The “Lost” Steve Jobs Speech from 1983; Foreshadowing Wireless Networking, the iPad, and the App Store

Steve Jobs IDCA 1983

Steve Jobs giving a speech at the 1983 IDCA – Courtesy Arthur Boden

In 1983, Steve Jobs gave a speech to a relatively small audience at a somewhat obscure event called the International Design Conference in Aspen (IDCA). The theme of that year’s conference was “The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be”, which looking back seems all too fitting. Circumstances being what they are, very little is available on the Internet regarding this Steve Jobs speech. In my extensive research, I could find only one recording of this talk, which itself was just posted in June of this year. This talk received a fair amount of attention at the end of August, after it was mentioned in a Smithsonian Magazine article written by Walter Issacson, Jobs’ biographer. However, the recording currently available is not complete. It ends after about 20 minutes, which corresponds with the end of Jobs’ prepared speech. Left out is almost 40 minutes of a follow-up question and answer session where Jobs offered incredible insight into his vision of future technology. I now present this recording to the world so that it may be preserved indefinitely.

First, I’d like to thank one of my oldest clients, John Celuch of Inland Design. He personally attended this speech almost 30 years ago and was the one who gave me the recording I now share. Attendees of the speech received a cassette tape copy and he held on to it all these years. He found the tape sometime last year and thought I might like it. He was absolutely right, but because I was in the middle of a move (and also due to a lack cassette tape players available to me!) I set the tape aside and put off listening to it until this summer. Had I known what was in this recording, I would not have waited so long! Incidentally, John met Steve Jobs at this conference. During their interaction Steve Jobs gave him something to put in a time capsule that was buried at the conference. To our knowledge this time capsule has yet to be dug up. I’ll share more on this in a future article.

[Update – Read The “Lost” Steve Jobs Time Capsule article now]

Talk by Steven Jobs Cassette

Here is the cassette tape I digitized this recording from. I’m not sure what the #20 means.

After listening to the recording, I did some research in an attempt to find some pictures of this speech. I only found one source of pictures, courtesy of Arthur Boden via his son Ivan’s Flicker account. Arthur had also personally attended this speech and took some pictures of Steve Jobs giving his talk. His son uncovered them while scanning some old slides and made them available on his Flicker account. To my knowledge, these may be the only known pictures of this speech. If anyone has any other pictures of this talk or any other Steve Jobs sightings at the conference, I’d love to know.

Regarding the speech, it is amazing to hear Steve Jobs talk about some things that were not fully realized until only a handful of years ago. This talks shows us just how incredibly ahead of his time he was. I’ve listened to the entirety of the recording a few times now and have taken extensive notes, of which I will further elaborate on in future blog postings. But for now, here are a few of the highlights – and remember – he is speaking in 1983. To put that in context, the Macintosh had not yet been introduced, Apple still thought the Lisa was going to be a hit, and the IBM PC was the second most popular personal computer behind the Apple II series.

  • He mentions that computers are so fast they are like magic. I don’t think it is a coincidence that he called the iPad “magical”.
  • He states that in a few years people will be spending more time interacting with personal computers than with cars. It seems so obvious now, but hardly a given back then.
  • He equates society’s level of technology familiarity to being on a “first date” with personal computers. He recognized that technology would continue to evolve in the near future as would people’s comfort level with it. In hindsight, once it became dominant the PC industry stood relatively still while Jobs was busy planning “the next big thing”.
  • He confidently talks about the personal computer being a new medium of communication. Again, this is before networking was commonplace or there was any inkling of the Internet going mainstream. Yet he specifically talks about early e-mail systems and how it is re-shaping communication. He matter-of-factly states that when we have portable computers with radio links, people could be walking around anywhere and pick up their e-mail. Again, this is 1983, at least 20 years before the era of mobile computing.
  • He mentions an experiment done by MIT that sounds very much like a Google Street View application.
  • He discusses early networking and the mess of different protocols that existed at the time. He predicts that we were about 5 years away from “solving” networking in the office and 10-15 years from solving networking in the home. I’d say he was pretty much dead-on.
  • He says Apple’s strategy is to “put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you that you can learn how to use in 20 minutes”. Does that sound like anything we are familiar with today? And they wanted to do it with a “radio link” so that people wouldn’t need to hook it up to anything to communicate with “larger databases” and other computers. Hmmm ….
  • He compares the nascent software development industry to the record industry. He says that most people didn’t necessarily know what computer they wanted to buy. In contrast, when walking into a record store they definitely knew what music they liked. This was because they got free samples of songs by listening to the radio. He thought that the software industry needed something like a radio station so that people could sample software before they buy it. He believed that software distribution through traditional brick-and-mortar was archaic since software is digital and can be transferred electronically through phone lines. He foresees paying for software in an automated fashion over the phone lines with credit cards. I don’t know about you, but I think this sounds incredibly similar to the concept of the Apple App Store. Plus his comparison to the music industry just might be foreshadowing the iTunes store. You need to listen to the speech to hear the entirety of this passage for yourself.
  • Right at the end of the Q&A session, a question is asked about voice recognition, which he believed was the better part of a decade away from reality. Given the context of Siri today, it is interesting to hear him talk about the difficultly of recognizing language vs voice because language is contextually driven. He says, “This stuff is hard”.

So finally, here is my digitized recording of a “Talk by Steven Jobs” from the 1983 IDCA. The previously unavailable Q&A session starts at about 21:30 of the recording. Note that most of the questions asked by the audience are unintelligible, but can generally be divined by the responses Steve Jobs gives. I digitized the recording using Audacity and applied a simple noise filter to remove the tape hiss and saved it as MPEG-4 (M4A). And finally special thanks to for agreeing to host the download. Enjoy!

(If you downloaded the file earlier with Safari on a Macintosh, Safari may have appended the extension .mp3 to the end of the filename. I have corrected this issue now, but if your downloaded file has the .mp3 extension, simply remove it and leave .m4a at the end so you may see the custom icon) 


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  • Chris L. Mason

    No comments?  Thanks very much for this!

    I wouldn’t equate his comments about software to the App Store, it sounded more like he was talking about what would become Shareware during the BBS age.  Electronic distribution (over the phone line), with a free trial before you buy.  We are jaded now, but if this talk had come out in 1993, everyone would have hit on this as proof he was a prophet.

    Listening to his comments about a “book” with a radio that would access content from anywhere was, however, quite chilling.

    • Thanks for the comment! When I first listened to it, I thought App Store. The more I listened to it, I also thought that shareware fit this a little better. But then I thought more about the idea of a “radio station”, a single place where people could get free samples, and I came back to the App Store idea. Shareware just sort of happened on its own, for better or worse. I think Steve was envisioning something like an App Store back then. Obviously, details change, but the basic idea I think was there in his comments.

      • Kikka2

        Or then just shareware on places like cnet / I think you’re giving too much credit on being a visionary and too little credit on getting all of this great stuff done. All of the ideas were there a lot earlier. It’s the near perfect execution (and timing in terms of tech maturity / unmet customer needs + magical marketing) that is exceptional.

      • I connected the “radio station” comment, but I could easily be incorrect, to Wi-Fi AND the App Store, functioning together.  When Jobs was making this comment, IBM was contemplating the PC.  The IBM senior executives could not get the IBM technologists to support the program.  Look what Jobs did.  Look at the industries he re-invented.

        To all the Apple bashers on here:  Jobs really didn’t invent anything… He Re-invented music distribution, movie animation, software development, book distribution, the phone industry, the laptop industry… Right, he didn’t invent… He Re-Invented!

    • efc

      I don’t know… When he said that we could take a look at “five screen shots” and pay for software with our credit card, I gasped. You can’t get much closer to the App Store than that!

      • pdexter

        Though Apple was not even close the first one to get app store in a device, even mobile device.
        Nokia had done mobile app store 4 years before first iPhone even launched. 

        To me Apple is still on heart about touch revolution than actually being visionary company. They really are not and they actually use very little to R&D compared to companies like Sony, Samsung, Nokia, Ericsson.

        Great company that is slightly too much mystified these days. Reminding more and more companies like Sony, Nokia when they where controlling the tech scene and new arrival was coming. 

        • jackflash1

           Nokia? Sony? Really? Nokia has a version of the Macintosh? I never heard of Nokia in 1984. The Sony iPhone? Wow..I did not know that. In any case a visionary is one that sees an idea and uses whatever and whoever they can find to execute it. A part from this bin and one from that bin, your idea and my idea…like the original Porsche. Like Bell….he was the visionary, phones were already happening in Europe. He made it so everyone got one. You simply have no idea how this stuff works.

      • stimpy77

        Sounds like you didn’t get your hands much on BBSs in the 80s. I downloaded shareware over BBSs (pre-Internet standalone networks using telephone line) and downloaded shareware software and some of the shareware options included being able to connect to the publisher’s BBS server, enter a credit card, and download the full deal.

    • cameronolivier

      We are forgetting the Apple Newton, which I think is the first itteration of the “book” with a radio – in a handheld device with connectivity. The Newton was the early iPad/iPhone imo.

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  • What an incredible find.  Love the MIT video map experiment and Jobs characterization as incredible but not useful…Thank you thank you for sharing this

    • mcedwards

      I think when he said not useful he was referring to the seasons effect you could switch to… at least that’s how I interpreted it.

  • Thanks for putting this together, important to preserve this bit of history from one of the most influential persons of our time

  • Thanks for sharing this!
    Quite informative and interesting!

  •  Thanks for sharing this!
    Quite informative and interesting!

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  • Manuel García de Paredes

    Wow you fanboys must really be worried, now you are rehashing voodoo videos form the guru!!!!

    • Cvt5f2


    • SS

      Calling you an idiot, Sir, is an insult to the word idiot.

    • J. Meran

      At least people who use Apple have a great guru.
      Do you know the name of the Samsung visionary guru?
      Who is your guru?

      • Strykker

        now thats a guru! 😀 😀

        • PedroCst


    • SatanPerkele

      Rofl, you sir are no idiot. Steve Jobs should have died with the iPod.

      • jackflash1

         How’s that?

    • Dormido2008

      SAMSUNG has no guru..they like to copy apple and then say they are innovative…apple takes an idea and makes it better,samsung waits for that idea to be better then they copy rules…samsung has no guru is just a bucnh of koreans trying to take over the US market..

      • venom

        “just a bunch of Koreans trying to take over the US market” you were doing so good too. Now you’ve lost every credibility I had in your post.

        • jackflash1

           Why is that? He’s right….last I heard it was a Korean company. I mean it is still a Korean Company……Apple is an American company. A bunch of Americans trying to take over the world. As an American I can’t find that offensive. And neither will a Korean…grow up.

    • Steenberger


    • Xemilperez

      Tell me something that you have made that it has changed the life of many of the people in this world? Or at least a few hundred? Or a few people? … Then, I tell you … “Thanks…” If it is not so simply is a poor man that what you need is care of others…

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  • ZangHing

    Dude youve got to admit man that is pretty cool!

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  • elijahnicolas

    Can’t download anymore due to bandwidth restrictions.  Anyone else hosting it?

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  • “What’s even neater is what we can do in the next five years”

    He was forced out before that five years ever happened.

    • Darrell B

      And a good thing to.  Otherwise he would have had to learn from Apple the lessons he learned at NeXT and there might not have been an Apple for him to “come back” to.

  • Krayedz

    I love it when the audience laughed at things that he predicted existed today.

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  • he also touches on Facebook Privacy issues and also i think Siri at the end. genius.

  • Hello

    Can anybody tell me what the word is at about 46:51? “The ability to put something back into that pool of human experience is extremely ___” What word is that?

    • It sounds like “neat” to me. He seems to use the word “neat” fairly often and it seems to fit here.

      • Darrell B

        To me that’s what was great about him.  I wasn’t (just) about making money.  It was about putting “something back into that pool of human experience”.  It was about giving people the ability to be better than they were before.

    • Me


  • Leochanx

    Try to download from this link “”

  • Tropican

    Coming up on the one year anniversary, it’s truly a remarkable treasure to hear this speech.  Thank you, thank you for sharing this with everyone.

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  • The SJ of 1983 is completely interchangeable with the one from 2007. I don’t even own any apple products but it’s clear Steve had a three-dimensional map constructed in his head from very early on and just kept pounding away at it. Amazing.

  • He talks about Street View Maps, Early PC Farmville, Wireless technology… but I love the venue of this speech.  The value of him trying to convince designers to come design computers and talks about 15 years from now, it will be “Game Over”.  And that, ironically, is around when Steve came back to Apple… 1998.  Historic speech from one of the world’s true visionaries.

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  • Pablo Juan

    this should be required listening for CS 101 

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  • Teslacoilwhalesperm

    is this on reddit yet?

  • This is like unearthing a lecture by Edison. What an incredible find. If there was any doubt about the visionary qualities of Steve Jobs, this should erase it. The foresight displayed here in *1983* – prior to the Macintosh – is simply extraordinary and borderline uncanny. Have there ever been any other examples of “futurists” with this extreme precision? Only Arthur C Clarke comes to mind.

    • The “visionary” is just repeating other people’s ideas from *1968*. He also “got” most of them after visiting their lab. And forgot to mention that the most important thing in the original concept was that it should allow everyone, including children, to easily write computer programs.

      • Luke

        Many people have ideas. How many of them translated their ideas into reality?

      • Dormido2008

        u can talk your smack about steve jobs, but when he mention the kids being able to write something and sell it is not the first time it happens it happens with IOS too some kids have created apps,games..that shows you how easy it is to use apple products..and i hope u are like them kids making the big bucks..and not just talking smack and being an ignorant

      • Darrell B

        He wasn’t a visionary because he invented or even necessarily envisioned any of the amazing technologies mentioned.  It was because he was so adept at articulating the ideas of others.

        Say what you will, Steve Jobs sold it better than anyone else.

        Just like how the automobile was around before Henry Ford.  But in addition to making it affordable he just did a better job at making people understand it.  So he’s the one we remember most.

        • ezylstra

          One must distinguish between “sold it better” and “sold it at all”.

        • rr7

          Then, he wasn’t a visionarybut an articulate or eloquent person.

      • Josh

        “I have been given proper credit for my research and so have the other principal contributors to personal computing and Internetworking. We’ve all been given the major awards in our fields, honorary degrees from universities, elected as fellows to the major professional societies, etc,” Kay said. “I don’t know of any who wanted to be popular like a rock star or actor, so it all worked out well. And for quite a few of us, the big rewards now come from when our ideas are actually used rather than watered down.” -Alan Kay

        •  I didn’t mean to say that people who originated the ideas were not credited for them, just that it would be wrong to attribute them solely to Steve Jobs, as the article and some of the comments did.

          • Just to be clear, I did not imply that Steve Jobs was the only one who had futuristic visions of technology. I just found it incredible that as far back as 1983 he said Apple’s plan was to create a device that is extraordinarily similar to the iPad of today. As I write in my latest article, it is one thing to create a cardboard mock-up; it’s an entirely different thing to make something real.


          • It wasn’t your article, as much as the comments, that provoked me into posting. Yes, it is incredible, but isn’t it then even more incredible that these (and even greater) ideas, existed a whole decade before that, and that some of them actually *ran* on hardware of the time? This, for example, completely blows my mind:

            “Here’s an example, this is from 1975, of a program that looks very much like Mac Draw (…) The only thing really interesting in about this program is, besides that it was done in 1975, which is before you could buy it in the stores, was that it was actually conceived, designed and implemented by a twelve year old girl, after only a few months of programming in Smalltalk. It took her about two weeks to do this, and the size of the program in Smalltalk-72 was about a page long. Part of our aim here was not just to get people to be able to *access* things by means of the windows, but also to be able to do the equivalent of writing short essays, and having them have great effect.”

            This is what I call *vision*, and it’s exactly what’s missing from iPad, and for that matter, from almost every computing platform of today – very few of them, with the exception of One Laptop Per Child project maybe, are designed specifically to empower the ordinary user to easily create his/her own software (and thus do “personal computing”).

          • Your reply is very interesting. I’m totally in agreement that technology should empower its users. However, I disagree that it requires programmability in the traditional sense for a device/platform to have vision. Empowerment is the more critical requirement, and few platforms in history have empowered its users as the iOS has. Ironically, as Steve Jobs said in this speech, people don’t want to program computers, they want to USE computers. The flexibility and usability of the iOS platform empowers users to do almost anything they can think of without the necessity to program it. But the fact that so many people have programmed apps for the platform also speaks to its empowerment from that angle as well.

          • I hope that you are at least aware that the difference in user empowerment between these two approaches is measured in orders of magnitude.

            Ironically, people don’t want to program computers because people who provide computing platforms for them put very little effort (compared to  enormous efforts put into turning them into consumers), to make programming computers (a.k.a. “personal computing”, as it was originally envisioned) easier. As the previous video demonstrates, not only that this is possible, but was actually done in practice (in 70’s, almost a *decade* before the less important half of these efforts was commercialized), in a way that empowered *elementary school children* to create *their own software tools for animation and electronic circuit engineering* in a matter of *weeks*!

            This is the original (and for me, personally, the only acceptable) definition of “personal computing”, since computer, as a medium, was meant to be a platform for *computation* – or, as the father of the computer mouse said, “augmentation of human intellect”:

            One could argue that some iPad apps can help “augment human intellect” too, but the limitation that the operating system imposes on its users prevents the users from being empowered in ways like these:

            Empowering children like this is, of course, in conflict with the (bigger? more important?) vision of, as one of the commenters  here eloquently said, “making the big bucks”. I can only hope that Jobs successors will continue to empower their users in all imaginable ways – including those that fulfill the original vision and promise of “personal computing”.

          • I get what you’re saying. Certainly, if everyone could simply “will” their computers to do whatever they wanted any time through some sort of easy and quick programming, that would be ultimately empowering. However, that can not be the only acceptable version of an empowering platform. The reality is that programming is an intellectual exercise. Not everyone has weeks to learn a programming language, when all they want is a tool to complete a job. Again, in this speech, Jobs talks about software packages as them doing 90% of the work, leaving the user only the last 10% to do for themselves.
            Plus there is enormous efficiency when people can develop software that other people can use, instead of everyone developing their own software. There is a lot of power in that paradigm that can not be dismissed simply because each person isn’t doing their own programming. If the productivity of this paradigm wasn’t evident during the PC era, the point was slammed home when Apple introduced the App Store. People absolutely loved being able to get simple apps that enabled them to do specific tasks very easily.Even if we assume some sort of ideal programming language where people could learn in hours or days, there is still tremendous utility from people getting benefiting from the work of others. The reality is that it will be very difficult to develop programming environments that can be both extraordinarily easy for average users, yet still powerful enough to satisfy professional developers.But the thing about the iOS platform is that it does enable people to create software in a fairly simple manner. There are examples of children programming apps as well. It can be argued that the iOS development environment, descended from the Mac OS X, itself descended from NeXTStep (which was again, ironically developed by a Steve Jobs company) is an example of one of the most empowering development environments in history. Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the world wide web on a NeXT computer, credited its development environment: “I wrote the program using a NeXT computer. This had the advantage that there were some great tools available -it was a great computing environment in general. In fact, I could do in a couple of months what would take more like a year on other platforms, because on the NeXT, a lot of it was done for me already.” So I would encourage you to research the history of the development environment that now powers the iOS.

      • Nicholasalek

        I don’t think you understand how ideas work, but being arrogant.

        • Actually, I am profoundly humbled by the depth of insight and foresight that the researchers and inventors from 60s and 70s had, before their ideas were turned into reality. You are right that I don’t understand how ideas work – I expected them to improve over decades, not to degrade.

        • yes you are right nicholas

      • PARC was populated by many, many brilliant people.  But all those people, & especially their managers & executives, had no vision of what could be done with their ideas.  Jobs instantly saw the potential in so many ideas!

        Jobs’s brilliance is in the union of recognition, AND risk taking, AND fortitude, AND staying the course in difficult or impossible times, AND structuring a company of similarly talented people.

        Only a neophyte, or a selfish, or an inexperience technologist would believe Jobs’s singular talent was stealing.

        • A B

          Philosophy behind PARC was to innovate. They created some of the (rather most of the) modern wonders but were not interested in making it a business. They gave away most of their inventions for free to whoever came asking/begging

          • NetMage

            They actually sold Apple the rights to use those ideas for Apple stock, which Xerox later made a nice profit from.

        • There’s a misunderstanding here – I was not saying that what Jobs did was easy, or that he was stealing. I know very well how difficult is implementing any technological idea (especially back then when computers were that “fast” – I wrote programs for machines with less than 4MHz, so I remember) and I can’t imagine what he went through to deploy those ideas in the real world. The article and the comment I was replying to were not talking about the business part of it, but about Jobs being the only person who had the *vision* of personal computing back then, which is seriously uninformed – anyone who digs just a little bit into the history of computing will find out that there were many true visionaries who conceived and actively worked on these ideas long before 1983. Judging from their work, they actually *had* a very clear vision of what could be done with them, they just didn’t commercialize them (or they did partially, by selling some of them to Apple, as it seems). The vision and commercialization are two distinct topics – I was replying specifically to the first one, and the reason why I did it so cynically is that I find it very, very sad that even today, when we *do* have the technology (which was greatest obstacle back then, and some credit should go to Jobs for overcoming it, especially in the mobile space), we still don’t have the greater (and older) visions implemented. I see it as a big irony that everyone is applauding Jobs as a “visionary” for commercializing the lesser ideas, while with the money he had, he could easily make the greater ones, that predated them, become reality. He surely didn’t lack the resources, just good will. This is why I put “visionary” under quotes.

      • Ya, but he made it happen my friend.

      • Ben Klaiber

        You also forget to mention that PARC took the mouse from its actually inventor. It’s astounding how many people love to play ‘gotcha’, but don’t know the details.

        “Xerox also did not invent the idea of the mouse. PARC researchers got it from Stanford computer scientist Douglas Englebart. Englebart conceived moving a curser around the screen back in the 1960s. His mouse, Xerox’s mouse and Apple’s mouse are definitely not reproductions of each other. They are evolutions of a concept.” – Anatomy of an Apple, chapter 5. “the $500 mouse”.

    • pdexter

      Imo people are mystifying him way too much, it’s easy now. 
      He was not alone with these thoughts back then. 

      • jackflash1

         Sure he was….who else was talking like this back in ’83? Really,who? No one,that’s who.

    • bill steve

       thats right- just like edison, jobs had other people making his “inventions”
      you have no idea what you are talking about.  name one thing “invented” by steve jobs! you are an idiot sir, and well represent all the schmucks who buy appl products.  this is not 1986, sir. 

      • jackflash1

         He basically invented what we are doing right now. Right here…. It’s not a singular thing….like the automotive industry, it takes a lot of brains to make what we take for granted possible. Did you even listen to this? Or are you still dancing the Gate/ Jobs who’s better waltz? He’s describing Google World maps. in there…in 1983. You sir, have no idea what you are talking about….Steve sure did.

        • bill steve

          so he was describing google world maps? what’s that?

          • bill steve

             is it like downloading more ram? cause you make no sense to me at all. i knock your apfel fanboy down, and you come back with google world maps? as proof that ol steve just knew?
            as if

          • jackflash1

             How hard do you have to try to be as big an dickhead as you are? Does it take a lot of effort or does it come naturally? Give it a break,you look like a moron.

          • jackflash1

             “Google Earth.”…

      • Calm down, you didn’t understand.  No one said Jobs “invented” anything.

        JOBS MADE IT HAPPEN!  He wheeled the foresight & economic power to make brilliant inventions… of others, successfully come to market.

        That’s his glorious heritage, his accomplishment.  No more, no less. In large & small technology companies, there’s thousands of ideas. The brilliance of Jobs was picking the ones that would be appealing to others.

      • Bjnoodleman

        I bet you use Windows and HP. Your rant is typical of people who probably never used an Apple product. Jobs never claimed to invent anything, he merely gave his employees an idea and was smart enough to let them alone. Instead of hating, just calm down and realize competition makes the world go round.

    • Cliff Nadeau

      Edison? Really?  Nut hugger…

    • Kville

      Ron Paul from his 1988 interview.

      • I love Ron Paul. What exactly did he say? Is there a link to the interview?

    • great bro

      • Thanks for the 5 year late reply 😉

    • great post thanks

    • As soon as Henry Ford first had the automobile but besides making it affordable, people have done a great deal to understand it. So that’s what we miss most.

  • Relygn

    This is seriously astounding. Steve is an incredible visionaire with future sight. He singlehandedly reshaped the technology landscape of 21st century.
    Just amazing how he foresaw iPad, iTunes, App Store, iPhone, Wireless data and all.

    He will be missed.

    • Darrell B

      Agreed.  But it wasn’t enough that he had the insight and vision around those technologies.  He took a chance and was willing to fail in helping to create them.

  • Theiventeam

    Wow this just goes to show how tenacious one should be if they have a dream and really believe in it.

  • Rebekah

    Fantastic, he was definitely a visionary leader, I really feel inspired by this recording this is a live demonstration of the saying, “whatever the mind can conceive it can achieve” thank you so much for sharing.

  • Perler

    This is just brilliant… I was reading about personal computers and the Apple II at this very time (1983) from here in Australia. I can only imagine how hearing this talk at this time would have inspired me as a designer interested in computing, to get involved then… if only I had been there… I eventually went to talk Apple in 1995 as a consultant.

  • Hey he called out google maps!

  • Tim Reha

    Wow, really interesting. 

  • Greyfox7346

    Steve had access to incredible researchers at MIT and other places that’s all. He was just describing things he had seen while visiting.

    • cgeorgescu

      Let’s not forget Steve went to Xerox Parc and saw the Alto system way before he (re-)”invented the personal computer” with the GUI and stuff. Just google “xerox alto” and you’ll see how visionary SJ was, his only vision was to steal those ideas and people from Xerox and then sue MS for stealing from the same source.

      • mememe44

        i see you have memory problems. he licensed it from them. also, the xerox management people were dumb to the point of refusing to use what they had developed. they had no vision.
        steve jobs had. he “stole” the idea and improved on it.
        ms just did a bad copy of what they did.

      • jackflash1

         He didn’t steal anything….it was all done on the up and up. Xerox had no idea what to do with it and Jobs saw exactly what it was. He paid for it. He had a vision…..listen to him.

    • MPN

      Yes, he certainly did describe these things he saw. But what you fail to give him credit for is that he helped(at a minimum) bring many of the to fruition. Seeing something in the lab is far different than working to create, and make them popular, in the marketplace. Few argue that he actually engineered the technology he is famous for; instead it is the ability to make it user friendly and salable that will be his legacy. 

    • stimpy77

      Don’t forget that if he hadn’t accessed the researchers at MIT “and other places”, those researchers’ output would have stagnated, possibly for years or even decades. Jobs identified opportunity and executed on it in a genius manner.

    • jonbren

       So, you can visit a class room where a teacher speaks a lesson on Calculus and then proceed to teach others how to do it…just from a visit to a classroom?

  • These views aren’t as revolutionary as some might think. There were a number of tech pioneer back then who shared this vision, and in many areas that vision was becoming a reality.

  • Phill

    So what?Bullshit!
    Movies even showed tablets before him.

    • jackflash1

       You mean like Dick Tracy and his cool watch? Sure….that SF stuff was everywhere. How come you didn’t put it all together and make it real?

  • This is an absolute breathtaking find! …… here I am typing away on my imac in Adelaide Australia and I run across this astounding tape! The foresight and vision that Steve had is nothing short of Amazing! … and one more thing..this was 1983!!!! …Thank you very sincerely for putting this tape out there!

  • I admit to being an old cynic – and often poo poo people who try to predict futures.  But this is absolutely fascinating.  Hairs on back of neck stuff.  

  • TechPreacher

    Amazing… so on the ball and far ahead of his peer group in terms of defining concepts and even their practical uses… A true thinker and visionary… I really do miss him. He just had that ‘thing’ that makes a person truly unique in the special sense. Not perfect (who among us is?…) )but special indeed.

  • TechPreacher

    Does make me wonder how long can Apple keep
    their current form and progress, it is so obvious this man was the heart and
    soul of the company. The products he inspired on his return exploded them to
    the most valuable company in the world and the most copied and inspirational.

  • David Peck

    Thanks.  Fantastic piece of innovation history!

  • Peter

    Just a comment, the floating social link bar is hugely irritating and blocks the content on your page. Can you disable it or drop it into the page itself?

    • I’m trying to nail this “bug” down. I’ve had a grand total of 3 people mention it and I can’t seem to reproduce the problem. If you could send me a screenshot along with your computer/device, operating system, browser, and screen resolution I’ll try to figure this out. Thanks!

  • Darin Kirschner

    When he was talking about wanting to ask Aristotle’s writings a question as though it WAS Aristotle, he was talking about Siri. Siri hasn’t gotten there yet, but someday soon, we will all be able to point at the iPhone4S and say, THAT was the point where information gained true pseudo-sentient interactivity. That was Steve’s dogged dedication to the vision he had and he stated it right there… and before he died, he put it into motion.

  • Ray Ng

    Pretty incredible. Also hinted about apps on the App Store, developers writing a program that others can use, selling it with the distributor taking a cut, etc. Amazing how he takes bits of information he sees around him,extrapolate and put them all together into a big picture.

  • Joseph Laning

    The guy was truly amazing. Can’t believe this was 1983. Only the great science fiction writers come close, and he is actually doing and would go on to do the things he predicts.

  • numbernone

    What a bunch of d-bags criticizing Jobs.  I’m sure you go to concerts and rag on the conductor because he didn’t write the music?  Jobs was the conductor.  He didn’t create all the pieces but he pulled them all together into something beautiful.  Get over it. 

    • pdexter

      Why so defensive? It’s just discussion and we don’t all agree.

      It’s life and it will only get harder. 

  • thank you so much for doing this.  Amazing stuff… 

  • Anish das

    Though I hate the ios ecosystem (like syncing my media/app library every time I connect a device, alas! a file management system, sans widgets, propitiatory connectors,… and the list would just go on.. ), I am an admirer of design. That being said, It would be naive to say that Steve jobs isn’t my all time role model! (in perspective that is.)

  • over it

    the guy was shilling his future to-market concepts…yes, they were and are incredible…but this is hardly prescient…it’s just laying the foundation for a new market

  • Mark

    Can you post the original recording before it went thru Audacity? Perhaps some audio guru’s can remove the hiss without making it so muddy.

    • Darrell B

      Yes please.

    • It was fairly muddy to begin with, but I’ll entertain this idea down the road a bit. Life is  a little hectic right now 🙂

      • Wolfgang Woehl

        Maybe the tape deck you used has its heads way out of whack. Let someone adjust those and what you can pull off the deck might sound _much_ better. Unless the recording machine at the time had its heads way out of whack 🙂 In my life I have never heard a worse MC tape recording.

  • Cthornton

    Job’s ability to synthesize information, observations, perceptions and ideas is astonishing.  He was a brilliant, original thinker and a fearless creator.  Giving computers to all of CA’s schools using 25% of Apple’s worth is not the act of craven capitalist trying to corner a market, but that of a farsighted altruist trying to solve a problem way ahead of the curve. I chose him as my hero when we were both 28.  He never failed to inspire.

  • Ian Fredricks

    Great to listen to.  My pessimistic nature beckons the question; How long does Apple have?  Without a leader like Jobs, you have to wonder how long it will be until they become “just another computer company” to use his own words.  Thoughts?

  • Bobik

    Irrony, that I can’t play it on the iPad 🙂

    • Are you having trouble with it? I am able to play and download the file through an iPad.

  • I don’t want to steal any thunder away from Steve Jobs, but there were a lot of “great people” at the time talking the concepts and making the predictions he does in this tape. The concept of the tablet can actually be dated as early as 1888 and the concept was so evolved that just a few years later after the Steve Job’s speech, Knight Ridder put out a 13 minute video with a tablet that looks like the iPad and any other modern day tablet out
    there in the market.

    For the details, see–2844

  • The project “similar to Street View” was the Aspen Movie Map (and precursor) done at the Architecture Machine Group (forerunner of the Media Lab) at MIT in the mid-1970s under the direction of Prof Nicholas Negroponte and Prof Andy Lippman

  • ZillyDilly

    Thank you, Marcel. We can get a glimpse of where we are in the flow of history, and be humbled by where it will take our children. The power of the human mind. Wow!
    Eitan Schwarz MD

  • Many thanks for rescue this Treasure. Some people still don´t realize what this really means, but I am certainly sure the history and next generations will appreciate your contribution in few years.

  • The putting of a computer in a book reference would be to a laptop rather than a tablet. Apple solidified the notebook format we know today.

  • Oscar Castillo

    Also sounds like he had an early look at something like Google street view.

  • The best way to predict the future is to create it, right.

  • The best way to predict the future is to create it, right.

  • Steve is gone… so goes Apple …
    Timmy is a puppet CEO with NO STRINGS

    sad tho

  • crispy

    Thank you for posting this file. I was at that conference (first time I’d ever been to Aspen – it snowed in June and I froze my ass off). I didn’t remember the content of this speech, so being able to hear this again is amazing. What I do remember is Jobs himself. The man was like a cult leader. I sat there in that tent and listened to him and he pretty much convinced me that every thing I had learned up to that point as a designer was an anachronism and I should be okay with that because what was coming was so cool – and he sold me completely. The man could talk. The other thing I remember was seeing the Lisa computer prototype and thinking what a dumb name that was. Turns out I was right.

    • John Celuch

      Like you, I attended Job’s talk. After hearing it again it all came rushing back. The audience –  graphic designers, architects, industrial designers, writers, mostly creative types – was mesmerized by his passion, intelligence and predictions about what Apple was going to do down the road and in the future.  “The Future Isn’t What it  Used to be” was certainly an apropos title to the 1983 IDCA event!  

      I remember attending a workshop/demonstration of Macintosh in 1984 where my contemporaries (and I) came to the realization that our method of working was about to change. Our tools were about to be put into that little plastic box! The Mac was the fruit born by its poorly named predecessor, Lisa.

  • Crazybiker8888

    Steve Jobs is Apple Inc.

    • Crazybiker8888

      ironic that Apple Inc. is also Steve Jobs…

  • Andrew Sturgess

    It’s amazing how many people still feel the need to hate Steve Jobs for some ridiculous reason. No true technologist would say the kind of inflammatory bullshit that the trolls here speak. All of his rivals respect him. Bill Gates respects him. Sergey Brin and Larry Page respect him. Why are the trolls so –  literally –  retarded in their viewpoint against him?

    Steve Jobs pretty much never said “I was the first person to come up with this idea” because he was not a fucking idiot, and usually pretty aware of his shit. What he did say, quite often, was “We” or “Apple was the first to do such-and-such”, and what he mean by “do,” was to implement it into society in a simple, understandable and elegant manner that was quite valuable. 

    It is a complete waste of time to argue that this man did not change our world. 

    • bill steve

       sure changed our pocketbooks didn’t he?

      • jonbren

         From the content of your posts….I’m guessing you didn’t even listen.

    •  Please, all the speeches and presentations was always about the: “First and greatest ever ever never made”. Like most tech industries nowadays.

  • jackflash1

     It’s so weird…I’ve reading the comments and the trolls are here in droves. What do they want? What’s their point? Jobs did what he did….he fought tooth and nail with everybody trying to get these ideas across.

  • Yes, that Lisa sold (not) hundreds of millions (not even dollars, let alone units), and Apple never sold computers that handled graphic design, because that wasn’t important in people-to-people communicaitons.

  • Wonderful Share Thank You

  • Steve Jobs Talk in IDCA 1983 (Tape Recording)

  • prickos

    I miss him badly. He put so much fun and real passion into the industry and now what’s left are all boring CEOs that makes me wanna jump out the window after 3 sec.

  • What a treat to be able to hear this genius of our generation let us into his mind !!! Incredible !!!!

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  • Thanks to everyone who has commented on this article! Now make sure you read the “Lost” Steve Jobs Time Capsule article I just posted!

  • msbpodcast

    Like Alan Kay said: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

    Alan Kay was the visionary behind object-orientation, the Smalltalk programming langage (now called Squeak!,) GUIs, the LAN, the personal work station, the Dynabook (implemented to perfection in the iPad III,) and a whole host of things we take for granted now.

    Object orientation is not perfect because it failed to implement relationships as a class and connections as their instances.

  • great post!

  • I’ve heard this same speech before.  It was either another recording of this same one, or he may have given this same speech at other times…

  • PedroCst

    I’m sick of reading your crap.
    I bet most of you are a bunch of frustrated fuckers who did shit in your lives.

    Steve Jobs did something the few mortals were able to do. No arguments against facts.

  • Simplesmente demais.

  • A true visionary that got it done. He made me a believer in Apple products after 30 years of Microsoft.

  • Johan Bester

    Awesome Marcelle!  Great Job and great find!

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  • Oclupak

    Some parts of the audio are difficult to understand. It would be great if a transcript of the conference became available. 

    • Fastow Andy

      Here’s a full transcript I did, enjoy!

      • Oclupak

        Great! Thanks.

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  • daimonian

    Try reading the1953 novel Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke. If Jobs prediction blew your mind, keep in it that when Jobs made these predictions, there are already computers and primitive networks at play. The technology predicted by Arthur C. Clarke hasn’t even existed back then. In 1953, he predicted video conferencing, global positioning technology(GPS) remote drone (UAV) and more that will become the basis of technology tomorrow. 

  • Manish Chopra

    Many people think about the future gadgets but rarely anyone make this happen.
    For me, steve jobs is that rare person.

  • a247slacker

    yes all these other companies might have come up with the technology but then why did they not build a better phone before apple? why did they not build a better tablet before apple? they had all the same information way before apple did, anyone could have made it or made it better but they did not!!!!

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  • Stephen Jacobs

    It’s true that much of these ideas were part of the Dynabook or other computing thoughts and visions earlier.  Its true that much of the Mac came from PARC and Alan Kay, Englebart and others.  Jobs’ “Genius” was not about inventing the first wheel or the first Model T.  It was his ability to implement and deliver at a corporate level, combined with a very personal vision for design and human interaction with technology, that made his company a success.  His ability to identify what he wanted, find the right people with the right skills to implement it, and deliver the product is what made him and his company’s products wildly successful.  His genius was in an ability to aggregate concepts, identify specs, find the people to help make it happen and get it done.  PARC and Kay had big visions but were never able to execute in a way that made mass production for mass market consumption successful.  Jobs wasn’t Einstien or Edison the Eameses. He combined some of their best attributes with an art for synthesis and the ability to find the Einstien’s Edisons and Eamses he needed to get things done.

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  • So prescient!

  • Marc

    The way Steve explained what a computer is – simply elegant and elegantly simple.  He understand what a computer is not only from a perspective of a software engineer but from a perspective of a visionary.  He knows very well how to maximize the full benefit of a computer for human consumption – almost 4 decades before it becomes a reality.  I’m so proud I was born on the “computer-era” (as Steve said) and witness first hand the genius of this once in a lifetime visionary.  I miss him already 🙂

  • Guest

    While I’m not much of a fan of Steve Jobs, I do believe this recording could sound better. First, check the tape to make sure the spring supported felt pressure pad is intact, in place, and it is able to apply gentle pressure to the tape as it passes by the tape head, as well as the tape being able to move freely inside the cassette housing. (I would fast-forward and rewind any tapes like this if it’s been sitting for some time to release the stored up tension.) Secondly, use a bonfide clean and working condition “shoebox” tape recorder / player unit. You also need a precision screwdriver, like those for use on eyeglasses, because the azimuth of the playback head will need to be adjusted, up or down, a bit to get clean, crisp audio off that tape. It will be Mono not Stereo, so at least count on that. There’s really no need to save the sampled audio as anything other than an MP3 at 44.1khz if you use a bit rate around 256Kbps at least. And as far as surface hiss removal, I always look for an absolutely silent part of the tape, preferably an unrecorded spot on the tape itself. Not that the surface noise wasn’t removed right, you just need the precisely right spot to use for Audacity to get a noise profile. Of course, if you could use a Dolby playback deck, that problem gets solved.

    • Certainly I’m sure a lot more could have been done to make the recording sound better! But this was a labor of love, so I did what I could with the equipment I had, which wasn’t anything special. Just FYI, I did fast forward and rewind the tape before I played it. I did clean the heads as well. And I did look for a spot on the tape that had no other noise, but it wasn’t an unrecorded section. Regardless, once the madness dies down, I’ll entertain having the tape digitized professionally.

  • Marc

    Just one thing, I don’t agree that the questions asked were “unintelligible” as the author said.  I think the questions were as intelligent as Steve’s answers. Just my opinion.

    • The definition of “unintelligible” is also “poorly articulated or enunciated or drowned by noise”. The people who were asking the questions were unfortunately not mic’d so we can’t really hear them.

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  • is steve jobs illuminati?

  • illuminati

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  • garyasajar

    Success of apple was because of the phenomenal success of iPod.

  • Stanloh

    Thank you Marcel…this is precious. i will share this with my sons and friends.

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  • Jupitero

    Kane Kramer filed a patent in 1979 that was a spot-on prediction for the iPod. Jobs just read this patent and get ideas…

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  • Unbelievable Vision from a great innovator. Thanks for releasing this!  For anyone who wants some more great original content regarding Steve Jobs,  innovations and technology, visit as we prepare for our fall premier launch. 

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  • datashat

    Can you post a version without the noise filter? you’ve completely destroyed the mid-high range, almost unlistenable 🙁

  • Gmacyrox

    25 minutes 15 seconds steve talks about it

    • Gmacyrox

       25 minutes and 2 seconds

  • Adeline Bosanquet

    p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

    Aw, this was a really nice post. In idea I would like to put in
    writing like this additionally – taking time and actual effort to
    make a very good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate
    a lot and by no means seem to get something done.

  • Stephan

    Thank you, but please post the non-filtered audio (and perhaps using iTunes AAC, and not Lavf52)

  • lamtsui

    He see things so thoroughly…beyond a lot of people who have lived through 2/3 of their lives!A Genius

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  • John Marcus

    It seems he may have been partially wrong about the Giant Databases that know everything about us. About 32 or so.

    • John Marcus

      But don’t get me wrong he was a genius and visionary. He did what other people could not.

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  • Kleber E. Alvarenga

    Wow you fanboys must really be worried, now you are rehashing voodoo videos form the guru!!!!

    Alvarenga, Kleber
    Brazilian IT Consultant in Sistema ERP.

  • iKrontologist

    Love it! ….if there is one thing Steve was good at, it was in connecting to his higher power. Whether that came from his Zen Buddhism studies or his hippy days reading “Be Here Now” while on acid trips, the dude definitely connected to the Source of Greater Ideas! 😀

    OMG… the gaming stuff is the precursor of Farmville on Facebook! haha… being a life long gamer, this was very interesting to me. Since he basically lays down the framework of online social gaming today. Whether you love him or hate him, I was impressed by how much of a visionary he was back in those days in content provided here.

    What was also interesting about this speech, was that he saw in PARC what Xerox Execs failed to see. Mainly what was so phenomenal about PARC’s own backyard Brain Trust of ideas! … really, what would have happened if he hadn’t taken what Xerox was about to simply continue to write off, in their rush to take advantage of their Beefalo Tax Shelter like Technology Scams? Which only enabled Xerox to keep more of those outrageous 70% corporate taxes in the day, in their own pockets. While also lamely blowing right past the Pot of Gold in the Brain Trust PARC Labs Tax Shelter sitting in their own backyard!

    All those Xerox executive types saw in Apple was “5 times write off of that Million Dollars they invested in Apple shares”, the first year alone. Meaning what Xerox saw was a Cash Cow staring them in the face! lol… and they continued to make some kind of write off on Apple, as long as Apple failed for 5yrs ending in 1984 after Lisa launch! :DDD ….if Lisa hadn’t failed, Xerox would have sold those shares earlier. As it was due to that $1 Million dollar pre-IPO investment, Xerox was able to write off way over $10 Million total on the Apple Lisa Project Failure!

    When President Reagan came across the Beefalo Failure Tax scam in his 2nd term, he literally freaked out and ordered that tax loophole closed! ….and thus only then did the fools at Xerox think about suing Apple over stealing their GUI. Then the Court said, “Sorry Xerox, but you blew your chances years ago by not suing them for Copyright when you had the chance!!!

    Steve’s greatest attribute? “Perfect Timing” and so it is with 64bit he’d planned to bring since buying PA Semi in 2008 with it’s load of chip design IP and the Dobberpuhl/Jim Keller Brain Trust of engineers. Including 64bit SoC chip designs, 64bit RISC MP Chips up to 16 cores, along with the PWRficient RISC Dual Core 64bit chip the A7, A8 and A9 are based on. All Jim Keller n team had to do was remap the chip to ARM RISC 64bit instruction sets. Then Apple used the Samsung Brain Trust to shrink it from 65nm all the way down to their 28nm HKMG process, as Apple then walks away like Bugs Bunny saying, “What a maroon, what an ignoranimus” under their breath!
    Steve Jobs and Apple are the kings of the Con Game for sure!!!

    The decision to buy Intrinsity for Logic designs was his too. At it’s base iOS with it’s 32bit and 64bit hybrid kernel was nicely timed perfectly in order to beat the competition out the door! Apple says, “See ya suckers…. as it prepares to launch everything from iPods, Servers to Super Computers that could even put Intel out of business! …..even though I’m not really an Apple fan, the plan is pure genius!

  • I love the way he explains how computers work. He was a genius in building analogies. Makes you notice that he isn’t just parroting prefab text but has done a lot of thinking in a very broad way about what he talks about.

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  • Much has been commented about Steve Jobs been a visionary or someone who is good at “stealing” people idea. I would say ultimately this will depend on how many people love him vs how many others criticize him. the numbers shouldn’t go wrong. Steve has died. But how would ordinary people remember him apart from some who said he is nothing but someone who is good at “stealing” others’ ideas and converting to his own. i don’t think so. In this world of business is there a company who can really say he invent his own stuff without infringing on the idea of others? To me, at least Steve will be fondly remember for what he did to Apple and its users. As for Bill Gates and Zuckerberg, there is something controversial to their characters and companies till this day. Can we say the same of Apple and Steve except about his daughter?

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  • Great clip. Thanks for sharing.

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  • One must distinguish between “sold it better” and “sold it at all

  • Many people have ideas. How many of them translated their ideas into reality?

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  • steve job is man with great vision.