Today, I took some time to watch Steve Jobs’ iPod nano Webcast. I’ve got to tell you that he gives a better performance than most magicians. And the slight of hands are amazingly subtle. For example, he used iChat to video conference with Madonna in London.
Nice showcase of the videoconferencing capabilities, except Madonna wasn’t using iChat. She was sitting in a studio somewhere, one of those green screen deals where a camera superimposes the background. I’ve done those here in Washington. There’s a green screen behind me, but the people watching the newscast see a shot of the U.S. Capitol. I laughed roarously, because Steve spoke with Madonna evening London time, but the scene behind was daylight.
Other slight of hands were typical, although I wonder how many people got them. For example, he remarkably emphasized the benefits of the new Motorola iTunes phone, making it seem so smart, so innovative. He smoothed over the oh-so two-years-ago candybar shape and tiny 100-song capacity. The iPod nano wasn’t the only small item for show; so was the puny capacity of that iTunes phone.
Still, his pitch was effective, no doubt. Steve sells aspiration, and with real class. On a bad day, people walk away thinking that if they buy new product x, in this case the iPod nano, their lives will be better. On a good day, people walk away convinced that if they don’t buy the new product, they’re lives will be worse. There’s charm in his presentation.