I was thinking about Apple today, and thought I would dig through some old Apple stuff. Internally, Apple extensively documented the company’s achievements by printing T-shirts. There is a T-shirt made for every team, every product, and every conference. Here are a few that I managed to save:
The Journey Begins
Every new employee gets a “The journey begins” shirt when they join the company as part of the new employee orientation. This shirt is from 2000, shortly after the switch to the single-color logo. I really like how understated this shirt is compared to other Apple shirts, and I’m glad I managed to hang on to it.
Mac OS X Launch
Apple launched Mac OS X 10.0 (Cheetah) on March 24, 2001, and of course there was a T-shirt. Actually, there were several. Another version was given out at the employee launch party at Hanger One in Moffett Field. If I remember right, marketing thought it would be a good idea to set up a casino night or something. A strange way to celebrate something so great. However, Apple rented out Hanger One! A lot of the OS X t-shirts had a giant candy-colored X on the front. Apple liked to call the new Aqua theme “lick-able”.
Here is higher-quality OS X shirt I got sometime later:
Of course, every WWDC came with all kinds of swag. This was my favorite: a Steve-style mock turtleneck from WWDC 2001 for staff. Apple gave black leather jackets out to attendees with a blue X on the back, which were pretty tacky, especially compared to these awesome mock turtlenecks.
Back then, WWDC was still held in San Jose. Speakers were briefed by marketing about what to wear, and one of the rules was “no sneakers”. One of my coworkers got up on stage to speak, wearing her staff shirt, but without any shoes. A marketing person noticed immediately, leaned over to our VP, and exclaimed “she’s not wearing any shoes!” He calmly replied, “you said no sneakers“.
Here is a speaker shirt from WWDC 2002. Not nearly as awesome as the mock turtleneck!
2003 was the year WWDC went from a mid-size software developer conference in San Jose to something completely different. In 2003, Apple moved WWDC from San Jose to Moscone Center West in SF, and announced new hardware, the G5, at the conference. Moscone West was just finishing construction, and the Moscone people promised that a robot billboard would be operational by then, slowly gliding around the outside of the building. Sadly, the robot billboard never came to be.
If you look closely, you’ll see that the tag is cut off from this shirt. By 2003, a huge percentage of my wardrobe consisted of Apple T-shirts. Since I hated looking like an Apple billboard (or looking like I was STAFF anywhere I went), I wore the t-shirts inside out. This annoyed one of my coworkers, and she would sneak up behind me and cut the tags off my shirts.
QuickTime Live was my favorite Apple conference. It ran until 2003, when it was it was folded into WWDC. QT Live was a ton of work for my team, but it was also a blast. It was held the Beverly Hilton in LA, which set it apart from most Apple events. The “Develop. Produce. Deliver.” slogan dates this T-shirt to the 2001 conference I think (which was postponed until Feb 2002). Apple had started using short three-word slogans after the “Rip. Mix. Burn.” campaign in 2001.
We had been working hard on MPEG-4 support in QuickTime, and were pretty burned out. MPEG-LA wanted to charge broadcast license fees in addition to the codec license fees for MPEG-4 streams, so Apple very publicly pulled back the launch and successfully got MPEG-LA to not charge broadcast fees for MPEG-4.
2002 wasn’t as surreal as the previous year. Bob and Joe came to see me, and we stayed up way too late. Then I went, sleep-deprived, into David Lynch’s keynote, where he showed a preview of Rabbits. I was totally not prepared for that. Lynch said he shot a lot of this on his front lawn at night, until his neighbors called the cops.
MacWorld Keynote 2005
I worked the keynote in 2005, helping to seat people in the VIP section or something. Engineers usually didn’t get to go to a keynote, so it was kind of neat to be there. Also, we had been working incredibly hard on H.264 and 4-way video conferencing in iChat AV 3, which Steve demoed during the keynote. It got a huge reaction from the crowd, which was nice to hear.
I think these were the embroidered dayglo shirts they had us wear:
Apple generally prefers its own conferences and expos over huge trade shows like Comdex and CES. However, after QuickTime Live ended, NAB in Las Vegas became an important conference for QT and pro video announcements.
Although I disliked Vegas, it was usually a blast. We usually had an announcement we were working on, so it was always nice to be done with a big project, and I liked driving out to Las Vegas with Peliom. We went through China Lake once to see a friend and got stuck in mountain snow in the middle of a California summer. My foodie coworkers would take me out for great food and try and teach me about wine tasting.
Another trade show we went to was IBC in Amsterdam, which was over-the-top ridiculous. I only went once, immediately after a trip to Burning Man. I had been working on both the Ambience Ambulance and the TikiCrawler, and for some reason I went straight from the playa to Amsterdam. Also, my brother came along. And a bunch of old friends were hanging out in Prague, so they came to see us too. I remember sitting exhausted in the sushi restaurant in our hotel, listening to a very large Elvis impersonator yell at the Dutch waitress who didn’t speak english, because she didn’t know what a “California roll” was. IBC was a trip.
For trade shows, we got higher-quality shirts!
The first Apple Store opening
Apple opened its first store in Palo Alto in October 2001. They gave these shirts to people who showed up on opening day. Lines outside Apple stores are commonplace now, but at the time, the blocks-long line was pretty ridiculous.
WWDC Beer Bash shirts
During WWDC, Apple holds a beer bash on campus for external developers. They issue these bright-colored shirts to employees to help developers find the right people to talk to.
Not an Apple shirt, but Peliom might like this.. A LBL sweatshirt from the mid 90′s!