Steve Jobs and the Reserved Seat



That picture pretty much says it all. During the “Let’s Talk iPhone” event on Tuesday, I kept noticing that seat. “Reserved.” It was weird that the camera kept panning to that shot of the front row in Town Hall.

The room was packed tight with journalists, but there was that one seat left empty in the front row next to all of the other Apple executives. Steve’s seat.

I don’t know for sure if that seat was left empty for Steve or not, but I can only imagine that it had to have been. In a way, that reserved seat summarizes the core of who Apple is as a company and group of people.

Apple’s tribute page to Steve Jobs says that, “his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.” During Tuesday’s keynote, I kept wondering why the team of presenters seemed so subdued — especially Tim Cook and Phil Schiller.

I couldn’t put my finger on it then, but looking back, it’s obvious that Cook and the rest of the executive team knew that their dear friend and leader was on the verge of death. But there were still products to be announced, and as they say, “the show must go on.”

So, Cook, Forstall, Cue, and Schiller all gave us an Apple event filled with news on the state of Apple, iCloud, iOS 5, the iPod, and the iPhone 4S. Whether you like the 4S or not, you can’t deny that Apple delivered on Tuesday. Apple delivered without Steve.

But that reserved seat still says something. It says that there will always be a place for Steve at Apple. It says that, although Steve may be gone for good now, his impact and influence will always be appreciated and cherished by the company he invested relentlessly in for so many years. His spirit lives on through his products and the people he raised up to lead Apple into the future.

There will always be a seat reserved for you, Steve.

  • GoodByePioneer

    We’ll always miss you Steve.

  • DrM47145

    Well written. Well said.
    Good job, Alex.

  • Sean Harding

    I don’t know why but that picture made me cry a little. R.I.P. Steve, you will be missed greatly.

  • cool progeny

    Really excellent tribute. Steve will definitely be missed.

  • Ditya Rizky Yudistira

    i cant help to stop the tears reading this :(( its hard to see the apple campus mothership will be built without him.

  • akhyar

    i was struggling to kept my tears when i saw the photo, but finally it burst out as soon as i finished reading this article.. we love you Steve, eventhough we had the chance to meet you personally. May you rest in peace.. we’ll miss you dearly.. :(

  • gomez

    this makes me cry , we will miss you steve jobs , you will always be remember 

  • Killy

    Just heard someone from cult of the mac on BBC 5 Live saying how how Tim blew the keynote making the 4S sound boring. In light of what we now know and what the team must have known it’s a miracle that the team kept it together. What did you expect? In the circumstances it was an outstandingly strong performance.

  • Angelica Garcia Salazar

    Thank you Steve.

    Sent from my iHeart

  • Guy

    This goes to Tim Cook… please never let that seat be occupied by anyone else. It seems a fitting memorial for that seat to be forever reserved for Steve Jobs. 

  • Christine thoma

    RIP Steve Jobs. Lets give our condolences here

  • Christine thoma

    RIP Steve Jobs. Lets give our condolences here

  • Tellme

    Hindsight is 20/20.

  • Williamjing

    Steve, you will always be remembered. May you rest in peace. Thank you for all you have contributed to the world.

  • APPL13D5C13NC3

    I think this is the best post that I have read from you Alex. It made me cry for the 2nd time today. Like many of us who read cult of mac daily Steve was my hero and his passing greatly affects me. I still cant believe it actually happened. I agree with Guy, that seat should never be occupied by anyone as a reminder of how important and amazing Steve was.

  • Canadianguy

    Very well written. Thank you.

  • yasza

    “there will always be a place for Steve at Apple” nice, we will miss Steve

  • Taufique Hassan

    He is my super hero. This is a great loss for mankind!!

  • alexheath

    I appreciate all the love guys. Steve is a hero to all of us.

  • manda907

    I agree with you on this was a very touching article, and I also agree that the seat should always be reserved in the years to come no matter what. 

  • oakdesk23

    Every time the camera went back to that shot I hoped or expected to see Steve sitting there. It was obviously his seat, it never entered my mind he was as unwell as he was.

  • Ian McPhee

    It is quite an image. I can only speculate that yesterdays relatively low key event meant that the presenters knew what was happening. It felt a bit off yesterday in my view. i now understand why. 

    steve, you were a visionary and a hero to many, including me. you’ll be missed mate. 

  • CharliK

    out of respect for the man and his family can we please stop with the assumptions and the conjecture. 

    You don’t KNOW that the seat was for him, you don’t KNOW that anyone knew anything. 

    He died. It sucks. Just leave it at that and move on. Steve wanted the media and the world to focus on Apple’s products not his life. Respect that request and include his death

  • oakdesk23

    “you don’t KNOW that anyone knew anything” … except you, of course — you know EXACTLY what Steve wanted.

  • Seven Dreads

    iSad 2

  • Ihengbok

    I felt the same way.
    RIP Steve.


  • Mighty Rabbit

    4S is “For Steve”

  • APPL13D5C13NC3

    dude you just fucked up this post… fuck you seriously FUCK YOU!

  • cbroberg

    I think that you are right with the empty seat, and i am also sure that Apple with full intent named the new iphone4S to his tribute. 4S simply means “For Steve”.

  • Paul Jamieson

    Great Post, Thanks…..

  • steven

    so true

  • b1scu1t

    And you don’t KNOW this seat wasn’t for him, right???

    BTW go watch previous keynotes, held at that same event, say the April 2010 event… Steve Jobs invited Scott Forstall to the stage about 16 minutes in and Steve Jobs went to sit on that seat. Scott also sat there in that event, they just swopped seats.
    It’s fairly safe to assume, that this seat was reserved for Steve at the October 2011 event since Scott didn’t sit there? Tim Cook also didn’t sit there? Nobody sat there….
    Who’s the one person that’s not at the event???

  • Peter Lim

    Great Post. I agree. Phil was not at his peak. something was off…

  • Eddy Suwito

    i just saw this at cultofmac

  • Salipur


  • Abhijeet Verma

    Devastated and deeply saddened by the loss of a genius, mentor and innovator. We will all miss you Steve.

  • hfo

    what a moving and so true story,

  • James Beer

    at least good ol Steve got to see the 4s launch, that would have made his last few memories happy ones…

  • gareth edwards

    I cried like a baby in the shower this morning – I’m a 37 year old man.

    Kind of felt like I was reliving a part in the Don McLean song American Pie.

    For a man I never met he sure did make an impact on me. I, along with many people he never met, will miss him deeply. 

    Every article I read makes my eyes hot and wet. There’s a really nice post by Walt Mosberg over at the WSJ.

    As for the empty seat, it could only have been for Steve, and it certainly does explain the rather strange, low energy in the iPhone 4s launch.

    My heart goes out to all the people in his work and personal life he’s left behind.

    It’s the mark of a great man that he was truly loved.

  • gareth edwards

    yeah, that would be an amazing gesture.

  • Lee Murrell

    I saw the seat and immediately thought the same thing, infect I thought he might make an appearance… Phil wasnt right at all, now I realise that it wasn’t just nerves! What a sad day, my whole adult life has been immersed with Apple, I wish my parents could have given me an iPad at 1yr old like I gave my daughter… The revolution has been televised, it’s great we have Steve’s visionary presentations to look back on via YouTube.

  • N_e_m_o

    Farewell Steve 

    Here’s my tribute to a lion of a man. If the image doesn’t come up well here’s a link for it.


  • Timothy Murphy

    Many things in the next few days are going to be hard to trollPr

  • Mr_west

    Thats what i thought too!

  • Natto Sasaki

    Steve hasn’t passed away, he’s setting up iCloud for us all…

  • Jeffrey Jevnikar

    At every event, they should reserve a seat for him.

  • Roko

    iPhone 4S ( 4S = For Steve)

    A beautifull tribute to the man that made Apple what it is today!

    And that is why there was no iPhone 5!

  • feelingtheweight

    I first learned how to program computers, and to type, sitting in front of an Apple II, then IIe, after school as a 12 year-old middle schooler with one of my teachers. Those afternoons shaped my future in ways that I couldn’t have imagined. Thanks to Steve Jobs, I never flipped one hamburger all the way through college.

  • nuxnix

    Thanks for this pic and your observations. Im sure you are right. Made me very emotional.

  • rebelh3art

    iPhone 4S .. for (S)teve, in his memory

  • Silvya

    I love your comment. Thank you for cheering me up in such hard time.

  • Jeff Needles

    Like Elijah at the seder I hope Steve will always have a seat at keynotes.

  • Gareth

    now i realise why the 4S keynote was so somber the Apple team knew something we didn’t.thank you steve for introducing me to Mac.

  • Maxamiliun

    from now on, every apple event should have 1 reserved seat in memory of Steve Jobs

  • kevplugz

    It immediately crossed my mind when I saw that on the stream, but I dismissed it as just ‘one of those things’, sad to say I had a feeling that this news was on the was as soon as he stepped down a few weeks back. Having watched Steve for the past 10 years or so I knew that nothing, not cancer, not liver transplants, not anything could keep him down and away from Apple. Very, very sad. Somehow that seat left empty seems fitting.

  • Dante Fiero

    This is cultofmac…

  • Tonya Holcombe Kelley

    I started watching the keynote last night after they announced Steve’s death and one of the first things I noticed was the reserved seat. Touching tribute for a great man! Phil and the others must have known the end was near, makes the somber mood very appropriate. I also like the idea that the iPhone 4S is 4 Steve.

  • oxfdblue

    I watched the event on Tuesday evening (on my iPad…lol).  I noticed that Tim Cook seemed very emotional at times when talking about the company.

    Now we all know why.

  • John Ramirez

    dude, your stoned

  • Tempered


  • nthnm

    One of my first thoughts after learning of his passing was that he passed the day prior. He seemed like the kind of guy who would have been adamant to keep that news quiet as to not “upstage” the 4Gs/iOS5 event.

  • rogerdodgerTM

    I think that, from now on, buying an Apple product will be a more profound act. there will be Steve’s soul inside of them.

    I was skeptical if buy an iPhone 4 or an iPhone 4S. But now I want the iPhone 4Steve so much, I will buy it as a tribute to our great leader.

    We love you Steve.

    1955 – FOREVER

  • CharliK

    I never said that I did. If I did know anything I wouldn’t have said it out of respect for Mr Jobs. 

    Frankly I don’t see why folks are telling me to go fuck myself when I asked for the conjecture and gossip to end. But whatever, if you want to be a gossip mongering asshole over a guy that is dead just like you were when he was alive I’m sure Leander would be happy to hire you, it’s exactly his style as well

  • KjohnM

    I’m very new to Apple products, having been windows for many years. This sad loss has made me realise how much SJs vision has changed my tech experience. He didn’t just create great tools; he also created great works of art…..