Having done presentations and had some technical difficulties in the past, and being a producer of live theatrical events, where anything has the potential to go wrong, I know full well that pulling these things off flawlessly isn’t an easy job. And when something goes wrong there is no worse feeling in the world. During yesterday’s WWDC Keynote, Steve Jobs watched and the audience cringed as the network wouldn’t allow him to show a portion of the demo. Ouch. Steve then admonished the audience to turn off their WiFi and lay their laptops on the floor so he could go forward. You can imagine the embarrassment, you can imagine the smirks, and you can imagine that someone’s job is on the line.
Well, if you missed it, or just read the commentary surrounding it, you can watch the network woes in all their glory as Apple has posted the Keynote and left those sections in.
Aside from whatever jolly’s you might get from watching Jobs handle the moment, the episode does point up something we say here all the time. Though the presentation was using WiFi and not AT&T’s network, the choke point for all of these wonderful mobile devices that “change everything” is connectivity. Connecting with 3G, 4G, WiFi, whatever, offers great promise for mobility and freedom. Until it just doesn’t work.
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