Q&A with Steve Jobs – WWDC (1997)

Refreshing presentation from Steve Jobs at WWDC 1997 where Steve shares his strong opinion on technology and where Apple should be headed. Remember, at this point in time, Steve Jobs was still an advisor to Apple which was bleeding money from all sides. It’s also the first time Steve took the stage on his own for Apple – and he took every opportunity to share his personal opinion on the poor state of the company.

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His presentation, made in a Q&A format, was held at the end of the four-days WWDC conference on May 16. Although he didn’t unveil any products, he did introduce a new strategy for the company, best summed up by the five words “focus is about saying no”. This would become a recurrent theme for Apple in years to come.

In his typical bravado, Steve spoke his mind and took questions from some angry developers – one instance which is now infamous – a personal attack from a disgruntled OpenDoc developer (check the video at 50 min). WWDC 1997 also marks the last public appearance of CEO Gil Amelio which was fired on July 4th (how symbolic), 6 weeks after WWDC.

Steve Jobs WWDC 1997 summary

Power computing Macintosh clone.jpg

Macintosh clone from Power computing.

02:15. Start of Q&A
14:45. Cloud computing vision
21:15. “Build amazing apps”
26:45. Larry Ellison
28:50. Apple’s entrepreneurial story
32:43. Apple & Microsoft
34:41. The clones
45:50. TV ads (WATCH THIS and remember that 5 months later, Steve Jobs would reveal the Think Different campaign)
50:26. OPENDoc resistance: Steve answer to a “personal” attack
56:00. Why Apple?
1:01:05. Newton
1:09:23. Bright future

Date: May 16, 1997
Location: San Jose Convention Center, San Jose
Steve was 42 years old.

A look at the past – Apple’s WWDC 1997 Press Release

Things in 1997 where a lot different than today. Here’s an excerpt of the Press Release invitation for the event. You’ll notice old technologies that felt under Steve Jobs’ hatchet and never saw the light of day. Hello Rhapsody.

Developers to get First look at Rhapsody and “Hands on” With Mac OS 8 at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference

Rhapsody, Mac OS, Internet & Enterprise, Interactive Media, and Hardware Sessions Give Developers Grand Tour of What’s Up at Apple

CUPERTINO, Calif.–April 21, 1997–Apple Computer, Inc. today announced that its upcoming annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will showcase a wide range of Apple technologies for software and hardware developers–from an overview of Apple’s upcoming hardware to in-depth sessions on operating system and multimedia technologies. At WWDC 1997 Apple also plans to demonstrate an early version of Apple’s next generation operating system, code named Rhapsody, as well as previewing Mac OS 8, a major upgrade to Mac OS planned for release in July 1997. Apple remains on schedule to deliver a developer version of Rhapsody later this year, in preparation for the introduction of customer releases of the operating system in 1998. The WWDC runs May 13-16, 1997 at San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, Calif.

Details on the conference can be found at Apple’s Developer World website at: http://devworld.apple.com/

Gil Amelio at WWDC 1997

Gil Amelio 6 weeks before being housted by Apple – and Steve Jobs

The opening keynote on May 13 will be given by Apple Chairman and CEO, Dr. Gilbert F. Amelioand include contributions from senior Apple executives, including Avie Tevanian, senior vice president Software Engineering and Jon Rubinstein, senior vice president Hardware Engineering. Further keynotes will be given by Apple Fellow Guy Kawasaki and Guerrino De Luca, executive vice president of Marketing, Apple Computer Inc. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs will also be hosting a special “fireside chat” at the conference.

Taking into account developer feedback from previous WWDC events, this year’s conference will focus on in-depth technical briefings dedicated to a more specialist technical audience. As such, Apple anticipates that this year’s conference will be attended primarily by third-party technical personnel. The four days of the conference will also be prefaced by a marketing forum on Monday May 12. Here Apple’s planned software, marketing, distribution, and co-marketing programs for WWDC 1997 will be discussed. This will be hosted by Guerrino De Luca.

David Krathwohl, vice president, Developer Relations at Apple said, “Developers have defined the Macintosh platform since 1984, pioneering markets in home, education and business through innovative software and hardware. This year’s WWDC will give developers the opportunity to plot the next generation of innovation by giving them the hard technical information they need to plan development strategies for Rhapsody, Mac OS, Internet, and interactive media. WWDC 1997 will also be one of our first opportunities to welcome NeXT Software developers to the Mac community and we look forward to sharing their OPENSTEP development expertise.”

The WWDC 1997 itself, beginning on May 13 will include five separate tracks:

Rhapsody Track at WWC 1997

Apple Rhapsody screenhsot (unveiled at WWDC 1997)

Apple Rhapsody screenhsot

Apple’s current plans for Rhapsody remain on schedule. This means that, while the Rhapsody Developer Release, scheduled for mid year will not be available at the conference–the technical sessions and demonstrations will clearly demonstrate the significant strides that have been made in the operating system’s development.

During the Conference, attendees will receive an in-depth look at the key technology components of Rhapsody. Major topic areas include core OS features, such as the Mach-based kernel; development API’s and an overview of the cross-platform and enhanced OPENSTEP development environment; user experience guidelines, imaging and printing systems, and localization features. Additional topic categories include Mac OS compatibility, Rhapsody’s distributed computing model, and unique Internet capabilities.

There will also be a number of sessions detailing the tools available for Rhapsody development and transition strategies to assist in effective product planning. Seminars in other tracks cover a wide range of new opportunities that Rhapsody applications will have for Internet/intranet, multimedia, and database integration use.

Mac OS Track at WWDC 1997

Mac OS 8

Mac OS 8 with it’s various themes

Apple will continue to enhance and improve the Mac OS in a complementary path with Rhapsody. The Mac OS conference track will include features and timing of future Mac OS releases, including Mac OS 8. Mac OS sessions will include: Core OS Changes, User Experience Technologies, Graphics, International Technologies, Optimization Tips, Networking, Tools, and Component Technologies.

Mac OS 8 will be a significant upgrade for Mac OS customers and developers, extending Mac OS leadership in areas such as user experience, multimedia, and Internet. Among its new features, Mac OS 8 includes a multi-tasking, PowerPC-native Finder, with folders that automatically open and windows that pop-up from the bottom of the screen, helping customers organize their work and content. Market-leading Internet services will also be integrated for connecting, browsing, and sharing information around the world.

Internet & Enterprise Track at WWDC 1997


WebObjects from NeXT

This track will focus upon Internet platform technologies, focusing on the Mac OS, WebObjects, and Java. Mac OS topics include publishing opportunities and developing dynamic applications on the web. The WebObjects Platform represents a breakthrough Internet development environment and an overview of WebObjects technologies, tools, optimization techniques, and business opportunities will be presented.

An underlying thread to Apple’s operating system strategy is the support of Java. Sessions on the Java Platform, Mac OS Runtime for Java, Java-based applications for Rhapsody, and Java for C++ Programmers will be a key part of the conference.

Interactive Media Track at WWDC 1997

Creative tools and software that enable rich media authoring and playback, both at the desktop and on the Internet, are a major reason for the Mac OS platform’s strength in creative and broadcast markets. This conference track presents an integrated technical strategy for developing cross platform digital media tools and applications.

Apple recently announced QuickTime 3.0 a major advance in the industry-standard digital media system software for Mac OS and Windows. QuickTime 3.0 is the newest release of the Company’s widely adopted software architecture for creating and publishing digital media. QuickTime 3.0 is significant for developers because it marks the first time the full power of QuickTime –including the ability to capture, edit, compress, and playback digital media–is available for all major personal computer platforms, including Macintosh System 7.x , Mac OS 7.6, Windows 95, Windows NT 4.0 and the forthcoming Mac OS 8.

Technical directions, priorities, and implementation approaches will be detailed for Apple’s foundation technologies within the QuickTime Media Layer (QTML) architecture. QuickTime, QuickTime VR, and QuickDraw 3D will be discussed in depth. The integration of QTML with the Mac OS, Rhapsody, and Windows platforms, as well as the Internet, will be the foundation for these sessions.

Hardware Track at WWDC 1997

At WWDC Apple will outline what is planned for Apple’s Desktop, Portable, and Server product offerings. Also covered will be PowerPC developments, I/O technologies, and a Common Hardware Reference Platform (CHRP) update. Breakout sessions will provide detailed technical information on multiprocessing, hardware I/O (Firewire, SCSI, Personal Computer Interconnect (PCI) , Universal Serial Bus (USB) and memory), and specifications for upcoming hardware product offerings.