How a 1998 meeting with Steve Jobs gave birth to Wi-Fi

“So what’s the birthplace of Wi-Fi? To be fair, Wi-Fi has many ‘founding parents’ – such as Vic Hayes and even Hollywood bombshell Hedy Lamarr,” Claus Hetting reports for Wi-Fi Now. “While the technical birthplace of Wi-Fi could reasonably be said to be The Netherlands – where most of the initial work on the 802.11 standards took place with NCR – it would also be fair to say that the commercial birth of Wi-Fi harks back to a meeting at Apple Computer in Cupertino, California, on April 20, 1998.”

“Cees Links – today’s general manager at Qorvo – was there. Cees & his team had been working for more than a decade on introducing WLAN technology to the masses, but without luck. After plenty of attempts, Apple finally came to Lucent and said they wanted to meet, giving Cees and team a week to show up in Cupertino,” Hetting reports. “‘Apple was looking for something different and new for their iBook laptop product, and Steve was very enamored by the idea of wireless connectivity for laptops. Looking back, it seems to me he had probably made up his mind even before the meeting,’ says Cees Links.”

“The world’s first Wi-Fi-enabled laptop was launched by Apple at MacWorld in New York City on July 21, 1999. Jobs demonstrated wireless Internet by walking about on stage with the laptop in his hand and – like a magician – passing the iBook through a hula hoop while the crowd cheered,” Hetting reports. “And the rest – as they say – is history.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Ah, Steve’s smile!

Some of us were at the Javits Center in 1999 (we actually designed our logo during those couple of evenings after Macworld sessions) and we witnessed Phil Schiller’s one giant leap for wireless networking:

‘Bombshell’ shines spotlight on Wi-Fi inventor Hedy Lamarr – March 9, 2018


  1. I’d just bought a Blue & White G3 PowerMac, but I immediately ran out and bought the first iBook I could find. It was beautiful, and powerful for its day. Great screen, too (again, for its day).

    When I held it by its integrated handle, or ran my hand over the matte and glossy translucent plastic curves, or watched the power light “breathing” (slowly pulsing) on and off, I knew Apple was going to be unstoppable.

    1. Thinking on it more. Wish I’d never bought that thing. If only I’d used the $2k to buy more Apple shares that day, instead.

      That damn iBook cost me $400,000!

      1. Hmmm…Apple shares were pretty stagnant from 98 to 2003, so you could have bought your iBook, and used it to make money, and then invested THAT money into Apple shares in 2003, when it was about $14, pre-split, $1 post-split. And still made $400k for every $2k invested.

  2. No one could/can illustrate geeky concepts in an emotionally understandable and delightful way to the masses better than Jobs.

    The internal Apple University should train a figurehead to do the same.

    1. He believed it and he was believable and “it” was propelled by more than knowing and communicating the facts.

      To his great credit, he was simultaneously an adult and a kid, living with power and wonder.

      Meanwhile TC tells u that AI “will be big.” Thud.

  3. April 20, 1998: Jobs introduces Airport wireless networking to the world before a loud enthusiastic cheering crowd at MacWorld. Jobs said, “we’re going to be the first and the best.”

    April 26, 2018: Cook officially DISCONTINUES AirPort routers and has no plans for future hardware with no logical explanation.

    Eliminating Steve’s legacy one step at a time is Cook’s mission. When you lack creative visionary skills, you BOW to the board and Wall St. to continue the flow of money and keep your job. Cook systematically neutering pro software, killing iBooks creation, neglecting Mac Pros for five years, to name a few — what’s the next thing the world’s FIRST trillion dollar company and uneven penny pinching CEO will take away from Apple customers? …

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