Was lurking on the Apple subreddit and came across this gem. I haven’t seen this clip before and it’s worth watching. In the video, you will find Jobs in his classic showmanship form.
At the start of the clip, Jobs flips open the tangerine-colored iBook and starts surfing the web. After jumping through a couple of sites, he casually picks up the computer and carries it to another part of the stage. It doesn’t take long before the crowd erupts in applause with Jobs pausing to reveal a cheeky grin to capture the moment. To emphasize his point, he pulls out a hula hoop to demonstrate that indeed, no wires were connected to the device and providing it Internet. reddit user abeliangrape reminded me of similar tricks in keynotes such as Jobs pulling out the original MacBook Air from a manilla folder to demonstrate its thinness and the iPod Nano that fit in his change pocket.
“What…is going on here??”
Love that line.
In 1999, wifi had yet to become as ubiquitous as it is today. In fact, as Jobs was presenting that day, the name hadn’t even been coined yet. At that time, it was still defined by its technical specification, “802.11b”, which offered an impressive 11Mbps. Alongside the announcement of the new iBook computer, Apple was unveiling its Airport wireless networking, which (don’t quote me on this) was one of the first mainstream portable computers with wireless networking capability.
Apple didn’t invent Wifi, but by including it in the iBook that year it set the ball rolling which was matched by computer makers following in the company’s footsteps. Over the years, Apple made a strategic move to remove what it believed were technologies that were soon becoming obsolete such as the floppy drive, Flash, the ethernet port, and the optical drive. It might always be a debate as to whether Apple should be called innovative or not, but one label they are deserving is prescient.