Steve's keynote clicker

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by mfacey, Oct 16, 2005.

  1. mfacey macrumors 65816


    Feb 1, 2004
    Hi all,

    I was just wondering: what kind of clicker does Steve Jobs use during his keynotes? Its always the same blue "brick". Anybody have any idea what it is?

    I tried searching but coudn't find any dedicated threads.

  2. lopresmb macrumors 6502

    Apr 29, 2005
    good question, I don't know, but I was wondering that exact thing. Who knows, it may be a custom designed kinda something, depending on what it does.

    Kinda dovetailing off that, how much of the presentation does Steve control while he's up there. That is, does he manually control Keynote, the movies, ect, ect, or does he have people offstage do some stuff for him?

    Maybe that is the "ultimate" remote, that controls keynote, the lights, special effects, and on and on...
  3. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    my understanding, and i have nothing to back this up but the memories of it being discussed, is as follows:

    1. it's most likely a custom remote designed specifically for him
    2. there are at least 3 of them, as we've seen 3 onstage at one time
    3. it's probably a placebo controller, as he's never once accidentally gone to the next slide (working with executive presentations, i can personally say, everyone does this from time to time). Probably it tells someone to change the slide if the appropriate cues are followed.
  4. pdpfilms macrumors 68020


    Jun 29, 2004
    I've never seen Steve make a mistake with his slides, or heard of it. But why would he need a placebo controller? To make him feel like he was in control of the presentation?
  5. Jay42 macrumors 65816


    Jul 14, 2005
    Yeah, I would doubt that its directly hooked to up to the several computers that are all running the keynote. It probably makes a lights up a little bulb next to the guy running the presentation. The keynotes are always super smooth (he must practice a lot).

    I do remember him joking that Apple doesn't make the clickers when one failed on him and he had to go grab another.

    Also, anyone know if the computers he has on stage are the actual computers being used for the demos? They must be maxed out on ram, because the icons never bounce when Steve launches iTunes and the like.

    Another side note (sorry), but I would love to see Steve use his Mac other than during the short demos. I wonder which of the tons of hidden OS X tips and shortcuts does he use. ie, does he click on the finder and navigate to the Applications folder or does he use CMD-SHIFT-A. How many of those things does he know?
  6. mfacey thread starter macrumors 65816


    Feb 1, 2004

    Yeah that seems odd. At certain keynotes I've seen him hand the clicker over to guest speakers. They must also then use it for their presentations. Maybe steve is just really good at "clicking". :D
  7. Josh macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2004
    State College, PA
    This is a good thread. I was just thinking about that thing the other day.

    It would be interesting to know if the thing has a real purpose, of it really is placebo. But then again - what would the benefit of it being placebo and the audience thinking he makes it go?

    I actually thought he seemed a little less prepared in the last keynote. It seemed like he repeating things often, and was thinking/speaking off the top of his head rather than being perfectly planned out and scripted.

    Who knows... :confused:

    I bet he uses it like the average mac user. Steve didn't write OS X and all the applications, so I doubt he knows ever secret key stroke and everything.
  8. dotdotdot macrumors 68020

    Jan 23, 2005
    Or maybe he uses it the average Apple computer Employee way, but certainly above the average person here...
  9. Jay42 macrumors 65816


    Jul 14, 2005
    That'd be my bet, he doesn't seem like a super out-of-control power user. Probably likes to keep it simple.
  10. galstaph macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2002
    The Great White North Eh
    Maybe the remote triggers the subliminal message to buy more apple stuff??
    I donno never really thought about it.
  11. Platform macrumors 68030


    Dec 30, 2004
    Simple = Yes....

    That is what he tries to make Apple look like simple and easy but functional to use ;)

    Remember 40+buttons and 6 ;)
  12. Jay42 macrumors 65816


    Jul 14, 2005
    Thats what made me think of it. I like that slide.
  13. hyperpasta macrumors 6502a


    Aug 1, 2005
    New Jersey

    Maybe a Placebo. He always gets nice fades from Keynote to a Demo machine, and NEVER messes up. Placebo? maybe. Or maybe a Keynote feature I don't know about.
  14. applerocks macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2005
    I do remember when they introduced the iMac G5 with Phil Schiller, he had to get a different clicker because his stopped working. He made a remark like "we don't make these".

    Could the slideshow be set to only be able advance one slide per 5 seconds or something like that?


    PS: Not sure if that was the exact keynote, but I do remember a clicker breaking in the last year, year and a half.
  15. solvs macrumors 603


    Jun 25, 2002
    LaLaLand, CA
    It probably sends a mild shock to the person who's actually controlling the slides. You know, to keep them focused. Or maybe it was just the prototype for the new iMac remote.

    Could just be a remote. I've seen people use them for presentations here at work. Keyspan's got one.
  16. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    I work in theatre, with shows that include video clips, and "live" video.

    As much as possible is pre-recorded and set up in advance.

    A theatre show will have a sound person, a lights person, a video person, and a stage manager, who keeps everything running, all working at the same time.

    Possibly if Steve's presentation is handled in theatre style, when he is talking about slide A, slide B will be put up on a monitor, the video person will confirm with their notes that it is the next one in sequence, the stage manager will double confirm with the master log book in front of him or her.

    Then when Steve clicks that remote, a light goes on, or a beep goes off, alerting the stage manager, who will cue the next slide, via a second cue light / audio alert and the video person will trigger it. (So if Steve miscues it, the stage manager will catch it and not trigger the next slide)

    The stage manager and video jockey may also have noted down key phrases that Steve says which will alert them to upcoming transitions.

    These people are complete professionals, and almost NEVER make a mistake in a live performance - they do it 5 nights a week for a living.

    One theatre I visited recently had 500 lights, all independently controlled via computer. Took 3 months to programme them for a single 2 week show...

    I don't know much how upscale conferences / large corporate presentations are handled, so Steve's thing could be different.

    Hope that was enlightening..


    .. RedTomato ..
  17. Laser47 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2004
    I remember a while back when they had the megahertz myth presentation where he forgot to click while he was talking and when he was done he clicked through a couple slides to catch up. I dont know if it was the same blue clicker or if he was actually changing the slides.
  18. G5Unit macrumors 68020


    Apr 3, 2005
    I'm calling the cops
    I think he once he jumped to the next slide too quickly and it was something very important...
  19. tech4all macrumors 68040


    Jun 13, 2004
    I was just going to say that one --> Opps!

    Is it wrong that we remember that he made that mistake and what he was talking about at the time? :p

    I wanna see that :D

    At WWDC when he demoed the Intel-based Mac it said 2GB RAM when he showed the "About this Mac" window. Not sure if that was the max RAM for that particular computer though.
  20. dejo Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    The Centennial State
    Having been involved in a keynote presentation for Oracle OpenWorld in 1997, I suspect that Steve's clicker works similar to the one I knew about. That is, all the clicker does it is turn on a light to notify someone backstage that it's time to advance the presentation to the next slide.
  21. moonislune macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2005
    A wild stab

    In the movie "Pirates of Silicon Valley", wasn't Steve and friends' Berkeley telephone dialer a little blue box (telephone keypad)? Maybe its a nostalgic thing like the number "6" with Apple. And maybe I'm going way off into nostalgic/conspiracy land here but don't the ITUNES tv videos (like Desperate Housewives) also have a 6 second break (where the commercials would be)?
  22. JeffTL macrumors 6502a

    Dec 18, 2003
    I think I've seen the slides not be advanced fast enough -- whether it's the one-finger interface on the blue box or a ten-finger interface backstage and further down the chain is impossible to determine. Somehow, though, Steve never seriously screws up -- or makes a fool of himself *coughballmer*
  23. aesth3tic macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2005
    University of Washington
    If I remember right I think I have seen he iPhoto icon bounce during the MacWorld 05...or it might have been WWDC, but it took a while to load the library and I was like, whoa...hes got a whole crap load of pics on there or that machine is low on ram.. :)
  24. aesth3tic macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2005
    University of Washington
    at the october 12th event, the hard drive specs for the new imac incorrectly displayed 160mb and 250mb instead of 160gb and 250gb....

    not really a steve mistake...

    ...but we can blame it on an apple intern :)
  25. mrichmon macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2003
    Generally at upscale conferences the speaker controls changing the slides as it appears that Steve does with his blue clicker. For the cross fades to demos that is handled by the A/V guy who is controling the audio, video and lights in the room.

    The keynote presentation appears to be run on an off-stage mac with Steve clicking between slides. Whenever he goes to the on stage demo Mac there is always a comment along the lines of "now let me show you" or some other very obvious indication that he is moving to the Mac. In the Oct 12 presentation there were two demo Macs (one live, one as a backup) and a third Mac running the keynote slides. The video feeds from each would have gone into a video mixing board to allow for the cross-fading.

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