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Watch The Apple Keynote Network Meltdown



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.




    06/08/2010 at 6:34 am

    well it would help if not every tech journalist in the world have made mifi their love child. The thing is a wifi router with a range of 100 meters pr default.

    i wonder how much its a construct of US telcos making tethering a premium service tho.

  2. GET

    06/08/2010 at 6:44 am

    Room wide wifi with more or less open access? Steve did not have a separate, secure, wifi connection for his own presentation? His feed could easily be rebroadcast on the open net. I guess that open access just isn’t something that Steve can get his corporate head around.


      06/08/2010 at 6:55 am

      i keep seeing this, and no thats not what happened.

      basically, a device called mifi have become more and more popular among tech journalists and bloggers. Its a device that bridges a 3G phone connection with a wifi connection. Now consider if every person in that room carried such a device to provide connection for their laptop, camera (equiped with eyefi SD cards so that the photo is up on the web the moment its snapped) and other wifi enabled devices. Thats some 700 wifi transmitters, all broadcasting on a limited number of channels (11, iirc). The only way apple could make it work flawlessly was if they put up a room wide wifi on one channel, told everyone on entry to hand over any phone or mifi that could act as a wifi router, and then have the demos go by way of a second network that only apple staff could access.

      interestingly enough tho, google seemed to take wifi troubles in strides during their google IO when demoing push features. I wonder if its the scientist/experimentalist mentality, where one accept failure as a possible or even likely outcome.

      • ChrisRS

        06/09/2010 at 8:39 am

        It is not that complicated. Apple could have and surely must have set up a security enable wif hot spot with control overer who couls log in. MIFIs in the room could not connect to this feed. There could be problems with teh cahnnel selected but I am sure that would have been addressed.

  3. Ben

    06/08/2010 at 7:40 am

    Apple evidently isn’t too embarrassed if they posted the video for all to see.

    • Zach

      06/09/2010 at 1:04 am

      I was watching live feeds when it happened. It lasted a lot longer then this. Probably around 2 minutes. Steve asked for help from someone, but I don’t remember who. Steve also tried to use AT&T but got error messages saying he didn’t have service. Someone yelled “Try Verizon” and then Steve moved on.

      It wasn’t something they planned for but it will be from now on, that’s for sure. Steve had to be very angry and tried to lighten the mood by repeatedly hinting for people to turn off their wifi.

  4. ricktheprick

    06/08/2010 at 10:40 am

    What? The smartest man in the world, supported by his Apple geniuses, could not get this right?

    The most rookie IT guy in the world should be able to take care of this type of set-up. He’s not on a dedicated, closed network?

    Sheesh. What a joke.

  5. GET

    06/08/2010 at 11:21 am

    To put my past point more succinctly: If this company can’t handle a big demo network then why should I believe that their products are worth the investment. Those networks do give Steve the dickens.

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