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Keynote - Raising the Mediocrity Bar?

Art Chantry said it best in his interview with Speak Up: “As you can see, computers are a truly mixed bag. It’s thrown the ‘industry’ into a buyer’s market. The client has never had more total control over graphic design.” The release of Apple’s Keynote marks Apple’s first attempt at a PowerPoint killer and a shot at a mainstream product.

I’m all for not having to deal with PPT for the rest of my life, I wish it didn’t even exist, but what exactly is Keynote doing? In my opinion, merely raising the level, vastly, of mediocre presentations that sales people can now produce. With $10,000 worth of high quality fonts with smooth anti-aliased text, fancy transitions and custom themes (my favorite is “Letterpress”) Keynote makes it easier than ever to create “professional” looking presentations.

And why not? It certainly worked for Microsoft.

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ARCHIVE ID 1408 FILED UNDER Hardware/Software
PUBLISHED ON Mar.31.2003 BY Armin
Jon’s comment is:

I guess with any piece of software, in the wrong hands it can lead to horrible mistakes. My hope with a program like this is that it enables those who truly know what they are doing to create something great. Powerpoint, with its dreadful typographic controls, will never achieve this.

As for the 'letterpress' effect, Gerald Lange must be looking towards the skies, holding his hands aloft and shouting, "Khan!!!!!"

On Mar.31.2003 at 09:13 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

Keynote was a product Jobs had laying around that was better than the competition, so why not release it?

Yea, 99% of what people use PPT for is meaningless, but Apple is a company in the business of selling software.

Also see: why PPT blew up the Space Shuttle.

On Mar.31.2003 at 09:23 AM
brook’s comment is:

any competition for any piece of software is always good. considering there really isn't that much of a competitor for a lot of design apps, it is no wonder they are notoriously bug-ridden. but then again, it's the little competition that there is that leads to companies pushing out new whole-number releases with "new" features, while the same bugs from the last version are still there. but it's not like we can stop buying it. bunch of savages, i swear.

On Mar.31.2003 at 10:52 AM
Su’s comment is:

Wait. Take a step back. Are any of you seriously under the belief that Powerpoint was ever meant to make pretty? Even the marketroids didn't try to go that route. It's a tool for middle-management and their assistants, who set everything in Arial because they think it looks nice, to present business ideas(Quarterly financials in Bickham Script: no.). This is a bit like the way visual designers complained about HTML not giving them enough visual control, when it was barely meant to be visual at all. PPT isn't quite as primitive, but its tools are still never going to replace video or any other proper interactive/animation tool; it's not supposed to. It's a glorified slideshow. It does basic text, lists, let's you insert an image here or there. The mediocrity only comes in when you try to get all elegant with it.

So, yes, Keynote is just raising the mediocrity bar. Look at where the bar started out. If Jobs seriously wanted his presentations to have all sorts of wonderfulness, he'd lay out his ideas and have a designer render them out in Flash or somesuch tool with real power, rather than some relatively basic do-it-yourself utility. Don't expect MacPaint to do photo retouching, either. So Keynote can take two slides and rotate them as faces of a cube, oooh. How long do you think it'll be till people get just as sick of that just as any piece of standard Office clip art?

Incidentally, I'm still waiting for Jobsy to quantify this claim of $10,000 in fonts being included with OSX.

On Mar.31.2003 at 11:15 AM
pk’s comment is:

thirteen hours later and nary a post. my boyfriend murders yet another discussion on speak up. punk rock.

On Apr.01.2003 at 01:07 AM
armin’s comment is:

>my boyfriend murders yet another discussion on speak up.

Ha. Su is tough, man.

>Are any of you seriously under the belief that Powerpoint was ever meant to make pretty?

Well, I'm obviously not under that impression, but like you said middle-management and their assistants do think so, and they think they are being all artistic and shit. At march FIRST I got 2-3 management guys coming to show me how cool their PPT presentation was and if I had any feedback for them. Right.

I do think, like Jon said, that Keynote in the right hands could yield wonderful results. But I'm sure I'm going to hate Keynote as much as PPT. At least it will be an Apple product. WIth $10,000 worth of fonts.

On Apr.01.2003 at 08:41 AM