At Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, CEO Steve Jobs had an embarrassing onstage moment when he lost his Wi-Fi connection during his keynote presentation as he tried to download files to demo the difference in screen quality between an iPhone 3GS and the new iPhone 4.
The download failed, and his demo crashed on the new iPhone 4 because he couldn't maintain a solid Wi-Fi connection.
Certainly not the optimal time for a demo to fail, but at least now Jobs knows how iPhone users feel every day, as we suffer with AT&T's poor cellular network performance. And it should be pointed out that device tethering between attendees' laptops and cell phones may well have reduced these issues, if only AT&T allowed users to tether.
After the initial crash, Jobs later came back and asked people to turn off their access points (as in their MiFi, which is a line of compact wireless routers produced by Novatel Wireless that act as mobile Wi-Fi hot spots).
Jobs claimed that there were 570 of them in that hall. As Sam Diaz at ZDNet pointed out, "The problem is that if 10 percent of the 5,000 people in an audience create their own Wi-Fi networks in that room, there are now 500+ 'networks' all competing for the same wireless spectrum to transmit those signals--including the original Wi-Fi networks that the presenter has established in the room."
After some time, as he pressured more people to turn off their cell phones and put their laptops to sleep, he managed to do the demo. CNET's own Rafe Needleman made the excellent point that your bad network is not my problem on his ProPR Tips blog.
It's understandable that Jobs would get upset about something not working in a demo, but it's shocking that the company didn't set up a special network for him, instead hoping for the best on a consistently flaky Moscone Center Wi-Fi network. And, of course, the demand for everyone to comply in their own best interest to see the demo is so typically egotistical of Apple that it's not even shocking anymore. … Read more