The quick reference guide to Apple's keynotes
Macworld SF 1997
Tuesday, January 7, 1997
3 hours
Marriott Hotel, San Francisco
Public & Press
Gil Amelio
An abridged highlight reel is available on YouTube.
Some random footage from the event is available on ABC News's video web site, if you're willing to install SilverLight. Search for "Apple Computers Trying to Restore Its Polish".
Mac OS
Dr. Gilbert Frank Amelio
  • The 1984 Mac OS had limitations that still limit it today
  • Uses an analogy of a small Cessna airplane getting overloaded with more seats and bigger engines to describe the Mac OS
  • It's time to switch to a modern operating system
  • Mac OS System 7 will stick around as Blue Box, and the new modern OS is called Yellow Box
  • Looked at building Yellow Box in house or licensing an OS, but ended up buying Next's OpenStep to be Yellow Box
  • 6:49
    Steve Jobs
  • Says their mission is to provide relevant, compelling solutions that customers can only get from Apple
  • Gives some examples of markets created with Apple's help
  • Pretty Decent Joke
    Pretty Decent Joke
    To the photographers: "And you guys have to stop making me blind, or I'll fall off the stage like Bob Dole"
  • Uses a number-of-floors metaphor to describe DOS/Windows vs Mac
  • "At the risk of boring you," breaks down the Mach OS, a Unix operating system with the Mach kernel that currently runs on Intel processors and is being ported to Apple's computers
  • Tells a story about visiting Xerox, where they had three things to show him, but he was too blown away by graphical user interfaces to see the other two: object-oriented programming and networking
  • Pretty Decent Joke
    Pretty Decent Joke
    "If I just stayed for another 20 minutes..."
  • Goes into detail about the features of OpenStep
  • Apple will continue selling WebObjects
  • Does a demo of five QuickTime movies running in OpenStep and building an app in Interface Builder
  • 27:00
    Mac OS
    Dr. Gilbert Frank Amelio
  • Asks special guests aircraft engineer Burt Rutan, PacTel's Phil Quigley, Bank of America's David Coulter, performer Gregory Hines, actor Sinbad, biographer Howard Bingham, and Muhammad Ali to stand and be applauded
  • Recaps the OS plan and makes a promise regarding compatibility (so go ahead and buy a Mac today please)
  • Announces the new operating system will be called Rhapsody
  • Apple is going to continue releasing new operating system updates every six months
  • Third Party Demo
    Third Party Demo
    Exponential Technology's Joe Barda
    Shows how fast the X704 chip in a Mac can run against a Pentium Pro Windows machine
    Pretty Decent Joke
    Pretty Decent Joke
    "I didn't know I was going to be following Steve Jobs."
    "Join the crowd."
  • Asks Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak to come on stage
  • 39:05
    20th Anniversary Mac
    Satjiv Chahil
  • Unveils the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh, an all-in-one flat-panel computer that also plays television
  • Technical Difficulties
    When CNN won't appear on screen: "I didn't do my sacrifice to the demo gods earlier."
  • Directs people to a special web site to learn more about the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh
  • 43:35
    20th Anniversary Mac
    Dr. Gilbert Frank Amelio
  • Will give a Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh to both of them, with serial #1 to Steve Wozniak, and serial #0 to Steve Jobs
  • Free Audience Giveaway
    Free Audience Giveaway
    A VHS copy of Independence Day

    Like you, I'm a fan of Douglas Adams.

    As with any author, the amount of Douglassy (a Stephen Fry term) material out there is finite. But with Adams, it's especially finite, as he found writing to a deadline so frustrating, and was only able to come out with a handful of books before passing away at the far too young age of 49.

    I always find it a little sad whenever I approach the science fiction section of a bookstore; my eyes will inevitably start browsing with the "A" authors, and I know that I will never see a new Douglas Adams novel there. (Imagine my shock last year when I walked past the science fiction section of Waterstone's and saw a new Douglas Adams novel sitting on the shelf, grinning at me.)

    I don't have to tell you that Douglas Adams was a huge Apple fan, perhaps because he was Apple's most famous fan. He attended several Macworld and WWDC events, claims to be the first person in the UK to have bought a Macintosh, and was made an AppleMaster in 1999.

    The Macworld San Francisco in 1997 was a big one, in more way than one. Nearly the entire core of Apple's remaining supporters attended. Lots of mainstream media attended too, as this event heralded the return of Steve Jobs to Apple. It was also three hours long.

    In the 45-minute clip on YouTube linked above, Gil Amelio asks many celebrity Apple-fans to stand and be applauded, like Gregory Hines and Muhammad Ali, but not Douglas Adams. In an excellent New Yorker write-up on Apple's tumultuous 1996 and 1997, author John Heilemann notes that celebrity Apple-fans Jeff Goldblum and Peter Gabriel were invited on-stage, but doesn't mention Douglas Adams. The New York Times's piece on the keynote, which also doesn't mention Douglas Adams, notes the incongruousness of Apple's delight at how a PowerBook saved the world in the movie Independence Day, even though that notebook was recalled because it would sometimes catch on fire. (Apple actually velcroed a free VHS copy of the movie underneath everyone's seat at the keynote.)

    In trying to find more footage of this three-hour extravaganza, I stumbled upon ABC News's video service, and found that they had lots of b-roll and a few random clips from the keynote. The footage is mostly boring set-up and audience shots, as the accompanying index notes: "...00:50 Jobs looking at notebook computer...01:36 Jobs conferring w/ guy w/ hair tied back in ponytail...10:40 Video presentation w/ clips from film Independence Day, about Apple's new message..."

    Imagine my surprise and delight to find instead, at 10 minutes and 40 seconds in, a recording of Douglas Adams saying something very Douglassy about Apple. In all my prior research, I never knew Douglas Adams had anything to do with the Macworld 1997 keynote. And he just suddenly pops up on screen to say hello, saying something I've never seen attributed to him before:

    "We want a clear message from Apple about what they're about. What they want to do. And all we get is messages about how there will be a new message. How the new message is that there IS a new message. But what is the message? I don't know."

    Hi Douglas. Good to see you again.