In 1996, when Steve Jobs came back to Apple after a decade-long exile, the company's products took a dramatic turn. The next 15 years would be a whirlwind of monstrous success after monstrous success--iMac, iPod, iTunes Music Store, Intel-based MacBook, iPhone, MacBook Air, iPad. Jobs's resignation as CEO yesterday has led to some excessive hand-wringing about Apple's future, near and far, but the Jobsian philosophy--in which the consumer is king, in which there is one right way to do things, in which it is always preferable to trim than to add--will hopefully have permeated Apple enough to weather his departure. It's already had an effect on the world at large.
The Jobsian philosophy is so fundamentally different from the ethos of the other tech giants--Microsoft especially, but also Sony, Google, Facebook, and (until last week) HP--that it's surprising that Jobs came from the same place and time. The core Silicon Valley companies all sprung from the tinkerers-in-garages set, a state of mind that's remained essential to techies decades later. Jobs was a key member of that group, and his work with Apple in the company's early years is not really so different from Microsoft's early work, though Jobs was always less of a businessman and perhaps a bit more autocratic (especially as regards licensing).
After he was ousted by Apple's board in 1985, he spent a decade creating another company, NeXT Computing, from scratch. It's tempting to chalk up his later success to some of the life changes that happened during this time (which you can read more about in Gizmodo's timeline)--meeting his biological family, getting married, having two children, beginning to identify as Buddhist--but the change in attitude and work habits that enabled his success might be more easily explained with simple math. The guy was barely 30 years old when he was forced out of Apple, and 40 when he came back. And it was when he came back that his vision coagulated into something tangible.
The Jobsian vision is a variation on minimalism, something completely unexpected when dealing with computers, inherently complex devices. To Jobs, computers are for real people. Not businessmen (ahem HP) or corporations (ahem Microsoft), but people. Computers should be beautiful objects. (Jobs at one point said, when resigning from Apple in 1985, "If Apple becomes a place where computers are a commodity item, where the romance is gone, and where people forget that computers are the most incredible invention that man has ever invented, I'll feel I have lost Apple.") Computers should be intuitive and simple, but never dull. It is the duty of the computer's maker to discover the best way to do things, and to eliminate anything that makes that path difficult. And when you make something simple, the details become the most important thing.
Click to launch our guide to Steve Jobs's minimalist ethos.
The easiest comparison, to me, is to a chef. Take the best ingredients, assemble them simply but precisely, and present a finished dish the way it should be consumed. No extra garnishes, nothing superfluous. Too much is worse than too little. No optional sauces, no mix-and-match, no "add this if you want." The chef is the expert here, not the patron.
That mentality has irked or infuriated the tinkerers, as well it should. There's certainly a sense of smugness--the Jobsian philosophy says "I know the way this should be done." And it has led Apple astray, sometimes. But Apple is also backed by undeniably brilliant engineers and designers (chief among them Jon Ives), which is why their products are successes more often than not. A composed dish can be amazing, or awful, but a buffet can only rise to a certain height. That's the Jobsian philosophy, anyway.
That minimalism has had an effect just about everywhere. Apple isn't just a gadget-maker; the products spearheaded under Jobs are in the Museum of Modern Art. They've inspired similar-minded folks in all kinds of disparate industries, consciously or not. Apple was one of the first to fiercely embrace the use of certain typographic ideas (especially the Helvetica font), which is now used in just about every location imaginable, especially all over the web. Every tech company at least tried the start their own content stores, from Microsoft's Zune to Sony's Connect (some were more successful than others). Companies like American Apparel copied Apple's minimalism, while just about every ad strives to hit an "Apple-like" note of innovation and hipness. Apple's success in the future won't rely on whoever's sitting in the boss's seat--it'll come from hiring brilliant folks and adhering to the model already in place.
Apple isn't like Sony, which crumpled in ability and influence after the departure of its two founders. That's because Sony's founders were amazing engineers and designers--but that's it. Without their two stars, Sony had trouble. But Apple has a guiding philosophy to lead it, one that can function with all kinds of different leaders. With any luck, Apple will be just fine.
ill pass on apple products. how long did it take to get a cd drive for a mac? flash on an iphone? lol yea right but hey atleast u get apps....and well thats all u get with an iphone.
ill stick with my windows, i dont overload it with to much crap programs so it never crashes. i have an android phone that does everything an iphones does. i do have an ipod, because it was given to me and i fucking hate itunes. the only difference between apple and microsoft is apple limits u. limits ur choices and makes u pay more for less options.
btw theres no such thing as cloud storage. all the data is still stored on a harddrive, just not in ur control, not in ur device, not in ur home. lose ur internet connection and u lose ur data.
ill pass on giving up control over my options and data but its the wave of the future...
Steve Jobs has been one of the greatest innovators of the last couple decades, no doubt about it. Isn't it fascinating that Apple products can inspire such passionate and often irrational emotions? I wonder why.
Really liked this article. Just gonna have to wait and see. It just goes to show that all you need is drive and finding brilliant minds alike. That Jobs was autocratic is funny.
apple is one of the biggest scamming companies of all time. they depend largely on fads and not so much on whats good for the customer. i owned an apple once that was given to me as a present and decided to sell it the next day. piece of crap was annoying. sold it for what i thought it was truly worth. 50 bucks. windows is the best. apple could never be on its level. windows is the leader, apple is the follower.
Am I the only one who actually LIKED the buttonless iPod shuffle? At the very least, I liked the premise of putting buttons to control it up near my ear, so I don't have to fumble around with the thing if I listen to my iPod while I'm driving or working out. I quickly forgot about my old 2nd-gen Shuffle.
I hardly approve of everything Apple does, but at least they're doing one thing (portable music players) right with the iPod shuffle/nano.
The apple haters are just so ignorant these days....
What was their trumpet when iPhone first came out? Oh yeah, 'no one will want to switch to a keypad without a tactile feel'
I'm excited to see when quantum computing will fit right in our pocket, it's not too far away y'know.
And to all those who think the world is about to end... FOOLISHNESS!
We've yet to experience 'a great wealth across all the land', that will come after free energy is introduced to the masses.
why will appple be just fine?
people getting fed up with the same old story.. all products have a strategically left out feature to stir up sales of the next 'gen' version that comes far too quickly and contains that missing feature, but now another feature is missing that will be on the next version instead.. again and again.... things like batteries are built in non-replacablte... screwing people and forcing them to buy another of the same product they already own after time.
look at the mac pro.. a radeon hd5770... really? meanwhile the imac is $1000+ less and has the 6series cards... forget about a firepro or fire gl card... they don't even offer workstation professional graphics for these "professional workstation" computers... OXYMORON...
all of their products go through careful design process that makes them too quirky to be ideally liked by everyone, so that when gifted some people will tire and buy a 2nd of one that better suits them, then gift a version of the one they liked to someone else who actually likes a different model better... often resulting in people who have ipods that they just dont use but were purchsed and made apple money several times where iriver/zune/etc would have just sold one unit per person.
the only secure market share of apples is their notebooks.
android is taking over the tablet/smartphone market share more everyday.
who buys a ipod anymore when you have a smartphone?
those android phones are causing slumping itunes sales as non-apple products dont use itunes by default, more people are getting tired or apple itunes drm as they buy new hardware and discover the music they paid for has strings attached... pirated music is easily copied to an android device, more and more people have many SD cards and would like a device that can use them.
the iMac comes across as a girls computer, and although is a much smarter purchase over the base model mac pros it's often overlooked, leading to a frustrated mac pro customer, or people who just save the rediculous price of the pro and get a better equiped PC for $1000 less and put a $30 copy of OSX on it and dual boot windows 7.
with ASUS and others incorperating hardware supported simaltaniusly running multipul OS's withing the chipset, a PC running linux/osx/windows all at the same time is now far more stable and logical choice for professional;s who generally were the market for mac in the past, like advertising, video and graphic design. unfortunately for mac's.. the hardware is all intel now, the same PC tech... the 'it does graphics and music work faster' is long long long gone... mac virus's are now well known and a mac users with there credit card info stolen are becoming enough to worry visa and mastercard alike as the percentage of mac users surfing unprotected is bonkers when compared to PC users surfing unprotected, and groups know this.. the mac user is a cash cow of ID theft potential.
with the fad of apples ipod and iphones looking and being so 'new' and 'cool' now coming to end of life, people have surplus outdated slow and worn out i devices with nonreplacable junk batteries in them.. the image left is now 'look at all this iJunk in my closet... ooooh look at that HTC/Samsung android phone! i wont even need to buy an mp3 player with that in my pocket!'
Apple notebook sales will continue to be fine.... everything else.. well theres no reason for them to sell any at all.... a large portion of sales is and will sadly continue to be colleges telling their students they must use a mac... for no reason at all.. corruption.
Apple has jumped the shark, job is out now to protect his ego.....
GOOGLE FTW!!!!!!!! OPEN SOURCE !!!!! Peace out APPLE!!!!
People who mock Apple and Jobs should pause to reflect that for better and worse, most of the broad outlines of personal computing over the last 30 years have been established by Apple. Apple does it right first, proves the concept, then the rest of the industry follows behind.
The mass market PC, the GUI, decentralized local networking, loosing the floppy drive, usb , secured operating systems, smart phones, tablets, content delivery, personalized cloud storage, end-user computing services etc. Once you trace the evolution of major pieces of computing technology, it becomes clear that most of those lines of evolution pass through Apple.
For nearly, 30 people who never use Apple products have slammed them and sneered at them only to find themselves a few years later using the same basic technology provided by a copycat company. I remember when the Mac's GUI was sneered at but today even unix geeks use them.
Anyone setting using a Windows PC or and Android devices is using hardware software and business models first proven in the mass market by Apple. Further, most of those innovations occurred under Job's leadership.
I do worry about Apple without Jobs. I was at Apple in the mid-90s when the company nearly melted down. Apple can't afford the mistakes that someone like Microsoft or Google can make. Everything they make has to work and work so well that people will pay a perceived premium for it. That level of excellence is very hard to carry off across every product a company makes.
And yet, as I sit here with my brand new (and second) MacBookPro, and my iPhone and my iPad (well, my wife is using it), all of which are remarkably durable and well designed pieces of equipment, I wonder about those who badmouth them. Yes, my MBP is expensive, but my two year old MBP looked and worked exactly like it did the first day I used it (it belonged to work, not to me), so perhaps you get what you pay for. I've had more than 20 computers that I owned myself (laptops, servers, desktops), not counting work computers, and I don't know how many cell phones (since about 1990), and no other product line has been as reliable. Nothing is missing from my MBP, so regardless of what product features were missing in the past, what I have now is certainly pretty up to date.
But the great thing about living in America is that we can make our own choices. My Apple stock is very happy that there are others like myself.
top management always make a difference. the entire game is always related in the end to ECONOMICS and ways and means to achieve max profit - as the top guy thinks is the best way to do so.