Apple built Keynote because Steve Jobs hates PowerPoint

PowerPoint is by far the worst app in the Microsoft Office suite, and it was probably the only application that Steve Jobs had to use before Keynote came out. There was no alternative for giving presentations at Macworld.

So what did Steve Jobs do? He built something better.

In this 2001 Macworld keynote address, Steve Jobs is clearly using Keynote, even though the application wasn’t released until January, 2003. Steve does not beta test every application Apple releases. But Keynote was his baby, something he badly needed. It was built for him.


It’s always best to start a company or build a product around personal frustration, to solve a problem that you have yourself. Keynote is the best app in iWork suite. It’s clear how much Steve was involved with the development: it’s a joy to use, the level of polish is incredible.

Watch the 2001 PowerBook keynote here: 

p.s. Love this line from the presentation: “The new PowerBook G4 is absolutely where it’s at for power and sex.”

Hat tip @dcurtis for posting the video.


  1. I’m not entirely sure that this presentation was given using something that wasn’t Keynote, but I do know that Keynote was a remake of Concurrence by Lighthouse Design and that Jobs used Concurrence for years before Keynote came out. Jonathan Schwartz, one of the Lighthouse founders, pokes at Jobs and his affection for Concurrence while making the point that "good artists borrow, great artists steal" here: There’s plenty of documentation on Wikipedia and elsewhere too. Interesting tweak on the Keynote creation myth…

  2. Steve, thanks for the note. That’s really interesting about Concurrence. Maybe that is what he was using.I do remember that when Steve did announce Keynote in 2003, he mentioned that he had been using it for a while without telling people.

  3. I think Keynote has great effects, certainly better than powerpoint. However, I do know that alot of people still use powerpoint, as more people still have PCs compared to Macs, so now I have both Keynote as well as PowerPoint for Mac. The one downside of Keynote is there aren’t as many templates available online as there are for powerpoint, but some are interchangeable anyways.

  4. I am certain that Steve used Lighthouse Design Concurrence running on OpenStep 4.2 to do that presentation, not a pre-release version of Keynote. Remember that the presentation linked was 3 months before Mac OS X 10.0 shipped, and 10.0 was very rough (Public Beta was worse).

  5. It’s amazing to realize how little laptops evolved in a *decade*. My macbook is roughly the same size, same screen thickness (tapered edges make it a little less obvious, but it is), same weight, similar battery life (5-7hrs at most). And I bet you could get the same amount of work done on a PowerBook.It’s time the Air takes over.

  6. lgerbarg hit the nail on the head. In those days, Jobs ran OpenStep 4.2 on a Toshiba or IBM laptop. He and other Apple (nee NeXT) execs did indeed use Lighthouse on OpenStep well after OS X 10.0 had been released. Even without the NeXT trivia I happen to know, I’d still have to call BS on this. I watched most of the presentation, and don’t see anything that would support the author’s claim that this is some early version of Keynote. A gradient and a table? That’s some serious wishful thinking.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s