January 27th, 2010: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA
Hundreds have gathered in anticipation of the latest holy offering from the mighty JOBS. The congregation is dressed down in their usual worship garb of black mock-turtlenecks, jeans and several VIP lanyards hanging from their necks. This pre-mass time is a comfortable and happy affair. The mounting anticipation has proliferated a feeling of giddiness, with disciples sharing iPhone Gospel and iPod hymns between themselves. As the time nears, many hunt for a prime seat, with some taking a moment for silent prayer in front of the warm glow of their MacBooks. The road of hope for this new offering has been long, and peppered with fruitless teasers and revoked promises.
Suddenly, the lights flicker and the congregation clamors into position. iPhones and MacBooks light up with enlightened Tweets and Blogposts of unbridled Enthusiasm. It is time.
It is finally time.
The room instantly goes black and a spontaneous cheer of worship erupts from the middle of the congregation. At center stage, a light glows with increasing intensity, throwing a single beam of light as bright as the sun straight up to the ceiling. Another explosion of rejoice ripples through the room. Just as the excitement seems to ebb, the screech of a possessed guitar vibrates the speakers stacked at either end of the stage. Two figures cut across the beam of light with wide strides to the edge of center stage. They are the great prophets BONO and THE BOSS and they immediately break into a glorious chorus of “Born to Run”.
The hymn tails out with the entire congregation screaming the words with the Rock prophets. BONO and THE BOSS wave a hand of mutual worship and exit stage left.
Almost simultaneously at stage right, without a grand introduction or entrance, the savior JOBS enters. An earth-shattering eruption of worship and jubilation envelopes the room. Disciples are standing on chairs with the bright screens of their iPhones raised to the heavens. The applause lasts for minutes until almighty JOBS speaks.
“Thank you. Thank you all. It is so nice to see you again.”
Another short round of applause circles around the room as JOBS makes himself comfortable at center stage.
“This is a very special day for all of us at Apple. For today is the day we introduce a new member to the Mac family.”
More cheers and applause, as the lights dim once again and a video screen descends from above. Again, a track of “Born to Run” plays, as images of the earliest Apple products flash on the screen. As the film progresses, it becomes a time line of Apple through the years, grabbing bites from commercials, past and present. Cheers erupt from different parts of the room as favorite products and ads appear on the screen. The images slow and the music fades, until the screen goes black. After an almost too long moment of silence, a white screen and a familiar black font appears:
“Say hello to iSlate.”
The congregation goes wild. More rock hymns erupt from the speakers, colored lights are bounding off all corners of the room, until the music fades and a single spotlight shines down on… A squat fat man in what appears to be a tattered purple dress, with a white tie around his neck. His glasses are thick, black coke bottles and his head is at least three times the size of JOBS. His facial features are nearly… Cartoonish.
The applause and excitement dwindles into a rumble of confusion and inaudible murmurs. The man just stands there in awkward silence, his eyes quickly darting around the room, seemingly in his own world of confusion. He looks to JOBS for help.
JOBS enters the light and puts his arm around the strange man.
“Everyone, say hello to iSlate.”
A greater wave of malfeasance envelops the restless congregation.
“Ever since I was a boy, my greatest dream was to live inside my television…”
A single “Uh-Oh” is uttered from the middle of the room.
“As I grew older, I began to realize that the technology to actually live with my favorite TV characters was impossible to achieve, so I began to devise a plan to bring those characters to life… Into what is our reality.”
The crowd grows even more anxious and angry. A few start blurting out chides at will. “What the Fuck?” and “Where the Hell is Waz?”
JOBS continues, undaunted:
“I understand your frustration, but if you’d just indulge me for a moment, I’d like to take you on a journey of what’s next for Apple, as we phase out of production of the personal computer and jump into the science of fusing fiction with reality. In the years to come, Apple Inc. will bring all your favorite TV and cartoon characters to life, in your towns! Working within your communities! The line between the entertainer and entertainee will be gone!”
JOBS reaches his arms to the sky as the room descends into madness. People are throwing chairs and ripping off their lanyards of credentials. A pile of iPhones and MacBooks is assembled in the middle of room as someone lights a mock-turtleneck on fire and throws it into the pile.
JOBS tries to hold the room together:
“Say hello to iSlate! Mr. Slate! From the Flintstones! Fred’s boss! Minions! I am JOBS! Say hello to iSlate! SAY HELLO TO iSLATE!”
JOBS and Mr… Uh, iSlate are swiftly ushered away as the crowd begins to storm the stage. The room has completely descended into chaos now. Naked disciples have painted their faces with sharpies and are dancing around a crudely drawn effigy of JOBS as it burns. Within a few seconds, the sprinklers kick in and the newly ordained rebels scatter like drowned mice.
As the room empties, a man in glasses sits quietly in a dark corner, drenched in the falling man-made rain. His credential reads only “Bill”. As the water pours down his face, the man smiles with satisfaction upon the destroyed stage, uttering one just one thing:
“I knew it.”