Apple Comm Meeting – June 28, 2007 – Town Hall, 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA
Comm meetings at Apple happen a couple of times a year, with no particular schedule. While I was at Apple the meetings consisted of Steve (and later, Tim Cook) talking about the most important company news at the time. After the planned remarks, the floor was opened up for questions and if Steve or Tim could not answer the question, the entire executive team was there to provide an answer.
But the Comm meeting on June 28, 2007 was different. This Comm meeting was being held the day before the first iPhone was going on sale. I didn’t work on the iPhone development team but I could see it was going to be a game changer. A lot of people could see that at the time. Now everybody can see that it was.
Take a moment to remember what smart phones were like before the iPhone was introduced. Here’s a still frame from the iPhone introduction at Macworld in January 2007. Today’s world of mobile phones bears no resemblance to those of 2007.
Town Hall at Apple’s Infinite Loop campus is a small auditorium that was used as the locus for Apple’s Comm meetings. It was where the people running the meeting were located. But these events were for all employees and because the number of employees was numerous and people were spread across multiple sites, there were a number of remote viewing locations on Apple’s campuses in Cupertino as well as other places in the world. Town Hall holds only about 300 people so essentially everyone watched the Comm meetings from one of many remote locations on various Apple campuses where it was broadcast in real time. Typically I would go to Caffé Macs which could hold a large number of people.
For this Comm meeting I wanted to be inside of Town Hall rather than watching from one of the remote viewing sites. I wanted to be in the room. That meant going very early to get in line. Even after arriving probably 2 hours early it was still hard to get in but Bunny Laden, Howard Miller, and I managed to get seats at the back of the auditorium. We’d made it in.
The buzz in the room was extreme. Steve’s arrival on stage was met with huge applause. He looked triumphant. I don’t remember a lot of details about what was said but mostly remember just the feeling of excitement about what was to come.
One big moment was when Steve announced that Apple was going to give an iPhone to every Apple employee. The excitement that was already present went up tenfold as everyone leapt out of their seats into a huge standing ovation that lasted quite a while. The cheers and yelling got even louder when Steve said that it would be the (larger) 8 GB capacity iPhone we would all be getting.
During the Q&A portion a lot of people in the audience had questions. After one or two questions about the iPhone, someone asked about something that had nothing to do with the iPhone or the whole point of the meeting. Steve was taken aback. The next question was similarly irrelevant to the meeting at hand. Annoyed, Steve answered that question with something like: “Today isn’t the day to talk about that. Today is the day to reflect on what we’ve done and what is going to happen.” THAT was why I wanted to be in that room. To hear him talk and reflect about what the team had done and what was going to happen.
If you are reading this blog, the chances are great that if you pull your phone out of your purse or pocket and look at it, you’ll see something like mine. If it isn’t an iPhone it almost certainly looks more like an iPhone than one of those phones Steve waved at during the iPhone introduction at Macworld.
Of course every day is the day before the world changed because the world is constantly changing. But the feeling of anticipation and excitement I had about the future of technology that day was unlike any other I had while working at Apple. On the day before the world changed.