The popular music will die down, Jobs will enter, and he’ll start with a few stats about how Apple is doing. But Jobs has an opportunity to open his keynote with one of the best lines he could ever deliver.


Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference starts tomorrow with an opening keynote from Steve Jobs (for which we’ll have complete live coverage of). The popular music will die down, Jobs will enter from the left side of the stage (stage right, right? I never understood that), and he’ll start with a few stats about how Apple is doing in some area of its business. He’ll likely talk about how WWDC sold out in record time, how many attendees there are, how many sessions, and a big thank you to everyone for making the conference and Apple a success.

But Jobs has an opportunity to open his keynote, or at least the segment where he rolls out the new iPhone hardware, with one of the best lines he could deliver.

“So, this developer walks into a bar…”

Of course, the line refers to the Apple engineer who was testing a prototype of the next-generation iPhone when he lost it or it was stolen, only to land in the hands of Brian Lam and Gizmodo. But it’s so much more than that. The line is a variant of one of the most-used first lines of a joke ever. It is instantly recognizable as such. Humor should only be used in presentations when you know you’re going to get a laugh, or when your expectations for a laugh are infinitesimally low. This line is certain to draw a good laugh.

The line is also an opportunity to be self-deprecating. Jobs was asked about the incident at the D8 conference last week, and while conversational, he took a pretty hard line, referring to Gizmodo as guilty of extortion. That’s a big, bad word, and it may or may not be true. Jobs should let his legal team handle the heavy lifting on this one, and delivering this line is an easy way to hand it off.

Delivered correctly, it could also actually help to take some heat off of the engineer in question. See, that guy is just like the thousands attending WWDC. He’s one of them. And nothing could make a stronger statement to developers than to give this guy a break in such a public way.

Lastly, this is a tech conference. Developers will be walking into bars in droves over the next few evenings. So Jobs would be speaking directly to his audience in a very personal, timely way. Oh, and I don’t think I’d follow it with anything. Deliver the line, offer up a pregnant pause, then move on to topic du jour. It is so obvious and works on so many levels that it doesn’t need to be propped up with any further comment.

Come on, Steve. Let us have it.

Follow our live coverage of the WWDC 2010 keynote, photos and all!

  1. J.D. Remington Sunday, June 6, 2010

    That’s genius actually, pure genius.

  2. I’m not actually too sure of the point of this article.

    It seems as though this journalist realised what a really good joke he could make if he was Steve Jobs and is using his spot on this site to show his ‘comic side’. A dangerously predictable joke, and while it might cause laughs at the WWDC if he does use it, I would appreciate not being told the ins and outs of the most simple of all gags in such a patronising way in an article by you, thank you.

    This article is barely worth the time it took to write. Does Patrick Hunt really think this little joke at the start will make all the difference to the WWDC? How about you come up with something a little better to offer the genius mind that is Steve Jobs rather than this? Simple answer is, because you have no idea what it’s like being in his shoes and therefore no idea that a little 2 second joke at the start will be the last of his worries tomorrow. Now I’m all for some enjoyment and comedy in a presentation, but I think Jobs will be able to handle that while also demonstrating the latest and greatest in the world of technology.

    Perhaps you’re just trying to sum up the controversial events with regards to the next generation iPhone and the repercussions of such. You did quite a good job of that, but seriously, ‘let us have it’ in a more stylish manner.

    1. Haha, you almost certainly spent more time writing your comment than it took to read the original article.

      You, my friend, need to lighten up.

      1. Actually, i agree with Ollie. I really don’t see the point of this article and thought it was quite the predictable joke as well.

        Most articles on this website are worth reading, because of the interesting vantage points that are being taken.

        The problem with this article is, that —indeed Ollie— this journalist has come up with a dangerously average joke which he wants to share with his fellow Apple-lovers.

        Watch out for these non-articles!

      2. Woah! these guys melted a freakin ipad

      3. The joke lost all it’s fun when you explained it on the 4th paragraph.

  3. (for which we’ll have complete live coverage of)… s/b (of which we’ll have complete live coverage)…

  4. Andrew MacDonald Sunday, June 6, 2010

    J.D Remington said exactly what I was going to say. That is genius.

    I hope this was already part of Steves keynote, or if it isn’t, he sees this blog post before he hits the stage. That joke would get practically as much press attention as the new iPhone itself!!

  5. Andrew MacDonald Sunday, June 6, 2010

    Oh, Ollie, get of your high horse mate.

    It’s a joke for Christ sake. Lighten up… Jeez!

  6. This is a VERY FUNNY line to use, but I think you went overboard with your explanation as to why this is funny. Once you explain (or over-explain) a joke, it’s not funny anymore. Plus, you missed the real reason this line is funny. It’s funny because the product he’s about to announce has already been leaked to the press.

  7. I don’t know what makes you think you have the right to tell Steve Jobs say anything.

    1. You my friend, are an idiot!

  8. Simon White Sunday, June 6, 2010

    @ Patrick “…Jobs will enter from the left side of the stage (stage right, right? I never understood that)…”

    It’s only the left from your perspective. If you’re on the stage, facing the audience, stage right is on your right, right! :o)

  9. Bartender replies “Is this some kind of joke?”

  10. Believe me, I enjoy a good joke. And perhaps I am being overly cynical. But this article is nonsense, and useless. A more in-depth preview of the WWDC would have been more interesting as opposed to the predictable jokes of a journalist, who – as pointed out by Simon White – cannot differentiate between left and right according to points of view.

    Oh, and Pigford and MacDonald – please don’t call me ‘mate’ or ‘my friend’ – I’m friends with neither of you. And if you’re sense of humour is at this basic level – I’m fairly glad of it.

    Thanks Frats. It is a pointless article, although many from this website are good.

    1. Andrew Macdonald Ollie Sunday, June 6, 2010

      OK Mate!


    2. with you on this, it is worthless and boring.

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