In the late 1990s I became quite obsessed with a brilliant wee program called WindowBlinds, which enabled you to replace the Windows UI with whatever you wanted.
My PC spent some time being a Mac, and being a BeOS box, and being a made-up machine from the future - but for all my fiddling I couldn't change the important thing: it's not how a product looks that matters, but how it works. WindowBlinds could change the former, but not the latter.
Apple has done more than change the colours around and strip the shininess from the app icons. It's clearly informed by WebOS, Android, Windows Phone and the jailbreakers, but Jonathan Ive is no magpie swooping around to steal anything shiny he sees. The iOS team has clearly sweated the small stuff to produce something that isn't just pretty to look at, but that's genuinely going to make iOS nicer and more fun to use.
Keynotes can be pretty tedious things, but bar the stomach-churning demo fail at the beginning - and I do wonder why a developer got to show off robot toy cars, no matter how clever, at all - this one was mainly killer and very little filler.
Still doomed, obviously
Back in April I wrote about the flurry of Apple Is Doomed stories, and argued that "claiming that Apple doesn't have anything in the pipeline is even more ridiculous. There were six years between the iPod and iPhone. We're supposed to write off Apple because it's been a whole six months since the iPad mini?"
One month later there's a brand new and completely unexpected-looking Mac Pro (wags have already dubbed it the iBin and the Tube), a whole new version of iOS, a new version of OS X, Haswell MacBook Airs, a music discovery app, iWork for iCloud, new versions of iWork (for the desktop) and iOS for cars. As Phil Schiller put it: "Can't innovate any more my ass."
What was interesting about the keynote wasn't just the products or Apple's obvious confidence, though. The politics were interesting too. Android received plenty of kickings, but with the exception of the inevitable Windows 8 dig Microsoft escaped relatively unscathed - and when Tim Cook unleashed Tim's World of Numbers as he so loves to do, the numbers were used to hammer Google, not Microsoft.
By an amazing coincidence, Apple's partner for Siri's web search results turned out to be not Google, but Bing. I might be reading too much into things, but I felt that Apple's relationship with Facebook showed signs of cooling too.
It won't silence the doomsayers, but I reckon this keynote offered everything. We had products. We had politics. We even have a mystery to solve, because all the iOS 7 demos ran on iPhones, but not on iPads. What's Apple hiding?