In: Steve Jobs. It sometimes seems as if its Steve's world and we just rent in it. He now looks skyward -- towards the conquest of the cloud.
At today's Apple Inc.'s annual developers' conference -- accompanied by James Brown's "I Feel Good," a vague reference to the premature gossip of his demise -- Steve Jobs, gaunt, marked his second major public appearance since he went on medical leave in January. For over a decade this blogger has covered Apple (from way back in 2000, for MacDirectory where I was editor) and have found it's CEO and founder to be an utterly fascinating media player. Jobs weds an acute aesthetic sense -- the amazing design of Apple products -- with his inner techie geek. It is a simultaneously odd and irresistible combination, the merging of beauty and technology. Jobs seems to be saying that "beauty" is the shortest route between technology and efficiency and the consumer appears to agree.
And so, 25 million iPads later, let's look at Steve's latest offerings.
Jobs unveiled an operating system update for Mac computers called Lion. With it, Apple is expanding the ways finger-touches can be used to control the software. For instance, with the swipe of the fingers over the Mac trackpad, the user can switch from one program to another.
In another nod to bringing the computer closer to the iPhone and iPad, Apple is adapting more of its programs to run in a special full-screen mode, in addition to the traditional "window" mode.
Lion will be available to consumers next month for $30. A preview version was made available Monday to software developers.The overall effect of all this is that Apple's latest offerings always seem ... inevitable. As if they had to be invented; as if Steve Jobs is driving the future of technology. Apple's competitors, as a result, always seem to be playing catch up, copying their innovations.
Out: Congressman Anthony Weiner. He was supposed to be the next Mayor of the city of New York, instead his political capital is slowly evaporating.
There is a certain nebulousness surrounding Congressman Weiner in this, his hour of the wolf. As the Congressman continues to cancel scheduled appearances and becoming more and more of a joke on the talking heads shows -- both left and right, no one really knows what is going on. That works to Weiner's disadvantage. He is essentially following an Old Media script in the New Media narrative.
When will they ever learn?
This blogger hasn't the faintest idea what exactly happened to Weiner on Twitter and in his AOL Mail account. Does the crotch belong to the Congressman? Was he hacked?
Weiner should have come clean and answered all questions surrounding the Tweet at the outset so that the social conversation could go back to matters concerning the debt ceiling, what to do about high unemployment, gas prices and, of course, the housing crisis. Weiner is smart enough to know how the game is played.
If he is indeed innocent, he will have his defenders and, most likely the story would go away. Instead, everyone -- even his staunchest defenders -- have nothing to go on. It seems as if Weiner is guilty of doing something vaguely sextual (and is that even such a Major Thing?) Congressman Weiner, one of the sharpest knives in Congress, has become against all odds a national joke. Tragically it is the Congressman's Old Media silence that has made it so.
In: Katie Couric. Although unemployment is at 9.1% -- up a tenth of a percentage point from the previous month -- you can't keep a good woman down. Couric is scheduled to become Oprah's heir apparent, and if anyone can do it -- mixing smarts with more saccharine fare in the afternoons -- it is she.
It is a multi-platform deal with ABC. From TVNewser:
Couric’s as-yet untitled syndicated show — which already has late afternoon clearance on the 8 ABC O&O’s — will begin in the fall of 2012 and will be executive produced by former NBCU CEO Jeff Zucker.Couric has had an interesting and well-chronicled media journey. Couric was on the team that put "Today" on top; has fought a personal battle to increase cancer awareness; was the first solo evening news anchor; has reported endlessly on homelessness in America; and singlehandedly proved that Sarah Palin was not ready to be the Vice President of the United States.
If Couric can somehow mine her rich personal life of interesting experiences for the syndicated show, it should go a ways to filling the yawning Oprah gap.