Steve Jobs NeXT Keynote in 1992 Is a Must-Watch for Jobs Fans [Update]

Check out this recording of Steve Jobs’ NeXT keynote from 1992 (via Cult of Mac), where he introduced NeXTSTEP 3.0 (which eventually became OS X).  Interesting tidbits from the spot include the 51 minute and 32 second mark, where he shows a feature that ended up being cut when Apple bought NeXT, distributed object inter-application and inter network communication. At 59 minutes and 53 seconds, Mr. Jobs shows off fast elliptical encryption built right into NeXT’s email system. That was also cut for the Mac. Then there was the bit about operating system-level the Renderman rending engine (nixed), and NeXTSTEP for Intel processors, which did eventually make it to the Mac. All these observations come courtesy of John Kheit, who used to work at NeXT. He called this one of Steve Jobs’s best keynotes and a must-watch for fans. I agree, though your mileage may vary. One way or another, it’s definitely good.

Check It Out: Steve Jobs NeXT Keynote in 1992 Is a Must-Watch for Jobs Fans [Update]

6 thoughts on “Steve Jobs NeXT Keynote in 1992 Is a Must-Watch for Jobs Fans [Update]

  • It’s weird that NeXT became a sort of outsourced R&D lab for Apple that was sucked back into Cupertino a few years later. I sometimes wonder if they would have survived on their own and what they would have become.

    As I understand it, since they had agreed not to compete directly with Apple, that meant that there was basically no chance that NeXT could ever ship a mainstream, affordable machine. Or a laptop or mobile device. If you’ve ever tried out a NeXT machine, they are really cool but they also have some annoying features, and of course they never had the third party software support that the Mac had.

    Shortly after this time, Apple shipped a similarly futuristic failure: the Newton. It presaged the mobile future that we live in today, and was Apple’s first ARM-based product (Apple having invested in the ARM partnership in order to deliver a fast, low-power, microprocessor for mobile devices.) But the biggest news of that era was the imminent explosion of the “world wide web” (thanks, in part, to NeXT machines, which I believe were used for the original web browser and server at CERN!)

  • Quick Renderman really didn’t make it to the Mac as Bryan suggests. Renderman tools are available to the mac, but not the quick render man engine that was available as system level display object. For example, you could put in a render man RIB file into a word processing document, rotate it to taste, and use it as a header. In any app using a text object. Don’t even get me started about services. They were very real and well used. The video shows you could select any graphic image or portion of an image and select “OCR” from services anywhere, and you’d get the text returned. This is CRAZY stuff for 1992, and we still do not have it today on the Mac. The Fast Elliptical Encryption was done the way god intended email encryption to work, we still don’t have it in Also, we still do not have LipServices as a system wide voice note feature. So much lost ‘to make mac users feel comfortable’ (i.e., dumbed down).

  • Another technology at 1:17 20, Pixar’s RenderMan was bundled in for unified 3-D imaging; e Ferrari-Donald Duck and the rotating 3-D cube is still incredible. I remember we could just send RenderMan ripped files and they would render in real time anywhere in the system. All of that was operating system level stuff. Steve Jobs even does a demo just before that of DB kit for database connectivity, he does it in a way that a normal human being could actually follow what’s going on. There’s so much that was lost in dumbing NeXTstep down for the mac…

    It’s important to note that the above features (including the ones Bryan mentions) would be HUGE features if released today, and are still not available on the mac or anywhere.

    Then for good measure, in that video he introduces the first large format color printer, oh yea, one more thing, NeX step for Intel processors at the 1:35:00 mark. It was the true precursor of the operating system for the mac.

    The sheer unrelenting mega release nature of this show, I don’t think would ever be matched again. He was at the height of his presentation and creative powers, I mean, at the 1:34:00 mark, he even innovated the “check under your seat” move that Oprah would alter popularize while introducing the first high rez color printer. Crazy crazy technological tour de force of a keynote.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.