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Charm offensive remembered

They filed in slowly, not speaking much, heads bowed in reverence. Yashwant Raj writes.

india Updated: Oct 07, 2011 00:32 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj

They filed in slowly, not speaking much, heads bowed in reverence.

The ushers spoke in the hushed tone, urgently moving people to their seats. There was a sense of urgency in the air as people willed the clock to move faster. And then a hush fell on the audience as the auditorium lights dimmed.

The year was 2005, and the venue was the Muscone Center in San Francisco and the occasion was the Macworld Expo, Apple's bi-yearly pilgrimage for its devotees to check out new products and listen to their oracle, Steven Jobs.

Jobs then strode on to the stage wearing his trademark turtle-neck and jeans.

The audience was ecstatic, and Jobs had not even started.

And then he was off, selling the Shuffle. The small device never looked as good as it did with Jobs behind it.

The props on the stage acted up, interrupting the presentation - funnily, friend and rival Bill Gates had experienced a similar technical glitch at a Microsoft expo around the same time - but Jobs, the consummate showman, kept going.

The error was soon fixed and Jobs continued.

The audience struggled to stay sit still as Jobs went through some of the less exciting launches. But they dare not leave, not when the oracle was on stage, not when he was not through yet. No one had to tell them.

The moment Jobs wound up, people ran out of the hall to join a queue of people at the nearby Apple Store. They had heard their man, now they wanted their Shuffle.