Phil Schiller Takes a Drive

by Derrick Story

There was plenty of speculation as to why Phil Schiller, Apple VP of Worldwide Product Marketing, would consider making the two-hour drive north from Cupertino to the Double Tree Hotel in Rohnert Park, CA. But when the lights went on, sure enough, he was there on stage. Phil remarked, "Rumors have it that I'm here because someone who knows me from high school has some dirt on me. Well, that just isn't true," he said with a smile.

The North Coast Mac Users Group had managed to lure him to Sonoma County to discuss Mac OS X 10.1 and the iPod. The audience exceeded 250 people who clearly enjoy using Macs. Yet by a show of hands, less than 30 percent of them have booted-up Mac OS X.

Phil did his best to encourage folks that now is a great time to make the switch. He even brought along Ken Bereskin, Director of Mac OS Marketing, to show off the speed and elegance of Apple new Unix-based OS.

In one sense, it was remarkable to watch the guy who handles Apple's big keynote addresses when Steve Jobs isn't available rub elbows with the user group crowd. It was like a BOF on steriods.

Their comments and reactions to Phil's presentation reminded me that the Mac attracts a true melting pot of computer users who are hungry for knowledge at all skill levels, and who aren't afraid to ask questions.

There's no such thing as a typical Mac user. And no one seems to understand that better than Phil Schiller. Maybe that's why Apple's VP was there.

Maybe Phil was there because he understands the value of the occasional reality check ... or not. What do you think?