No more iCEO (2000)
After two and a half years of Jobs being Apple’s ‘interim’ CEO, he dropped the ‘interim’ bit. OS X got big cheers that day, but the biggest was reserved for the moment everyone realised Jobs was sticking around for the long-term.
G4 Cube (2000)
Apple expanded its product matrix with a new desktop machine that aimed to combine the clout of the PowerMac with the elegance, silence and miniaturisation from the iMac. Images had circulated online, but Apple’s lawyers got all lawyery, meaning the gorgeous unit — possibly Apple’s finest in that regard — still surprised many when unveiled.
Rumours had swirled, but Apple largely managed to keep wraps on its ultra-portable player. The same size as a deck of cards, the iPod could hold 1000 songs, had a more advanced battery than Apple used in its notebooks, and boasted effortless navigation. Pundits griped about the price, but Apple had made the first steps in revolutionising another industry. And there was another iPod-related surprise the following year: Windows support.
iMac G4 (2002)
This one was ruined a bit by the Canadian edition of Time running a photo of the computer on its cover the day before Apple’s keynote; nonetheless, the audience was still gobsmacked by marrying Pixar’s Luxo with sawing the back off of an iMac. You half expected it to start hopping about the place and playing with squeaky balls.
The Intel switch (2005)
Rumours had rattled around that Apple was about to get into bed with Intel, but it was nonetheless a shocker when Jobs said on stage this was true. There were no boos this time, given that the PowerPCs inside the day’s Macs had gone from toasting Intel to being toasted themselves.
We all knew an Apple phone was happening, but Jobs wrongfooted the audience at Macworld 2007 by saying Apple was introducing three revolutionary products: a widescreen iPod with touch controls; a revolutionary mobile phone; and a breakthrough internet communications device. “Are you getting it,” asked Jobs to rapturous applause. “These are not three separate devices. This is one device. And we are calling it iPhone.”