Steve Jobs using a remote [Updated]

8 06 2011

I’m not sure how many other people will find this interesting or even if they will notice what I am about to point out but I’m going to try anyway.

I use remotes with Keynote when I present and I often find myself pointing the device either at my laptop, or worse, at the screen being projected onto. What am I thinking? The remote works using Bluetooth and so no line of sight is required. Pointing remotes is distracting on stage. You might as well not use it, walk over to the laptop and just press the space bar.

Watching the recent Apple iCloud announcement on the web I initially saw someone pointing the remote at things just like I do. But then I saw Steve Jobs showing us how it really should be done. The more times I look at the video the more impressed I am by the way SJ intertwines the audio and the visual. (NB: I know people have written about his presentation style and they might have covered this but I haven’t got round to reading those books yet. This might not be an original thought but it is original to me…)

Watch the way Steve Jobs handles his remote. In these clips he never points it at the screen and he often keeps it hidden either in his hand or even behind his back. His subtle use of the remote makes the visual presentation and what he is saying work so much better together. The two really complement each other.

Right, I suspect you are thinking I’ve been drinking too much coffee and I probably have but compare it to the following video. This guy is speaking at the same event, using the same equipment, and is an insanely great* presenter but he is is just not as insanely great as Steve Jobs…

Personally I am distracted by the use of his remote. I anticipate a change in slide when he starts to point it at the screen. This takes my attention away from what he is saying and onto the screen. I find myself thinking what is going to happen next..? Look again at Steve Jobs. Notice the moment when the word “Free” drops down (15secs) and the impact it has on the audience. Or when he walks away from the screen (1.10 secs) and initiates the “iTunes in the Cloud” transition.

I think what SJ does is brilliant and I hope you do to. More importantly I hope that this will inspire us all to go away and watch great presenters like Steve Jobs and learn as much as we can from them.

Before I get fanboy/anti-fanboy Mac/PC/Linux comments- I know the audience at these sorts of events are easy to please. Most of them have been queuing for days and are probably a little dehydrated but that doesn’t take anything away from the quality of the presentations.



I found this video today which is of the Keynote bloopers. It seems even the insanely great Steve Jobs can run into problems when physical objects refuse to work on stage.




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