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Steve Jobs speech from 1983 foretells rise of mobile computing, iPad

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
The full-length version of a "lost" Steve Jobs speech given at the Design Conference in Aspen was unearthed and posted to the web on Tuesday, illustrating some of the prescient insights the late tech guru offered as to how computers would one day be an overwhelming presence in our lives.

Jobs 1983 Speech
Cassette tape of Jobs' 1983 Aspen speech. | Source: LifeLibertyTech.com


AppleInsider first reported on the 1983 speech in August, though that copy was merely a 20-minute snippet of the full hour-long recording revealed on Tuesday.

The new audio comes from blog LifeLibertyTech.com, which obtained a cassette tape recording of the speech handed out to conference attendees.

Perhaps the highlight of the newly-published recording is a question and answer session in which Jobs describes mobile computing, pointing out that he would like to one day build a computer in a slate-like form-factor, much like the iPad.



Points of interest from the audio as noted by LifeLibertyTech:
  • He states that in a few years people will be spending more time interacting with personal computers than with cars. It seems so obvious now, but hardly a given back then.
  • He equates society?s level of technology familiarity to being on a ?first date? with personal computers. He recognized that technology would continue to evolve in the near future as would people?s comfort level with it. In hindsight, once it became dominant the PC industry stood relatively still while Jobs was busy planning ?the next big thing?.
  • He confidently talks about the personal computer being a new medium of communication. Again, this is before networking was commonplace or there was any inkling of the Internet going mainstream. Yet he specifically talks about early e-mail systems and how it is re-shaping communication. He matter-of-factly states that when we have portable computers with radio links, people could be walking around anywhere and pick up their e-mail. Again, this is 1983, at least 20 years before the era of mobile computing.
  • He discusses early networking and the mess of different protocols that existed at the time. He predicts that we were about 5 years away from ?solving? networking in the office and 10-15 years from solving networking in the home. I?d say he was pretty much dead-on.
  • He says Apple?s strategy is to ?put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you that you can learn how to use in 20 minutes?. Does that sound like anything we are familiar with today? And they wanted to do it with a ?radio link? so that people wouldn?t need to hook it up to anything to communicate with ?larger databases? and other computers. Hmmm ?.
  • Right at the end of the Q&A session, a question is asked about voice recognition, which he believed was the better part of a decade away from reality. Given the context of Siri today, it is interesting to hear him talk about the difficultly of recognizing language vs voice because language is contextually driven. He says, ?This stuff is hard?.

The recording is available for download on the publication's blog.
post #2 of 30

What the Anti-Apple Brigade pretends to forget is that marketing really seems to have been secondary for Jobs. Maybe he even jumped into marketing because he thought it would be a challenge for him.

 

Turn off the RDF, peek under the showmanship and the stage presence, ignore the choices made in print, audio, and video ads, and Steve Jobs was a true visionary in the industry itself, more so than all others, self-proclaimed or otherwise. He saw what others didn't (or couldn't). He dismissed a lot of what they did see. And he was right, far more often than not.

 

Also, don't do it again, Stephanie.


Edited by Tallest Skil - 10/2/12 at 4:49pm

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post #3 of 30

A terrible job was done cleaning up the audio, when it could be a whole lot better. The result is almost unintelligible. People think that just by using Audacity they're a pro--hence the name, I guess! Yup, the tape hiss was removed... along with a lot of information. Better equalization of what's been posted can help but it would be best to start with the original rip.


Edited by Cpsro - 10/3/12 at 6:07pm
post #4 of 30
Pretty cool that he basically predicted what we all are using right now. There won't be another like him for quite some time I bet.
post #5 of 30

That was right around the time that the first cell phones became available to the public in the US although we did have Motorola commercial radio phones before that. The first Mac 128k was released later that year. Seems like so long ago but I remember the time well. I wasn't an early adopter of Mac as I had a IBM PC 8088 around that time. I did get on the Mac bandwagon about 1984 though or whenever the Mac Plus was released.

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post #6 of 30
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Originally Posted by mstone View Post

That was right around the time that the first cell phones became available to the public in the US although we did have Motorola commercial radio phones before that. The first Mac 128k was released later that year. Seems like so long ago but I remember the time well. I wasn't an early adopter of Mac as I had a IBM PC 8088 around that time. I did get on the Mac bandwagon about 1984 though or whenever the Mac Plus was released.

You're such a bandwagon jumper.  My first was the Apple ][e.  

 

I was lucky enough to have a math professor for a dad.  I had a dumb terminal to a Dec 10 at home by the time I was 6.  Such a great life!

 

As one of the first kids to grow up surrounded by tech (and buried in science fiction books), I always assumed that one day we would be living in a world like this one.

 

I just didn't really expect to be here to see it.  

 

Steve not only expected it, he plotted a strategy to get there.

post #7 of 30
Here are some consideration for the appleHaters and plain sarcastic people:


1- A composer who plays no instrument still is a visionary of sound.

2- An architect who needs a structural engineer still is a visionary of form/space relationship.

3- Galileo, Da Vinci, Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, Picasso are all geniuses! They ALL borrowed from others, their work would have been not theirs without others people input.
post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by LTMP View Post

 

I was lucky enough to have a math professor for a dad.  I had a dumb terminal to a Dec 10 at home by the time I was 6.  Such a great life!

My mom was the math professor.

 

I seriously thought we would have flying cars or at least a jet pack by now.

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post #9 of 30
Pretty good stuff in there. I didn't listen to the Q&A since the questions were impossible to hear, but the way he foretold everything was pretty great indeed. He even foretold something that's yet to happen: people expressing themselves through logic (code) so that others in the future can actually ask them questions.
post #10 of 30
Mmm...even the waveform of his voice looks visionary!

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #11 of 30
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Originally Posted by LTMP View Post

You're such a bandwagon jumper.  My first was the Apple ][e.  

 

I was lucky enough to have a math professor for a dad.  I had a dumb terminal to a Dec 10 at home by the time I was 6.  Such a great life!

 

As one of the first kids to grow up surrounded by tech (and buried in science fiction books), I always assumed that one day we would be living in a world like this one.

 

I just didn't really expect to be here to see it.  

 

Steve not only expected it, he plotted a strategy to get there.

 

That was my first experience with Apple as well.  Some friends of mine had an Apple IIe, and my best friend's mom had an Apple IIc which looked like an early laptop with no screen.  She had a monochrome monitor to match as well.  We used to play old versions of Beyond Castle Wolfenstein and Spy Hunter and do some very basic programming.  Cell phones and the like were still only in Star Trek re-runs to me. 

post #12 of 30
While this is fascinating stuff, I'm not liking this whole 'every first week of October we'll milk a dead guy for page hits' business

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(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #13 of 30
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Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

While this is fascinating stuff, I'm not liking this whole 'every first week of October we'll milk a dead guy for page hits' business

But this is only the first week of the first October that the dead guy is dead....so.....what brings you to this conclusion?

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post #14 of 30

The mention of MIT coming to Aspen and creating an interactive video disk of the streetscape sounds something like.......Google's Streetview.

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post #15 of 30
Isaacson captured Steve's toying with the idea of "Macintosh in a book" in the bio. Not sure why its a big deal now.

I'm not sure "predict" is the right term. Steve clearly had the ideas in his head for such products. He had to wait for technology to catch up to his vision.
post #16 of 30

Doesn't surprise me. You listen to his closing keynote from the infamous MacWorld 1997 and he hinted to cloud computing, how computers would become devices, and how those devices would connect to (rather than store) our data.

"Picasso had a saying, 'Good artists copy, great artists steal.' And we've always been shameless about stealing great ideas."
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"Picasso had a saying, 'Good artists copy, great artists steal.' And we've always been shameless about stealing great ideas."
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post #17 of 30
HA! This awesome tape reveals (starting at the 11 minute mark) that people (Apple included) will fall back into 'old media habits' and demand TV on their computers.

Marshall Mcluhan was still decades ahead of Steve Jobs understanding the influence of technology on culture, but Steve took it to the next level by actually making the product itself.

"The next medium, whatever it is—it may be the extension of consciousness—will include television as its content, not as its environment, and will transform television into an art form. A computer as a research and communication instrument could enhance retrieval, obsolesce mass library organization, retrieve the individual's encyclopedic function and flip into a private line to speedily tailored data of a saleable kind."- Marshall McLuhan (1962)
Edited by Commodification - 10/2/12 at 9:40pm
We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.- Marshall McLuhan

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post #18 of 30

I admire Steve to a large degree, too, but in the world of technology marketing, if you have a big vision and tremendous persistence, it always seems to work-out.  I wouldn't exactly call him a prophet or even someone who in 1983 had any idea how to execute the mobile devices that he did in the 2000's, but he had a big vision and tremendous persistence.  I'm pleased it worked out for him.  It's too bad he passed so early, because I bet he would have written some interesting books in his old age.

 

Compare in constrast to the quote "Nobody needs more than 640K" (paraphrased) and you can see the difference between a classic marketer and a classic engineer.

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post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Mmm...even the waveform of his voice looks visionary!

lol.gif

post #20 of 30
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Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post

The mention of MIT coming to Aspen and creating an interactive video disk of the streetscape sounds something like.......Google's Streetview.

What does this have to do with M.I.T. exactly?
Edited by Vadania - 10/3/12 at 12:59am
post #21 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

While this is fascinating stuff, I'm not liking this whole 'every first week of October we'll milk a dead guy for page hits' business

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post

But this is only the first week of the first October that the dead guy is dead....so.....what brings you to this conclusion?

 

Jobs was connected to (and connected with) the public in a way Edison, Ford, Westinghouse, Tesla, Thomas Watson, Gates and a raft of others never have approached, even with his intense privacy.  (In the purely scientific realm, Einstein, abstract as he was, actually did speak to something in many on the other hand, and Carl Sagan was, of course, a masterful communicator of the current state of science, if not prominent for research himself).  And as we all know, the outpouring at SJ's death was amazing and launched a massive best seller and two (or more down the road) movies. And he'll still be in the business school curriculum a century from now.

Also having followed Apple since its prospective founding and having been on these forums for years, it's plain to see there is a tendency to almost deify him in some respects, or at least make him Saint Jobs of the first Church of Apple - many of the in-thread debates have a near-religious fervor, or at least equal to what you'll find on political forums.

 

And especially in the last year we've seen so many (way too many) "Steve would never have..." and "Steve is rolling in his grave about...." posts.  And to those (well-meaning) people I say go buy a WWSHD [What would Steve have done?] tee-shirt to walk around in and pipe down already, please.  Apple is now a giant corporation run by Tim Cook and Co., and what Steve would or wouldn't have done personally becomes an increasingly hypothetical and hollow rhetorical point, especially after the next strategic project cycle or two, because he's not around to tell us and the situations and market forces will be new.   

 

That is, there are two sides, as Apple was founded and inspired by Jobs, and I'm sure the corporate culture is trying to follow the blueprint and spirit of his leadership, but progressively it's going to be more and more about the current (and evolving) team are handling the challenges of 2013, 14, 20, etc., even though the history he left and the course he set before passing away will echo for decades in some ways. (That's still true of Watson's IBM, btw and I believe TJW, Sr. retired in the 1940's give or take.  IBM is still the "THINK" company - the signs with that motto were omnipresent all over the corporation - and it was paid homage in the ThinkPad line decades later, and, similarly, Apple will still be the "Think Different" company 20 years from now - unless management totally blows it.)   

 

However, back to the man himself (whom I was freshly and hugely re-impressed by in this audio) I think there will be a cult of personality around him for the foreseeable future and maybe longer, and the anniversary of his death will be a well-media visited event for years to come.  And he was (to me) at least the main thing that made Apple of such singularly compelling interest.

 

Which is why, personally, I find the corporation, while still an amazing cultural as well as business phenomenon, to be inherently (and increasingly) less interesting and iconic since he's passed.  An excellent businessman with preternatural skills at "supply chain management" (now there's something that'll keep hearts pumping), a knighted designer and the rest, who've so far simply iterated on Jobsian-era innovations are, taken all together, less a tenth as moving as their late, lamented, brilliant, quirky, volatile, visionary leader. 

So all I want from Apple itself now is to prove they can truly innovate and at the pace that he established.  Do that and I'm around for the long run, because it's a company that continues to extend the boundaries of what it's possible for me to do with tech in an intuitive way, free of malware.  Don't, i.e., demonstrate that without Steven P. Jobs, that for all their thousands of highly talented staff, they simply don't have that mojo any longer, and I'm going to become much more product agnostic in my technology-buying decisions and wider-ranging in my tech surfing time. 

   

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post #22 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ochyming View Post

Here are some consideration for the appleHaters and plain sarcastic people:
1- A composer who plays no instrument still is a visionary of sound.
2- An architect who needs a structural engineer still is a visionary of form/space relationship.
3- Galileo, Da Vinci, Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, Picasso are all geniuses! They ALL borrowed from others, their work would have been not theirs without others people input.

 

You forgot Michelangelo, Einstein, ...

I know lots of other people had similar predictions at the time.

And its like the weather forecast, you read sanity into it after the fact.

 

It makes me think about a certain soccer player in The Netherlands, the greatest player ever according to the fans.

But that wasn't enough, they seriously thought he was the greatest Dutchman ever in history, pure genius.

Really embarrassing.

 

J.

post #23 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigpics View Post


I don't buy into the scriptures you so cleverly eluded to. Don't buy the scriptures just buy his products. The products are at least feasible. Perhaps he is your new messiah...

Edited by Vadania - 10/3/12 at 2:08am
post #24 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnjnjn View Post

You forgot Michelangelo, Einstein, ...
I know lots of other people had similar predictions at the time.
And its like the weather forecast, you read sanity into it after the fact.

It makes me think about a certain soccer player in The Netherlands, the greatest player ever according to the fans.
But that wasn't enough, they seriously thought he was the greatest Dutchman ever in history, pure genius.
Really embarrassing.

J.

Yeah, then there was the other fella that developed Greek Fire... No need to get into a debate...
post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Commodification View Post

HA! This awesome tape reveals (starting at the 11 minute mark) that people (Apple included) will fall back into 'old media habits' and demand TV on their computers.

 

That's not what he meant by 'old media habits'. He clearly describes trying to apply old habits to new media technologies and goes on to give the example of the transition from radio to television. When television first came out, they basically pointed a camera at was basically a radio broadcast. It took a long time before people began learning how to use the media in new ways by designing unique production methods that made better use of visuals.

 

Computers as a form of communication medium didn't take off until the late 80's when bulletin board systems really began taking off; first smaller independent boards, then major ones such as, Prodigy, AOL, Delphi, etc.

Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #26 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vadania View Post


What does this have to do with M.I.T. exactly?

The fact that Steve mentioned in the speech that M.I.T. took street-level pictures throughout the streets of Aspen and created a video disk which allowed a virtual walk through town. I added that it sounds like Google StreetView....25 years before Google StreetView.

 

Did you even listen to the audio?

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post #27 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

That's not what he meant by 'old media habits'. He clearly describes trying to apply old habits to new media technologies and goes on to give the example of the transition from radio to television. When television first came out, they basically pointed a camera at was basically a radio broadcast. It took a long time before people began learning how to use the media in new ways by designing unique production methods that made better use of visuals.

Computers as a form of communication medium didn't take off until the late 80's when bulletin board systems really began taking off; first smaller independent boards, then major ones such as, Prodigy, AOL, Delphi, etc.

I agree with most of what you said, but my point is still valid that an Internet connected computer can do so much more than just being reduced to a glorified TV. The fact that so many people get so excited when there is some new App that allows a person to consume even more tv/video is just evidence of 'old media habits' are hard to kill. The truth is that average American already consumes nearly 150 hours a month of tv/video and that type of 'media bias' needs to be reduced not increased.
We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.- Marshall McLuhan

Join 'The New Middle Class Movement' @ http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Ne...45269528896164
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We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.- Marshall McLuhan

Join 'The New Middle Class Movement' @ http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Ne...45269528896164
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post #28 of 30
Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post

Did you even listen to the audio?

 

Do you really think he has an argument before starting an argument? lol.gif

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #29 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post

A terrible job was done cleaning up the audio, when it could be a whole lot better. The result is almost unintelligible. People think that just by using Audacity they're a pro--hence the name, I guess! Yup, the tape hiss was removed... along with a lot of information. Better equalization of what's been posted can help but it would be best to start with the original rip.

 

Certainly, it could have been digitized a lot better with the right equipment and know-how. I did the best I could with the equipment I had. I've been offered by a few people to do a better quality digitization from the original tape. Once things settle down a bit, I will entertain those offers. Thanks!

post #30 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post
 
  • He says Apple?s strategy is to ?put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you that you can learn how to use in 20 minutes?. Does that sound like anything we are familiar with today? And they wanted to do it with a ?radio link? so that people wouldn?t need to hook it up to anything to communicate with ?larger databases? and other computers. Hmmm ?.

 

 

Interestingly, in that Q&A response, Jobs says that the easy-to-learn computer they wanted to put into a book form already existed, and it was the Lisa.

 

He said the difficulty was in getting the Lisa's size and price down from large and $10,000, to book size and under $1,000.   He said Apple was working on it and figured it would be ready a bit over five years from then.


Edited by KDarling - 10/8/12 at 10:00am
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