There was an overflow crowd (the lines were the longest I’d ever seen) for Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ keynote today at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco. Five thousand people packed the hall at the Moscone Center and tens of thousands watching worldwide via streaming media heard him proclaim that the personal computer was entering its “third golden age.”
As the crowds packed in for the speech, world music played instead of the usual early rock and roll. It was Deep Forest rather than Buddy Holly.
Jobs was clean shaven and decked out in blue jeans and a dark turtleneck. He started his speech by noting that the end of 2000 was challenging for both Apple and the industry.
“So we decided to start 2001 with a bang,” he said to applause and cheers from the crowd.
While others were proclaiming that that the day of the personal computer was coming to an end, Jobs said that Apple didn’t think it was so.
“We don’t think the personal computer is dying or moving away from the center,” he said.
Jobs said that the personal computer entered its “first golden” age, the Age of Productivity, around 1980. This period of spreadsheets and desktop publishing lasted about a decade and a half. In the mid-90s, the second golden age, the Age of the Internet, arrived. With the Internet maturing, some pundits are saying that the personal computer is waning, perhaps even “boring.” Not so, said Jobs.
“We think the personal computer is on the threshold of entering its third great age, the Age of the Digital Lifestyle,” he said. “This age is spawned by the proliferation of digital devices everywhere: CD players, MP3 players, cell phones, handheld organizers, digital cameras, digital camcorders, and more. We’re confident that the Mac can be the hub of this new digital lifestyle by adding value to these other devices.”
Why? Because the Mac can run complex applications, sport a big screen for better user interfaces, burn disks, offer inexpensive storage, and get on the Internet at every conceivable speed. These are things that the other digital devices can’t go.
The Mac can, however. Apple’s iMovie was the first product from Apple to offer added value to other digital devices. The company has new (see our separate stories) and upcoming products designed to do the same, he added.