While watching Apple's keynote earlier this week, I was particularly struck by Craig Federighi's presentation. He was affable, felt comfortable on stage, was informative, interacted with the audience and even had a few zingers to boot.
That said, it's likely no coincidence that Federighi received the most stage time on Monday, handling presentation duties both for OS X Mavericks and iOS 7.
The Wall Street Journal today has an interesting profile on Federighi, an important member of Apple's executive team that many people may not know much about.
The lanky, 44-year-old engineer has a long Apple pedigree. He worked at Next, the other computer company founded by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, and joined Apple when it acquired the company in 1997.
But despite earning the respect of colleagues for his focus and affability, he has remained behind the scenes for years. Mr. Federighi spent much of his career working on enterprise software, which has never been Apple's focus.
Interestingly enough, the Journal notes that Federighi's career began alongside Scott Forstall when the two worked at NeXT together back in the early '90s. While Forstall quickly rose through the ranks after Apple acquired NeXT, Federighi's enterprise-centric expertise eventually prompted him to leave Apple for Ariba where he would ultimately become the company's CTO.
In 2009, Federighi returned to Apple to head up OS X engineering.
While Scott Forstall was reportedly a divisive figure within Apple, Federighi appears to be more of a team player who operates by consensus. Consequently, the Journal notes that some decisions regarding Apple's software direction have taken longer to implement.
All in all, it might be too early to call Federighi the new face of Apple, but I wouldn't be surprised if we start seeing a lot more of him at Apple special events in the future.
The Journal has a lot more on Federighi that's definitely worth a read.
Incidentally, my favorite Federighi quip during the keynote was when he announced that OS X Mavericks would finally offer support for multiple displays. The crowd began applauding wildly, whereupon Federighi jokingly clarified that Apple's wasn't actually giving away new displays to users, remarking that it's "just software."