote... ask yourself why would he spent half the time on Office 2007? The answer is simple, he had little else to show.
Posted By Brian, Fort Collins, CO : 11:08 PM  

There were only two things that disappointed me about the 2006 WWDC: 1) the total flop of accurate media coverage; and 2) the impact of inaccurate media coverage had on the investment community. The subsequent sell off of Apple shares by investors because there were no iPod announcements was purely a knee-jerk reaction to misinformation and their incompetence in distinguishing hardware from software. The Mac Pro models were a tasty appetizer before the main course of Mac OS 10.5. I certainly hope the Geeks shall inherit the Earth because media content is getting pretty crowded with boobs who pen lame titles, such as this article.
Posted By Kenny, Portland, Oregon : 11:23 PM  

Psst..... This was the keynote for the World Wide Developer's Conference. Apple isn't going to announce an iPod or consumer item at a DEVELOPER's conference. They showed a new professional product and previewed Leopard: two things the developers care alot more about than "Mac nerds do." if you want to see a show, go to Mac World. If you want to develop better products for the Mac platform, do to the WWDC.
Posted By Justin, Sacramento CA : 5:58 PM  

Apple usually has such elegant designs for just about everything it makes. Their products are works of art. But I'm sorry... I just don't get into this "industrial look" of the desktop machines. Rather than being sleek and beautiful, they are tall and ugly. The grid-like front reminds me of the gated fences that are used to protect store merchandise. At a full five inches taller than the old G4 design, they simply take up too much air space.

Usually I am an early adapter, but I hated the G5 "industrial look" design so much that I have held onto my G4. Was hoping that a new design would be introduced with the Intel machine. No such luck. What a disappointment!
Posted By Anne Bubnic, Novato CA : 5:03 PM  

OK... I finally broke down and bought a new desktop, despite the fact that they look so bulky. When they started offering Intel machines, it wss too attractive.

So yes, it's bulky but I tucked it away. But it's been 6 months now and I love my new machine.
Posted By Anonymous : 10:10 PM  

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.