Did Jobs fake a health illness to avoid announcing the new Shuffle? - Macenstein

Did Jobs fake a health illness to avoid announcing the new Shuffle?

talking iPod Shuffle

Wow. Today’s announcement of the new iPod shuffle was really something, wasn’t it? Just push a button 10 times, and your iPod will speak a list of playlists. Press 11 times, hold once, then press again, and you can turn it off. It sounds a little too much like this parody of the Mactini by Peter Serafinowicz.

I remember more than once I had a report to give in school that I knew was going to be lame, and trying to convince my parents I was too sick to go to school that day. It never worked, of course, and I’m not saying Steve is faking an illness to get out of announcing a lackluster series of products – but boy, I sure would have.

Looking back at the last couple months’ worth of announcements, the timing of Steve Jobs’ leave of absence sure is looking like a blessing in disguise for Steve (aside from the obvious non-blessing of apparently being quite sick, of course). First we had Macworld, the Phil Schiller led mega event where Apple announced Tony Bennet’s greatest hits would be coming to iTunes. Apple then released an update to the Apple TV software that did nothing other than break Boxee support, followed by what basically amounted to speed bumps to its desktops last week that simply allowed it to keep up with other PC offerings (for the most part), followed by the somewhat clunky Safari 4 beta, and now the new, talking, buttonless Shuffle.

Now, let me just say I know that Steve is no coward. I’ve seen him present a lackluster Macworld lineup before and still manages to illicit polite applause without a hint of flop sweat. But I could completely see Steve cringing at the massive amount of Reality Distortion Energy that would have been required to make the last 3 months exciting. To be honest, my somewhat conspiratorial thoughts of Steve holding a thermometer up to a lightbulb and letting underlings announce the latest Apple “innovations” are spawned by three purely selfish motives: First, it would mean he wasn’t sick, which would be great. Second, it would mean perhaps those rumors of the Steve Jobs autobiography he is rumored to be cranking away at in one of his many basements might be true – and I would love to read that. And lastly, and most importantly, it would mean that when he gave that hard return date of “June”, he knew of something pretty cool coming out in July that he wanted to be around to present (iPhone 3? The Apple Netbook? Both? Neither?).

Yes, I know Steve’s not faking his illness, unless he has a sort of dietary willpower few Americans could hope to rival. “Steve’s gotta be faking it” was simply my first thought after seeing that Shuffle (Actually, it was probably my second thought. I think I remember thinking “WTF?!” a split second earlier).

16 Responses to “Did Jobs fake a health illness to avoid announcing the new Shuffle?”
  1. John Madden says:

    Hmmm… Steve back in June. Rumours (ok, you’re US based. Rumors) of a shiny new über fantastic tablety, netbooky earth-shatteringly awesome gadget in June/July. My money’s on this being Steve’s first event back.

    I’d love to see it like one of the old WWF/WWE events, with Phil starting off. Halfway through… “Oh my God! That… that’s Steve Jobs’ music!”

    Of course, in that scenario he’s pretty much obliged to hit Phil Schiller with a steel chair. So it may not happen.

  2. pawel_z_wrocka says:

    The fact that Steve is ill (which is a shame) does not make his reappearance schemed/scheduled just in time to present a new netbook/iPhone unlikely.

    And boy, oh boy, I certainly hope he’s planning just that.

    BTW, will it be iPhone 4G? Kinda stupid…

  3. Aurélien says:

    Hehe that’s one of the funniest article I’ve read on the subject. Thanks Doc.

  4. @John Madden,
    that was awesome.
    – The Doc

  5. Xander D says:

    I got the new shuffle as soon as it came out, i accidentally swallowed it. trying to show my friend how easy it would be for her stupid dog to swallow it. fml

  6. DJ says:

    With the new Shuffle, I would guess that people in the target market don’t care about the lack of controls on it. They just turn it on and listen. And now they can listen to… 4 times as much?

    New Mini, iMac, and Mac Pro: Sure, nothing too exciting there, but respectable upgrades. Faster is better, and having the latest CPUs keeps them in the running with other vendors. I like most of the specs on all 3, and I can’t think of much that I would really care about changing. What else really needs to be changed in any of these? Except maybe Blu-ray in the Mini — that would be cool.

    AppleTV is another matter. It’s long overdue for a serious upgrade if Apple wants it to be a contender. Blu-ray, 1080p, DVR capabilities, and better support for Internet-based content are all on my list for that.

  7. crsrc says:

    I agree, it has been a bad couple of months for apple and this shuffle is hopefully the last of it. I was telling my brother in-law the same thing last night (who is the apple fan engineer; he swears the 17 inch macbook pro screen problem is NOT a fan problem btw) and he had to agree. But rest assured he says there is some pretty awesome things in development but unfortunately he won’t give hints as to what. I guess he thinks I’ll come to sites like this and pass on the information.

    also, i can’t understand why people would want blu-ray in their computers. I’d much rather use the space for another hard drive. Am I really the only that see’s the NEAR future of movies as purely digital?

  8. Justin says:

    @pawel_z_wrocka It actually would be called a 3rd gen iPhone, not an iPhone 4G. The current iPhone 3G is the 2nd gen. A lot of people call the next gen iPhone the iPhone 4G, but just wanted to point this out as for some strange reason it bugs me.

    @DJ I believe it’s 2x as much, the last shuffle had 2GB although I believe my older one only has 1GB.

    @Doc I understand where you are coming from with the click 2 times to skip forward and 3 times to go back stuff, but once you learn it, it becomes muscle memory and you don’t even have to think about it. For example when Firefox (well it was called Firebird or something when I was first using it back in college) first added mouse gestures I thought it was too hard, but after a week I didn’t have to think about it. Now I can’t live without the mouse gestures to control everything. Everything else seems too slow.

    I guess it’s not for everyone, but I have to say I have one of the worst memories of anyone I know (or can remember knowing at least) so if I can do it, surely most people can.

  9. iShervin says:

    less battery life!
    no buttons
    only works with apple headphones !(so far)
    voice over is not that amazing!
    it’s the best design ever!!! and we had the minimum rumor about this product, so I will buy the black one just for a sake of clipping it on my belt…

  10. WFT says:

    I think that the design team just got too excited without steve there to calm them down. They weren’t thinking of practicality, instead they were thinking about how small they could make it while still keeping it visible (see mactini nano)

  11. If you take a look at the first few picture here:

    You would think you bought an extemely expensive sigaret lighter, Apple branded 😀
    (I know I WOULD buy that if it ever hit the market)

  12. odin says:

    So I think we are confusing a lack-luster product launch with the lack of the RDF. If the great and mighty Jobs had announced these things every media outlet would have swooned over it, and that would have convinced 90% of Americans it was good. Without the big media push, the product was left out in the cold with no one to defend it’s short comings (or mask them). Seriously, Steve Jobs could launch a mouse with no buttons and people would accept it better than this shuffle launched without him.

  13. Teegan says:

    The iPhone 3G is the 2nd Gen iPhone. It is called “3G” because of the technology it uses – 3G. 3G is basically a really fast cell connection. (I think 3G stands for 3rd gen – meaning that it is a 3rd gen CELL technology.)

    I think the new shuffle is kinda lame…I’m all up for the “make it look like one piece thing” that apple is doing currently, but I think they went just a bit too far when they took all the buttons off the thing. You shouldn’t have to learn how to use an MP3 PLAYER!!! That was one of the reasons that the iPod was so successful – it did what you expected it to do.

    I’m a pretty tech savvy person, I don’t want to buy an iPod that I have to read the manual to figure out have to skip forward or backward!

    I personally like the size and shape of the 1st gen shuffle. It fits really nicely in the palm of your hand, it’s not as small as the new one, but it’s not huge either – it is basically the size of a pack of gum. The controls make sense, it plugged right into USB, it just worked.

    The only thing that the new shuffle has on the old versions is Playlist support. Now, playlist support is cool, but not that cool. The voice over thing is crap – they should pre-analyze your tracks and make a decent sounding voice over for the thing, not just stick the Universal Access programing on it!

  14. pawel_z_wrocka says:

    @ Justin and Teegan

    But that’s what I’m talking about! There is no way to name it now, not causing confusion.

    3G (for 3rd generation)? But there’s iPhone 3G already!
    4G? BS, no such thing as 4G exists network-wise, and it’s not 4th generation.
    G3? Just confusing…
    3Gen? Laaame ;-).

  15. Jeremy says:

    “Elicit”. “Illicit” is a whole other word that means something very, very different and not at all good. 🙂

  16. NiteWaves77 says:

    Do you just make this crap up when you’re bored, or did you intend this to be funny and just forgot to add the humor. *shakes head*

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