Amsterdam-based technologist Owen Williams has unearthed a gem from Apple’s 1997 World Wide Developers’ Conference, the year co-founder Steve Jobs returned to the company; the presenters’ slides. Gil Amelio was still in charge then, which explains why there are 174. Amelio was known for speaking at length, from a pile of index cards, and challenging the audience’s will to live. He is also remembered for buying NeXT, which brought Jobs back into the fold.
There were also some good presenters that year; Jon Rubinstein, who played an instrumental role in the development of the iMac and iPod, and Avie Tevanian, who led the company’s software development until 2006. The occasion was memorable, however, for the public return of Jobs, then just a consultant to the struggling company he had helped to create (Amelio was fired six weeks later). Jobs didn’t deliver a formal speech but he took questions for more than an hour, touching on topics from Microsoft and Larry Ellison to cloud computing, and his design philosophy.
He also advised people to buy Apple stock, then trading at around $17 a share. Today, it stands at the equivalent of $1,085 (or $155, post 2014’s 7-to-1 stock split). If you want to know what to expect from this year’s WWDC, Dan Frommer at Recode has some thoughts. And This Week in Tech has an interesting discussion about the prospects of Apple’s rumoured rival to Amazon’s Alexa.