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Phil Schiller vs. Steve Jobs: Comparing Macworld 2009 to August 2007 Special Event

With Phil Schiller’s Macworld keynote fresh in our minds from only two days ago, I wonder how many Mac fans remember the Special Event of August 2007. In terms of what was discussed they have a lot in common, so it’s worthwhile to review them to see just how Phil did in comparison to a Steve event.

For those who have forgotten, in August 2007 was the event where the aluminum iMacs were first introduced. In addition, the new versions of iLife ’08 and iWork ’08 were introduced. The entire presentation was done by Steve Jobs. Here are all the things Steve had going for him in that presentation. 

  • Obviously, he’s Steve. No one entered the event tentative about the presenter or his ability to get the job done. 
  • While the new iMac was much rumored, no one new for sure what it would look like. It was in fact a brand new generation of the iMac product. 
  • iLife had an entirely new application in iMovie ’08 (most people didn’t decide they hated it until the day after the event). It’s more interesting to an audience to see an app they’ve never seen before than just an upgrade to an app they already know. 
  • iWork had a new application in Numbers. Again, it’s more interesting to see something brand new. 

Compare the above advantages with the tide running against Phil for his keynote:

  • Lots of disappointed people who had signed up for Macworld expecting Steve, but getting Phil. And many thinking Phil may not be able to pull it off. 
  • Like the iMac above, the 17 inch MacBook Pro was rumored, but in this case we all knew what it would look like since it was obviously the unibody version of the models introduced in October.
  • iLife had no rewritten apps, just upgrades to existing ones. 
  • iWork had no new app, only upgrades. 

In addition, both events demoed new online initiatives (.Mac’s Web Galleries in 2007, in 2009). 

I watched the Jobs Special Event a few times, and ultimately bought a new aluminum iMac 24 inch. But it was pretty boring. Let’s face it, even Mr. Jobs can’t make your average software demo particularly exciting, even when it’s a new app. I mean, sure, some OS demos can be cool, but productivity apps? Not so much. I watched it to get a feel for the new software features and it served that purpose well. 

Of course, Phil wasn’t Mr. Exciting either, but it ran as well as the other event did. And one easily gets as much a sense of what’s new in iLife and iWork as they did from Steve’s presentation. I’d say that, all in all, Phil did very well. I think he did as well as Steve with similar material.

Besides, it’s not as if every Steve demo kicks butt. Geez, folks, remember the Apple HiFi special event? Z-z-z-z-z-z-z…

6 Responses to “Phil Schiller vs. Steve Jobs: Comparing Macworld 2009 to August 2007 Special Event”

  1. Thank you very much or such a beautiful account and review. I was really looking forward to somebody present at Macworld to share his general impressions and compare it to the previous. I watched keynote online and I have pretty the same view. I think Phil Schiller did really good job on stage especially couting that everybody was expecting to see another person present.

  2. I concur. Apple has developed a strong shared sense of how to present information and pitch its products smartly and succinctly. I’m not knocking the pitchmen as meaningless. They need to deliver the pitch with fluency. But the bases are already loaded—to use a baseball analogy—making it far easier to score a few runs. On the other hand, few presenters can overcome bad slides, pitch points or demo choices.

    If Shiller’s keynote shows anything, I think, it demonstrates in a small way the long-term impact of Jobs. I recently watched an old neXTSTEP presentation of Jobs that showcased all his good presentation skills against a simple whiteboard. The imprint of those skills can be found in Keynote (the app), in Apple keynotes, in the Apple Store and the App Store. It’s now a part of Apple’s DNA.

  3. Gazoobee

    Yeah, Phil was okay. The wording and pacing etc. was very similar if not exactly the same as Steve’s presentations so the writer was probably the same. I don’t think Steve or Phil necessarily plots out the presentation itself, but perhaps they do.

    The main difference I noted is that Phil was less polished than Steve is and had some “trouth-mubble” from time to time. Steve is noted for going over his presentations again and again, rehearsing them in front of a mirror, and also with the projector, which is highly recommended by presentation experts but which most people almost never do apparently.

    Needless to say, Phil had excellent reasons fro being extremely nervous and it looked like that might be the whole explanations for whatever minor problems he had. He’ll do better next time also.