Apple Celebrates Steve Jobs at Memorial

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By Jessica E. Vascellaro and Ian Sherr

Apple Inc. executives and advisers rallied employees to maintain Steve Jobs’s legacy on Wednesday, as the celebrations of the Apple co-founder’s life continued two weeks after his death.

Tens of thousands of employees tuned into a private memorial for Mr. Jobs on Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., campus that was also streamed to offices and Apple retail store locations world-wide.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, who took over as CEO as Mr. Jobs’s health worsened in August, got choked up as he discussed his friendship with Mr. Jobs and his desire for excellence, according to two employees who tuned in. Two Apple board members—former Vice President Al Gore and Bill Campbell, Mr. Jobs’s longtime friend who is chairman of Intuit Inc.— also spoke, according to the people who attended.

Mr. Campbell shared a story about “Siri,” the company’s “intelligent” personal assistant that Apple recently shipped with its new iPhone 4S. Mr. Campbell said when the company began development of Siri, Mr. Jobs demanded he try the product, while another executive said the voice-recognition wasn’t ready yet.

Mr. Jobs then asked Siri whether it was a man or a woman, according to Mr. Campbell, who said Siri responded that it hadn’t been assigned a gender yet.

In other remarks, Jonathan Ive, Apple’s senior vice president for industrial design, discussed some of Mr. Jobs’s quirks, including his high standards for hotels and penchant for making them switch to nicer ones on road trips, according to one attendee. Mr. Ive, who described Mr. Jobs as his best friend, said that his boss had a habit of calling some potential product designs “dopey,” according to one attendee. But when Mr. Jobs saw the iPhone, he was initially silent and then gave it the nod, Mr. Ive said.

 

 

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(Published Oct. 20, 2011 in The Wall Street Journal.)