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Steve Jobs is a great storyteller. If he were a fiction writer, he would stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Tom Clancy and John Grisham. Mesmerizing in prose, master of the climax.
Today’s performance at the Macworld Keynote was no different. We hyper clicked, reloaded websites and traded SMS messages trying to find out more details about new iPhone, the real thing, not the poser that came to market a little while ago.
And how he teased us, taking two hours to let us know that it will be available in June 2007. And even though it is going to cost an ungodly amount, there is a good chance we might get one. But that is not the real story of the day. The real story of the day came at the very end of his keynote.
“From this day forward we’re going to be known as Apple, Inc. We’ve dropped the computer from our name.” And then he quoted ice skating legend Wayne Gretzky. “‘I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it’s been.’ That’s what we try to do at Apple.”
That also might be the epitaph of the PC era. And it is sweet irony that the company that sparked off the desktop computing revolution is the one announcing its passing.
Dropping Computer from its name is a sure sign that Apple, from this point forward, is a consumer electronics company, a mobile handset maker – one that also makes computer hardware and software as well.
Like the iPod, the iPhone may feed off the computer, but it can leave peacefully without any dependence on a desktop. A Wi-Fi enabled device, it
is should ideally be capable enough to do direct downloads from the iTunes store, no desktop necessary. (Time magazine says it is not possible, so who knows!)
Apple is making the phone do all things a computer does – surf, email, browse, iChat, music and watch videos. Nary a keyboard or mouse in sight, and everything running on OS-X.
While I am not suggesting that this replaces our notebooks or desktops for crucial productivity tasks, the iPhone (if it lives up to its hype) is at least going to decrease our dependence on it.