Hear Steve Jobs demo his NeXT computer in 1988

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2020
An audio recording of Steve Jobs revealing the NeXT computer shortly after its official launch has been released in full.

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs


On November 30, 1988, Steve Jobs gave one of the first public demonstrations of the then brand-new NeXT Computer to the Boston Computer Society. An audio recording was made of the entire event and it has now been released online.

Harry McCracken was in the audience at the time and has written about the experience of that night, and of the new audio discovery, for Fast Company.

"Sitting there being wowed by the machine was an oddly bittersweet experience," he writes. "At $6,500, it was so far out of my price range that desiring one was purely aspirational, like lusting after a Lamborghini. But at evening's end, as we streamed out of Jobs's reality-distortion field back into the chilly Boston air, each of us got a NeXT product to take home: a glossy poster depicting the cube in all its unattainable glory."

The Boston Computer Society used to regularly video its meetings and presentations. "The NeXT session, however, was not among the ones that had been videotaped," says McCracken.

"[But] in 1988, when I was basking in Jobs's presentation, [Charles] Mann was elsewhere in the hall recording it [on audio]."

This audio recording is one of three that feature Jobs, and one of 92 that were made of Boston Computer Society meetings and similar events. It's a trove of computing history, as spoken at the time by the likes of Jobs, Bill Gates and more.

The episodes, covering nine years from the early 1980s, are all available now on SoundCloud.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    RIP Steve, the original spirit of Apple. The company of today really is an echo of his vision for NEXT in so many ways, as is made clear from this presentation.
    edited September 2020 auxiocornchippulseimageswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 7
    A relative who is a programmer used to use a Next cube computer. They said it was a terrific system (and it looked amazing).
    cornchippulseimageshodarwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 7
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,331member
    Only ever saw one NeXT cube in my life, and it was in the office of one of my university professors.  I remember being quite intrigued by it since I had been using the NeXTSTEP GUI clone on my Linux machine for a while and really liked it.  But yeah, same as Harry, it was far out of my starving student price range.
    edited September 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 7
    I saw him give the presentation at Cornell in 1989 (I think), and hung around to ask him how he was able to get the technology for using a writable CD in the machine, as no computer with one existed at that point – CDs were only things you bought at a store with music on them. He wryly smiled and said he was unable to share anything about that.
    hodarGG1cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 7
    hodarhodar Posts: 337member
    Really doesn't matte what industry you are in - NOBODY comes close to the presentation finesse and skill that Steve Jobs delivered, and demanded from his team.  Even today, years after his death - his company's presentation style and basic skills are among the best of any company, anywhere.

    If you deal with sales, or presenting for your company - reviewing Apple's presentations is time very well spent.  No detail is unrehearsed, no inflection is accidental, no sentence is ad lib.  It's practiced, it's timed, it's paced and organized such that those who want a high level review get it; and those who want to look deeper, can review it and look not only what is said, but what is on the screen and get a much broader understanding.

    Simply masterful.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 7
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,331member
    hodar said:
    If you deal with sales, or presenting for your company - reviewing Apple's presentations is time very well spent.  No detail is unrehearsed, no inflection is accidental, no sentence is ad lib.  It's practiced, it's timed, it's paced and organized such that those who want a high level review get it; and those who want to look deeper, can review it and look not only what is said, but what is on the screen and get a much broader understanding.
    Even if one analyzes all of the details of how Steve did presentations, it's just simply rare to find anyone with that kind of passion for, and deep understanding of, how the products being presented connect with human needs and desires.  Him and his team had come up with the vision and guided the creation of those products from beginning to end, so he knew them through and through.  He was then able to convey that vision in a clear and concise way which didn't require the audience to have any sort of in depth knowledge of the product.  He spoke directly to the needs and desires the products were designed to fulfill.  It also helps to be presenting products which can truly be transformative instead of being mostly marketing hype.
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 7
    In 1989 I attended a NeXT presentation in the Reston, VA area, and Steve presented the product, and even ran the demos. At a time when people coded programs on monochromatic text screens, I recall his example of creating a program graphically by defining the various objects, laying them out into a process, and it was ready to run. It was OpenStep. 

    https://youtu.be/dl0CbKYUFTY

    Granted, it was not a sophisticated or complex program, but the demo was intended to show how quickly and easily programs could be written. 
    edited September 2020 watto_cobra
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