Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Jobs honoured behind closed doors

Apple's stores closed so staff could watch a memorial service for the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs

Technology giant Apple's famous penchant for secrecy remained intact as the company's shops were closed and employees were tight-lipped about a private memorial service to celebrate the life of company co-founder Steve Jobs.

The service, announced to Apple employees in an email by CEO Tim Cook, took place at company headquarters in Cupertino, California. It was also being webcast to employees worldwide.

Apple planned to keep its shops closed for several hours so employees could watch the service. At shops across northern California, white curtains were draped across the windows to block the view from outside.

Near the Apple campus before services started at 10am local time, police directed traffic and employees streamed towards the company's outdoor amphitheatre. Media handlers kept reporters from getting too close to the scene and tried to prevent them from speaking with staff.

Music drifted across the campus from the service, and employees leaving the area said Coldplay and singer Norah Jones had performed live. They said Coldplay frontman Chris Martin had told everyone to get back to work after the service, because that is what Jobs would have wanted.

The mood at the service was festive, not sombre, employees said. Speakers reportedly included Mr Cook, Apple's chief designer Jony Ive and former US vice-president Al Gore.

Jobs died on October 5 aged 56 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Outside an Apple shop in Manhattan, New York, a sign read: "The Apple Store is temporarily closed. We'll reopen at 3pm." No reason was given.

Things looked normal inside except for the lack of customers and employees. Lights and laptops were still on. A reporter saw people gathered in an upstairs room, their backs facing the outside.

Analyst Stephen Baker, who tracks consumer electronics sales for research group NPD, said Apple does not stand to lose a lot of sales by closing its shops for a few hours. A customer or two might be unhappy when finding the store closed, but most would simply turn to other outlets that sell Apple products, he said.