Its been almost 2 months now since Steve Jobs got on the stage at WWDC 2010, Apple’s yearly conference filled with trade show exhibits for developers, and unveiled the iPhone 4. Its interesting to look back now at his Keynote address and despite the troubles the audience was creating with their personal wifi networks, Steve seemed especially happy about the iPhone 4 antenna design. His excitement leaves me to believe him when he says that report of him knowing before the iPhone 4 launch of its antenna issues are complete “Bull SH**”.
Steve demonstrated during WWDC 2010 exactly the way a presenter should act during difficult times when showing new products, ideas, or information. He knew he had the information that the audience wanted most and situated himself to be successful. He had back up images that he utilized when needed, waited on the audience to participate, and was genuinely excited about the product he was demonstrated. This included his love for the new antenna design.
If we fast forward a few weeks to the Press Conference he conducted and look at how he responded to the negative press and issues around that same antenna design, we can understand even more that Steve Jobs highest skill maybe public speaking. With the smaller audience, he leveraged his notes and gathered facts to do his best to demonstrate that the media was making a lot out of nothing. He pointed to the “flaw” in other phones, talked about return rates, and demonstrated that with already 3 million units sold, the iPhone 4 was the best iPhone yet, something he declared during WWDC 2010.
Steve seemed to believe that Apple was being punished by the media, and in many cases was successful in getting media outlets to admit to over-hyping the store. This article by Devin Coldewey from CrunchGear admits that the media outlets may have been publicly discussing too much, and not reporting nearly enough.
“Looking back on all the coverage, there was a lot of real-time discussion, but almost no reporting at all.”
But, Devin also highlights the art of Steve Jobs and how his public speaking skills help deflect many real and potential issues.
Steve didn’t leave the reports with a lot to fire back at Apple with. While he spent almost all his time detailing why the iPhone 4 Antenna issue wasn’t an issue at all, in the end he gave what most reporters were hoping for. Free cases and bumpers for iPhone 4 owners. This tactical move allowed Apple to avoid a second round of outcry by the press but still gave them the platform to make their point, that they didn’t believe the iPhone 4 antenna issue ever really existed.
Apple designs and builds some of the most impressive technical products available today, but one of their greatest assets is the public speaking and marketing ability of their CEO, Steve Jobs.