The Top 8 Stevenote Moments

Written by Michelle Delio


Whether he’s telling us what mere mortals do and don’t need, assuring us that whatever he’s just showed us is “un-bel-liev-able,” or making the rare flub on stage, Apple’s CEO always puts on one hell of a show.

In honor of what appears to be the end of an era with yesterday’s announcement that Steve’s Macworld keynotes have come to an end, here’s a tribute to some of the last quarter century’s greatest Stevenotes.

Apple Sales Event, Fall 1983

Flushed with pride and wearing a huge grin, Steve tells the crowd that Apple is the only force that can ensure our future freedom from a drab IBM-dominated world, and previews the infamous1984 commercial. Don’t miss the Macintosh Software Dating Game, Bachelor #3 is a scruffy, slumped Mac-loving Bill Gates.

Macworld Expo Boston, 1997

Deep in the dark “beleagued Apple” days a vest-and-collarless-shirt wearing Jobs, freshly returned to Apple, gives an impassioned speech about Apple’s continued relevance in the computer industry. He then shares the startling news of a new Apple-Microsoft alliance, including Internet Explorer as the default browser on all Macs. The crowd is not happy. Steve goes on to explain that Microsoft has kindly ensured Apple’s survival for a while through the purchase of 150 million bucks worth of Apple stock (non-voting shares, he hastens to explain). Bill Gates then manifests wearing a cheesy grin on the super-sized screen behind Jobs. The now shell-shocked crowd greets their apparent new overlord with boos and a few faint cheers. Note to past self: fear not, it all worked out just fine.

Macworld, 1998

The computer that sparked Apple’s triumphant comeback. Steve was back and wanted a machine for consumers who didn’t need a tower or a laptop. The iMac was based upon, “The excitement of the internet. The simplicity of Macintosh.” apple revealed in the fact that the back of the iMac looked better than the front of their competitors computers.

Macworld Expo New York, 1999?

Having finally settled on what will become his famed keynote costume — black long-sleeved St. Croix mock turtleneck. Levi’s 501 blue jeans, New Balance 991 sneakers — Steve assures the crowd that what they really want is a portable iMac. Despite the enthralled ooohhs, aaahhs and wild applause that greeted the iBook unveiling in retrospect it’s all too easy to see that this isn’t one of Apple’s prettier products. It’s hard to think why we were all so thrilled back then — a handle? Wow! No latch? Awesome! The CD ROM drive pops right open! OMG!

Macworld Expo San Francisco, 2000

After introducing OS X and its promised “state of the art plumbing and killer graphics — an OS designed for the Internet” Steve and tells the crowd that after 2.5 years of serving as the temporary Apple CEO, he’ll be dropping the interim title, will now be called the “iCEO” and plans to hang around for the foreseeable future. The crowd goes wild, the standing ovation and cheers go on and on and ends with an obviously touched Steve telling everyone “you’re making me feel funny.”

Cupertino Apple Music Event, 2001

In front of a surprisingly small crowd in an exceptionally ugly room, Steve explains with great enthusiasm that Apple likes music, we all like music, music has been around forever, no one offers great technology that lets people listen to music on the go, and so Apple is going to make a music product. The silly people in the audience greet this announcement of the first iPod very tepidly.

Apple World Wide Developers Conference, 2002

There’s a coffin onstage, organ music, swirling fog — the whole Sisters of Mercy shtick. Goth Steve somberly cracks open the coffin, reveals Mac OS9 and delivers a moving eulogy: “a friend to us all…never refused a command …except when he forgot who he was and needed to be restarted.” Then, tenderly pointing out that OS9 “a humble guy, who never flaunted his power with a start menu … had now gone onto that great bit bucket in the sky,” Steve closed the coffin and placed a single red rose on it.

Macworld Expo San Francisco, 2007

Steve unveils the iPhone and has a great time doing it. He tells the crowd that “this is a day I’ve been looking forward to for 2.5 years …” During this Stevenote he called Starbucks, asked for an order of 4,000 lattes, quickly explains he was just kidding and apologizes. His clicker doesn’t work, and he wonders aloud if Steve Wozniak hacked it. He has a happy conference call with Apple executives Jonathan Ive and Phil Schiller, checks Apple’s stock price (up $2.43 after the iPhone announcement), watches a TV show, plays back a voicemail from Al Gore and says with great glee that the iPhone puts “the internet in your pocket for the first time ever.”

Steve’s given us a whole lot over the years — great products, good times, shivery anticipation and the occasional distoration of the collective reality field. While we’re all bummed at the possibility that there may not be “one more thing” and we may never see him deliver another Stevenote, perhaps it’s best to just say a quiet thank you and leave Steve alone. If nothing else, at least we can comfort ourselves with the knowledge that don’t have to watch Steve Ballmer keynotes.

Got a favorite Steve Jobs Keynote moment we missed? Drop the YouTube link in the comments and we’ll add it to the article.

ps:30 Years of Apple’s History in Three Minutes

4 thoughts on “The Top 8 Stevenote Moments

  1. Jerry

    That is what I’m talking about! Great videos. Steve Jobs will absolutely be missed with his exciting, and sometimes down right extravagant messages. Hopefully Apple can put someone as exciting as him in their future keynotes.

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