Who is Craig Federighi, and why is he the star of the show at Apple’s WWDC keynote address today? Tim Cook replaced Steve Jobs as the CEO of Apple three years ago, and also took his place as emcee of Apple’s media events. But while Cook competently represents Apple during introductions and manages to get in a few good lines, he’s never appeared comfortable on stage. The keynotes had already become a presentation-by-committee in Jobs’ later years, and now in the Cook era, they’re an outright tag team event. And for the second year in a row, Craig Federighi is stealing the show, this time presenting MacOS X Yosemite on stage.
Craig Federighi emerged as the de facto leader of Apple’s software interface and design efforts after longtime software honcho Scott Forstall was forced out of the company. Two years in a row he’s handled the introduction of Apple’s new MacOS X and iOS interfaces, offering the kind of charisma on stage that’s enough to evoke at least some echoes of the legendary Jobs keynotes of years past. That may not be a coincidence, as Federighi worked under Jobs going all the way back to their time at NeXT, and the two joined Apple at the same time. But Federighi left Apple for several years, only returning in 2009.
Today at WWDC 2014, Craig Federighi is handling the introduction of OS X Yosemite, which replaces OS X Mavericks. He jokingly suggested that Apple considered naming the new software after different California towns, including OS X Weed and OS X Rancho Cucamonga. He’ll likely return to unveil iOS 8 later in the keynote presentation. He’s quickly putting himself on the map as one of the new faces of Apple’s next generation post-Jobs.