22-year Apple vet: ‘I am 99% confident we will see an Apple phone next week’

“Next week, Steve Jobs will stand on stage in San Francisco to make his keynote speech at the Macworld show, to unveil new – much-rumoured – products. Here’s something I discovered in my 22 years at Apple: some of the toughest competition for the best seats, or the first of those new products, comes from former Windows-centric executives who Steve has personally sucked into his ‘reality distortion zone’ in face-to-face executive briefings,” David Sobotta (formerly Apple’s federal sales manager) writes for The Guardian.

“You want to go to one? You want to meet Steve Jobs to persuade him that Apple should build a tablet computer, or an iPhone? Then besides having a big purchasing budget and persuasive reasons, you’d better bring a big ego,” Sobotta explains.

“It’s an amazing experience to take part in a briefing with Steve. Stories about him reprimanding customers are true. Once, when renegotiating a Pixar distribution deal with Disney, he humiliated Disney’s chief information officer in front of his staff. Steve pointed to a couple of recent Disney flops, and told the attendees that they could expect more of the same as long as the CIO was stupid enough to keep Macs out of the creative process,” Sobotta explains.

MacDailyNews Take: You want the truth? You can’t handle… Who wants to bet that Macs are in Disney’s creative process now?

Sobotta continues, “An executive briefing always looks, on paper, like a clash of titanic egos. From what I saw, most wilt quickly in Steve’s presence. And customers’ reverence for him usually overwhelms any hostility. In fact, it doesn’t really matter who is presenting or what is being discussed. When Steve enters a room, everything stops and attention turns to him. When he walks in you get the feeling that he has sucked all the other thoughts out of the room. As for quoting him precisely – you don’t take notes if you want to live.”

MacDailyNews Take: This is a fun read!

Sobotta continues, “So next week… I am 99% confident we will see an Apple phone, with enhanced music capabilities and maybe a few computing features such as email and contacts synchronisation with Macs or through .Mac. Steve’s ability to know where consumers and technology will intersect often creates a road paved in gold. That’s why he’ll focus his energy on mobiles. The potential there that only Steve can see could well turn into another must-have product for the legions who don’t even know they are part of Steve’s army.”

Full article – very highly recommended – with much more, including Jobs on Mac Tablets, here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Marine Blue” and “typhoon john” for the heads up.]

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  1. So the crooked Jobs is also an ass. I guess he holds up the idea that nice guys finish last. I must admit that even though I don’t like the guy I do like the products that he’s been involved with.

  2. “Customers do not know what they want to buy. We have to tell them.”

    That is sooo true.

    only the truely usefull products are the ones that we all remember through the years. The other gadgets and gizmos die and are forgotten. And we wasted time and money on them.

  3. I don’t think that enormous ego and an acerbic tongue in the absence of intelligence and intuition are universally synonymous with success. I reckon that anyone who schedules a meeting with Jobs and hasn’t done his or her homework is begging for a rebuke. Perhaps, more than anything else that Jobs adds to the corporate mindset at Apple, is the attitude of absolute commitment to performance. Raising the bar will motivate the best and eliminate the rest.

  4. A rare post:

    I really, really hope Apple enables text input on this iPhone aka a Treo. I switched to a Treo a few months back and I’m hooked. Even if it’s a “virtual” keyboard on-screen, I see this as indespensable.

    I’m probably not alone in the opinion that notebook computers are becoming less needed for certain users because we can now email and take care of some business while out and about.

    I dig the idea of .Mac synergy.

    My 2¢.

  5. That was a great read. 99% certainty is pretty big. I keep thinking that if Apple does a phone, it would announce it in a special event, like iPod. I still think next week will be about Leopard and upgrades to computers– Mac Pro, mini.

    Can’t wait.

  6. You don’t go into a board meeting with tea and feather dusters. Fercrissakes… if you run a business well, you get shit done, and that means ego, not being a ‘nice guy’. Nice guys tend to get crushed on wall street, and a broke nice guy doesn’t do anyone in his company any good. Egos like Steve’s can move mountains.
    I imagine working for Steve is a little like working for Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, and in that kind of business, that’s what it takes. Sweet and polite does not sell $900 shoes.

  7. With all the hype about this, if Apple were not going to release iPhone next week, they’d say so. Remember when they did that before? I don’t remember what product it was for but they came right out and said it wasn’t on the menu. Maybe it was a new iMac or something?

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