Sunday, we went ahead and tried to see what we could see. I wouldn't do this. The staff at the Moscone Center are very
polite, but also very stern. It's like trying to walk into Apple HQ—you are not allowed.
So Monday is the day to pick up your passes and grab some
free magazines. There's a guy at the Moscone with a great accent (sounded Italian), can't remember his name, but he was
fantastic. He handled us so pleasantly, and we got our passes in no time flat. In fact, when my companions bought
tickets to some soiree nearby (for Tuesday night), he gave detailed directions on how to get there with this addition,
"go and dance for me. I used to go and dance all the time, but now I do not, so go and dance and enjoy for
Monday's registration begins to get you in the mood for this whole Apple lovefest thing, but I had
no idea how crazy it would really get. We wandered downstairs to look at the plasma screens (no Apple logos on them, so
there went that theory), and just generally get into trouble. We hung a right, and found stacks of great magazines all
for free! Macaddict, Macworld (duh), and several niche design mags that I ate up with a spoon. That's why they give you
a tote bag when you register. And so you know, pretty much the entire process and staff is handled with a variety of
Macs. From iBooks to Powerbooks to eMacs to the old G4 iMac, they are everywhere. For someone who works in a room full
of Dells, I immediately thought I'd died and gone to IT blissful heaven.
As we continued our push deeper into the bowels of the
Moscone we could kind of peek into the exhibit hall as some exhibitors went in. And then, all of a sudden, I ran into
an old high-school chum I hadn't seen since 1990. It truly is a small world. Unfortunately, he had never heard of TUAW.
So I educated him. Daniel, you better be a regular reader from now on buddy. Ultimately, there isn't much to see on
Monday, because nothing has started. It's still very cool that they let you run around anyway, just to get a lay of the
Well, the rest of the day was spent at Fisherman's Wharf, so I won't bore you with our touristy
details. I will say this though: Sunday and Monday had some of the best weather ever. We could see all the way out to
Belvedere and beyond, which is apparently quite a feat. This morning it's so foggy I can barely see the first tower on
Bay Bridge (just outside our window).
So on Tuesday morning for the
keynote, we got up at 4 am. Even staying a couple of blocks away, this is a good idea. By the time we got there the
line extended around to the back of Moscone, tightly wrapped around the building, and we were standing in a park area
in the back. Then we all had to move onto the sidewalk, some distance out. By this time it's 5:30 am, and people are
arriving in droves. I have never seen so many Starbucks coffee cups in all my life. Standing in line like a bunch of
maniacs is also a great time to get to know your other Mac brethren. I'm amazed at the folks who are just there because
work sent them, and not because this is a pilgrimage or something for their own personal gratification.
Eventually they started letting us queue up inside, which
was pretty easy. As you snake your way down the huge escalator, you wind up getting put into what I could only describe
as a holding pen for geeks. In three big lines, we sat for nearly an hour. No wireless, but thanks to the magic of
Bonjour, several of us IM'ed and then met face to face. One guy was an avid reader, but several others asked what TUAW
meant (that was my available message)... After some re-nerducation, and a little hand shaking and so forth, we all
wound up just admiring the gadgets and glory of the Mac experience. One guy in front of me was showing off an ancient
Newton. That probably would have worked better than my system for reporting on the keynote, but I digress.
Within another hour or so, all our legs had fallen asleep, so we stood up. I anticipated another orderly single-file
move into the big room where we'd see the keynote. Instead, it was, as Leo Laporte put it, a "mad dash for open
seating at an Aerosmith concert." It began as a simple move forward, but quickly devolved to angry Moscone and
Apple employees shouting "no running" like lifeguards at the kiddy pool. It was a little nuts. Did we all
somehow know this was to be a historic keynote?
Adding to the fun were some operational and non-operational
escalators. Really, all of them should have been shut down, as the constant motion of one led to just a bit of a human
crush of people. But at some point, we made it into the hall. Naturally, all the VIP's had been seated. My family tried
to find a good spot, and when they opened up one of the VIP seating areas, we got to sit just a few rows back from the
likes of Guy Kawasaki (I later got to shake his hand). We were in the first group of seats, on the far right hand side,
opposite the hall from all the media cameras. While it was far away from Steve when he does the demos, there aren't any
bad seats in the hall. At least not when the RDF kicks in.
Within a few
minutes of sitting down, it seemed like everyone was hushed, and the lights went low, the stage lighting came up, and
Jobs appeared. You know all the details by now, and then some. iPods are indeed taking over, sales overall are great.
iWeb is "web publishing for the rest of us." iWork is "an iterative release." Intel's CEO came out
in a puff of smoke, presenting Jobs the chip as though it were the One True Ring. And those nifty new Intel Macs, mm mm
good. There were a bunch of campus reps sitting behind and to the side of me, absolutely lapping it all up. Their
enthusiasm was contagious, although I have to admit the RDF didn't fully permeate me as I had expected. Must have taken
the right meds that day. But I'll rain on the parade in another post.
After the keynote, Steve left us
basking in the afterglow of what was a monumental, if not utterly astounding, keynote. The lights came up, and everyone
ran for the door. Well, it was pretty orderly. I can only assume most folks were going to the Apple store to buy that FM
tuner. Because, you know, THAT has been the one thing those holdouts have been waiting for...
So we hung back
for a bit. Thanks to the magic of those badges, I saw a parade of big shots as the VIP section emptied out with the rest
of us peons. Intel bigwigs, media big shots, and other people who make more money in a day than I'll see in my life.
Immediately I spotted Guy Kawasaki (didn't need the badge to recognize him). All I asked for was a handshake, which he
gave graciously as he had a phone call.
As I stood there gawking at the rich folks, another familiar face
drifted by... A short, stocky man with a ponytail, facial hair, and Oakley's with headphones built-in... He seemed
familiar. To make sure, I looked at his badge. Steve Wozniak, Wheels of Zeus. As the kids say, OMFG. Again, being the
meek mortal that I am, I merely asked for a handshake. Flashing that trademark grin, he gladly obliged. Thanks Woz,
you're a class act all the way.
Everyone filters out of the keynote
upstairs, and has to wait a bit before getting in to the real show floor. Again, we passed by several recognizable
names and faces from the media, Apple, and elsewhere. For some people this is probably a pretty normal experience, but
for me, it was really cool to be rubbing elbows (albeit anonymously) with the elite of the tech world. Still, one of
the coolest things about the keynote had to be the air of excitement as we all walked out just brimming with the joy of
shiny new things.
UPDATE: Here's the link from Guy Kawasaki showing Steve's
slideshow. You'll need to download the FilmLoop viewer, but it's available for Mac and PC.