Volkswagen gets a special mention for gaming fuel-emission tests via the software in its cars. And BlackBerry, long proud of going its own way, finds itself pinning its comeback hopes on a phone that leans heavily on software from another company, Alphabet’s Google.
Lastly, all of Silicon Valley gets a turkey this year because the tech industry still can’t figure out how to hire, retain and promote more women and minorities.
Since innovation apparently can mean figuring out new ways to screw up, we’ve rounded up a supersized 17 examples of the most cringe-inducing tech turkeys for your holiday entertainment.
The film is (extremely) loosely based on Walter Isaacson’s 2011 biography of Jobs, written over two years with the cooperation of Jobs himself and hurriedly published in the wake of his death. Aaron Sorkin, who wrote the screenplay, likened the worldwide outpouring of grief in the wake of his death to that following John Lennon’s murder.
The plot revolves around the minutes before three major product launches in 1984, 1988 and 1998, but its driving force is an unflinching examination of Jobs’ relationship with his first daughter Lisa, whom he denied the paternity of for many years.
“I’m not your father,” he tells her, before stalking off to bully and threaten his staff into adhering to his exacting high standards, from quite literally taking the shirt of an unsuspecting man’s back so that Jobs could pull a floppy disc from its breast pocket, to snarling at former fellow co-founder Steve Wozniak, ”You’re gonna have a stroke, little buddy.”
None of this, unless you’ve been living under a rock, is exactly new information. The notoriously secretive Apple, which is extremely protective of Jobs’ legacy, has rallied against Sorkin and Danny Boyle’s biopic for years, with chief executive Tim Cook describing it as “opportunistic”and chief design officer Jony Ive saying he didn’t “recognise that man at all. It’s heartbreaking”.
But it’s not just the company’s top brass who have turned their backs on the project. Steve Jobs made a paltry $7.3 million (£4.8m) during its US opening weekend, ahead of its UK release on November 13, and has only taken around $16 million since the end of October, despite costing around $30 million to make.
Michael Fassbender, who plays the titular role, by his own admission doesn’t “look anything like him”, with Apple observers criticising the plot’s many factual inaccuracies and how some characters,particularly in the case of Wozniak, have undergone full personality overhauls.
Jobs was, by all accounts, one of the rarest kind of people insofar as he was uncompromising in his obsessions, ruthless to the point of cruelty when it came to getting his own way, which the film wrongly attributes to the lack of control he felt at being put up for adoption as a child (Jobs himself said knowing he was adopted meant he “always felt special”). A people-pleaser he was not.
The question in my mind is not so much whether it’s possible to be decent and gifted at the same time, as Wozniak tersely tells Jobs it is, but rather, who cares? Jobs was a gifted leader and marketer, and his tenacity and dedication to his work should be praised, rather than vilified. It should also be noted that he reconciled with Lisa and apologised many times for his behaviour, which is more than many other children of absent fathers get.
The most rewarding teachers are often the ones who are hardest on you, as this year’s academy award-winning Whiplash demonstrated so beautifully. Jobs, volatile though he may have been, knew how to get results, whether that was through cajoling, manipulating or outright insulting. He once told Ive he was “really vain…You just want people to like you.” “I was terribly cross,” recalled Ive, “Because I knew he was right.”
The desperate desire for acceptance many of us feel so acutely is exactly that, a vanity. Jobs’ complete disregard for the opinions, and on occasion, feelings of others freed him from the crushing weight of expectation and consequent risk of disappointment to focus with a laser-like precision on exactly what he wanted, in his own words, “to make a ding in the universe”.
Yet there is no doubt Jobs was admired, revered and deeply loved, as the glowing testimonials of those who knew him best show. It is nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice, or so the saying goes. Maybe it’s more important to recognise that not being a people-pleaser is nothing to be ashamed of.
Call it a biopic. Call it fiction. It doesn’t matter: Audiences didn’t want to see “Steve Jobs.”
Aaron Sorkin’s movie hit the nation’s theaters this weekend with a resounding thud, bringing in a mere $7.3 million in its first weekend of wide release. That ranked it in seventh place in the domestic box office, behind “Hotel Transylvania 2” and “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension,” according to Rentrak’s estimates.
The Hollywood press offered a variety of explanations why moviegoers snubbed the film, from the casting of actor Michael Fassbender in the title role, to the embarrassment of riches for theatergoers looking for cerebral entertainment, including Oscar contenders “Bridge of Spies” and “The Martian.”
Although film critics lavished praise on the film, writers who actually knew Jobs — among them,Re/code co-founder and longtime Wall Street Journal personal technology columnist Walt Mossberg and New York Times columnist Joe Nocera — pilloried it for doing a poor job of portraying one of the most significant figures in technology.
Universal Pictures*, the studio that released the film, said it’s doing well in urban markets, and getting strong word-of-mouth momentum.
“We are going to continue to support the film in the markets where it is showing strength and we’re going to continue to do it aggressively and proactively,” Nick Carpou, Universal’s domestic distribution chief, told Variety. “The critics are there for it and the buzz in these markets is strong.”
The movie dramatizes key moments from the life of Apple’s co-founder. How much is real and how much made up?
You’ve just seen “Steve Jobs”, the new movie about the life and times of Apple’s divisive co-founder. The filmmakers have said the movie is a “painting, rather than a photograph”. So, how much is real and how much is made up?
The movie is based on Walter Isaacson’s in-depth Jobs biography and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s meetings with key figures in Jobs’ life. Despite depicting many real people and events, the movie plays fast and loose with the details.
Here are answers to some questions you might be left with after watching “Steve Jobs”.
Warning: Spoilers throughout!
What were the three product launches shown in the movie?
The first was that of the original Macintosh personal computer, held during an Apple shareholder meeting on 24 January 1984 in the Flint Center at De Anza Community College in Cupertino, California.
The second was that of the NeXT Computer, held 12 October 1988 at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco.
The third was the iMac G3’s launch, held 6 May 1998. Jobs, newly reinstated at Apple, symbolically returned to the Flint Center.
One example of the movie’s dramatic license: Jobs hadn’t yet adopted his now famous black-turtleneck uniform by the third launch. In reality, he unveiled the iMac while wearing a white shirt and pin-striped jacket.
Who were the people Jobs kept meeting?
Joanna Hoffman (played by Kate Winslet) was a marketing executive who joined Apple in 1980 and later followed Jobs to NeXT. Hoffman encouraged Jobs to be a better father, according to Isaacson’s book, because she didn’t know her own father until she was ten.
John Sculley (Jeff Daniels) was recruited by Jobs from Pepsi in 1982 with the infamous invitation, “Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life or do you want to come with me and change the world?” Sculley was CEO of Apple from 1983 to 1993.
Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen) co-founded Apple with Jobs in a garage in 1976. He designed the Apple I and Apple II. By the time of the events portrayed in the movie, Wozniak had largely moved on from Apple.
Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg) was a software engineer who joined Apple in 1979 and later joined the Macintosh team. He left Apple in 1985. The other Andy in the movie is PR consultant Andrea Cunningham (Sarah Snook).
Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterston) was Jobs’ ex-girlfriend and the mother of his daughter Lisa. Lisa is played at different ages by Perla Haney-Jardine, Ripley Sobo and Mackenzie Moss.
The lurking journalist Joel Pforzheimer (John Ortiz) is a fictional character created for the movie.
Were the same people really at every launch?
No. As Sorkin said, “Steve Jobs did not as far as I know have confrontations with the same six people 40 minutes before every product launch. That is plainly a writer’s conceit.”
No Apple employees were among the 3,000 people invited to the NeXT launch. Hoffman was there, but she had joined Jobs when he was forced out of Apple. Despite no longer working for Apple, both Wozniak and Hertzfeld were at the iMac launch, along with many of the original Mac team.
Sculley certainly wasn’t at every launch. Jobs saw him as the man who ousted him from Apple.
Did everybody at Apple really have big public arguments?
As portrayed in the movie, no. However, the infamously volatile Jobs would often yell at and belittle employees. Apple employee Mike Murray described it as “management by character assassination.”
Who’s Daniel Kottke?
In the first act of the movie, Jobs is angry about a magazine article in which his friend Daniel Kottke told a journalist about the daughter Jobs had abandoned. Kottke, mentioned in the movie but never seen, was a college friend of Jobs and worked for Apple from its inception. The incident with the article really happened, but in 1982, not 1984 as shown in the film.
Was Jobs really going to be Time’s Man of the Year?
No. The movie gets this anecdote right, though it fudges the date from 1982 to 1984. Jobs mistakenly thought he was to be named Time‘s Man of the Year, in the same issue that featured the offending article mentioned above. He actually cried when he saw that the computer was given the accolade. Jobs was never in the running, and as Joanna Hoffman points out in the movie, the decision had been made months in advance in order to commission the George Segal sculpture that graced the cover.
Who’s Lee Clow?
Another person mentioned several times but never seen, Lee Clow was creative director at advertising firm Chiat/Day and one of the people behind the famous “1984” advert. He remained a lifelong friend of Jobs and was often consulted on marketing decisions.
Was Steve Jobs really lying in his big presentations?
The drama of the first two acts may be exaggerated, but the facts are broadly correct.
The NeXT Computer wasn’t ready either. It was demonstrated live at the launch and again to software developers and people from the education sector the next day. However, finished hardware and software were not released until late the following year. When asked about the NeXT’s lengthy delay, Jobs replied, “It’s not late — it’s five years ahead of its time!”
Did other people at Apple really hate the iconic “1984” advert?
The board of directors did. As Sculley tells Jobs in the movie, Apple had two slots during the 1984 Super Bowl but got cold feet and ordered them sold. The firm behind the ad, Chiat/Day, slyly kept one of the slots and aired the ad. It was subsequently named best advert of all time by TV Guide and Advertising Age.
Were there really skinheads in the “1984” ad?
Yes. The advert was directed by Ridley Scott, who’d recently shot “Blade Runner” in London, where local skinheads were recruited as extras.
Why did Jobs keep refusing to acknowledge the Apple II team?
The Apple II was instrumental in Apple’s meteoric rise to success in the early 1980s. After it had been around for a few years, Jobs believed the company needed to forge a new future. He actively turned Apple against itself when he took charge of the maverick Macintosh project. Jobs poached Hertzfeld from the Apple II team and physically marched him to the Mac building.
Was there really an award at Apple for standing up to Jobs?
There was. Joanna Hoffman won it in 1981 and 1982. Once, when Jobs was making a scene over a vegan meal in a restaurant, she threatened to pour her coffee in his lap if he didn’t belt up.
Other women at Apple who stood up to Jobs include director of manufacturing Debi Coleman, who won the award in 1983, and human resources manager Ann Bowers.
What was the Guy Kawasaki article about?
In the movie, Hertzfeld enthusiastically shows Jobs a satirical article written by Guy Kawasaki. The article joked that Apple would buy NeXT’s software and bring Jobs back as CEO. Kawasaki did indeed write that extraordinarily prescient article , but not until a full six years later than depicted in the movie. The article was published in Macworld in November 1994.
Are there any “Sorkinisms” in the movie?
Yup. Sorkin infamously repeats phrases across his writing on TV shows like “The West Wing”, “Sports Night” and “The Newsroom” and in movies like “The Social Network”. “Steve Jobs” is no exception, including phrases Sorkin fans will recognise such as “Not for nothing…” and “Don’t talk to me like I’m other people.”
Was Steve Jobs really using NeXT to get back into Apple?
Sorkin strongly insinuates that NeXT was a forward-thinking gambit by Jobs. Apple did indeed buy NeXT’s operating system but not until 1995, nearly a full decade after it debuted. Even for Jobs, that’s a heck of a long con.
Did Lisa really play “Both Sides Now” for Jobs?
In the movie, Lisa plays her father two different versions of Joni Mitchell singing “Both Sides Now”, recorded years apart in 1969 and 2000. While he doesn’t mention where Jobs first heard the songs, Isaacson noted that Jobs had the songs on his iPad in 2011 and reflected on how the different performances show the way people age.
At an advance screening of the movie in San Francisco, writer Aaron Sorkin and director Danny Boyle defend why they stretched the truth about the Apple co-founder’s life.
After a screening here Friday of the new film “Steve Jobs,” writer Aaron Sorkin found himself defending his choice to fictionalize parts of the Apple co-founder’s life, something he called making “a painting, not a photo.”
Sorkin, who won a screenwriting Oscar for his depiction of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in “The Social Network,” answered questions from audience members who personally knew Jobs. The film’s showing at the Castro Theatre was the first in San Francisco, not far from where the movie’s events took place and where the film was shot. Sorkin was joined at a Q&A after the movie by the film’s director, Danny Boyle, an Oscar winner for “Slumdog Millionaire.”
“This was clearly an impressionistic thing,” Sorkin said. “I hope the movie early on announces itself as being a painting instead of a photograph.”
“Steve Jobs” is a cinematic portrait of the man who with Macs, iPhones and iPads was instrumental in bringing computers to everyday folk. The movie opened in New York and Los Angeles on Friday and will hit theaters globally in the coming weeks. Sorkin has said many times that he didn’t want to create a biopic that followed Jobs, played by Michael Fassbender, from “cradle to grave.” Instead, the film depicts three key product launches in Jobs’ life: the unveiling of the first Macintosh computer, in 1984; the introduction of the NeXT computer, in 1988; and the launch of the iMac, in 1998. Tying them all together as the “emotional center” of the film is Jobs’ relationship with his eldest daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, whose paternity the famous technologist once disputed.
Other major characters in the film include Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (played by Seth Rogen), former CEO John Sculley (Jeff Daniels), former Macintosh marketing chief Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet) and Mac co-developer Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg). Chrisann Brennan, Jobs’ high-school girlfriend and the mother of Lisa, is played by Katherine Waterston. And Lisa is played by Makenzie Moss, Ripley Sobo and Perla Haney-Jardine at ages 5, 9 and 19 respectively. In the film, each of these characters has some sort of conflict with Jobs in the moments before an important product launch.
When asked about the movie’s accuracy, Sorkin joked it was “100 percent accurate. In the 40 minutes leading up to those product launches, he confronted the same exact six people.”
One notable diversion from reality is Jobs’ relationship with Sculley, the former Pepsi CEO who joined Apple as CEO in 1983 and forced Jobs out of the company two years later. The two never spoke again after Jobs left Apple, but the film shows them having two more discussions, at the NeXT and iMac launches, while reaching a sort of uneasy truce. Jobs, during his famous commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005, called the firing “devastating” and never forgave Sculley.
“This is the difference between…journalism and art,” Sorkin said. Journalists “have an obligation to be objective. I have an obligation to be subjective. There are stories there that should be written about.”
He added that changing the truth of Sculley and Jobs’ relationship didn’t harm anyone.
Sorkin also said he never considered adding a fourth scene to cover the launch of the iPhone or any of Apple’s other devices. “The movie was never about the products,” he said.
Sorkin chose the three launches because of what they show about Jobs’ personal struggles and his relationship with his daughter. Comparing the film to a Shakespeare play, Sorkin said the first act, the Mac launch, centers on Jobs denying he was Lisa’s father; the second act shows “the king in exile,” after Jobs was ousted from Apple; and the third act lets us watch as “the king returns.”
“The only consideration of the iPhone was playing a trick on Fassbender and telling him there would be a fourth act,” Sorkin joked.
Sorkin also said he believed Jobs would have liked the film, if it “were about someone else.”
Apple’s chief design guru shares insight into what it was like to collaborate with Apple’s co-founder.
Jony Ive has not seen the latest Steve Jobs movie, but Apple’s design guru thinks it’s bad anyway.
Especially worrisome for Jobs’ longtime friend is the succession of movies made about Apple’s co-founder. Ive says he is most concerned by the way a life’s story can be “hijacked” by people who did not really know the man.
“We’re celebrating Steve’s life … and I don’t recognize this person at all,” Ive said Wednesday. “He had these triumphs and tragedies, most of us, and he’s having his identity defined and described by a whole bunch of other people.”
Ive shared his memories during a rare public appearance at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit in San Francisco. While reflecting on the fourth anniversary of Jobs’ death earlier this week, Ive said he was surprised that what he most remembers about Jobs is his focus.
“It was his very simple focus on trying to make something beautiful and great,” he said. “And it really was simple. There wasn’t this grand plan of winning or a very complicated agenda. The simplicity seemed almost childlike in its purity and its truth. That stands in such stark contrast in how he’s frequently discussed at the moment.”
Ive said that some ridiculous things have been written about Jobs by people who don’t have an understanding of the process. Jobs could be a demanding boss, but “it doesn’t mean you’re an asshole.”
Jobs died October 5, 2011, at the age of 56 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. But he’s remained in the public eye through several books and films that purport to portray his life, career and personality.
Ive, the design guru responsible for the minimalist characteristics of several Apple products, shared his memories of collaborating on new products with Jobs, who he said had a “reverence” for the creative process. That process usually began in conversations rather than on a drawing board, Ive said.
“From nothing you tentatively start to build something, but with words. He was fantastic at listening,” Ive said. “The very best ideas come from the quiet voice…the most fabulous ideas come from a tentative suggestions.”
For Ive, the process of creating new products at the tech titan is a terrifying one. One of the greatest challenges designers face is being comfortable living in the future, where there’s a lot of ambiguity. But it’s also important to be mindful of history, he said.
“There’s a strange tendency to dismiss the now and history, he said.
He also said the process of creating something and not knowing its eventual outcome is unnerving.
“We’re completely convinced in our own ineptitude,” he said. “We somehow forget the compete and utter terror and trauma we go through every time.
CEO Tim Cook, iTunes head Eddy Cue and others remember Apple’s co-founder in messages posted to the company’s internal site. One recalls the time Jobs mooned Al Gore.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died four years ago today. To mark the anniversary, CEO Tim Cook and other Apple executives paid tribute to the man and his legacy.
In an email sent Monday to Apple employees, Cook remembered Jobs both as a family man and the force behind the company and its popular products. Cook said Jobs “loved his family above all, he loved Apple and he loved the people with whom he worked so closely and achieved so much.”
Cook and other people who worked with Jobs also posted messages to Apple’s internal website. The messages, viewed by CNET, are excerpted below.
The anniversary comes as a new movie about Jobs is set to open in limited release on Friday and more widely later this month. The film, titled simply “Steve Jobs,” has been poorly received by Jobs’ widow and by some of his former colleagues.
Laurene Powell Jobs has reportedly attempted to block the film. She called on Sony Pictures and Universal Pictures, which developed the script and produced the film, respectively, to stop the picture, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.
“She refused to discuss anything in Aaron’s script that bothered her despite my repeated entreaties,” producer Scott Rudin told the Journal. She also, he said, “continued to say how much she disliked the book, and that any movie based on the book could not possibly be accurate.”
Jobs died October 5, 2011, at the age of 56 of respiratory arrest following a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He has remained in the public eye through books and films that attempt to portray his life, career and personality. Jobs was a controversial figure. His efforts paved the way for products like the iMac and the iPhone, but his sense of perfectionism was said to have caused him to lash out at employees and others who didn’t live up to his standards.
Excerpt from Cook’s post on Apple’s intranet
Cook’s message Monday lauded Jobs for “small acts of friendship,” like stopping by Cook’s office almost every day before heading home or putting friends above himself. Cook shared a memory from 2009 when Jobs took a leave of absence from Apple to deal with his liver troubles.
In February of 2009, Steve was on a leave of absence from Apple and spending his time at his home. I would drop by after work and discuss many things with him. He was waiting for a liver transplant and his health seemed to be rapidly deteriorating. One day in particular, he seemed especially ill and I left feeling so distraught that I threw up in his yard.
I was worried he would not live long enough to reach the top of the waiting list for a cadaver liver. After checking out my own health and researching donor liver transplants, I visited Steve again and told him I wanted to give him a portion of my liver. Despite his condition and the uncertainty of whether he would live long enough to be at the top of the waiting list, he adamantly refused to accept my offer for fear it would place my own health in jeopardy.
That was the kind of person he was. He was unselfish in the face of his own mortality. Even when his outlook was bleak and he had every right to accept help, he refused, rather than put a friend’s health at risk. He put his compassion for me above his own needs, and I will never forget it.
Cook has shared similar tributes about Jobs over the years, as have Jobs’ other colleagues.
Andrea Jung, Apple board member
Andrea Jung, who is also CEO of Grameen America, a New York-based nonprofit microfinance organization, on Monday remembered Jobs as “being down to earth and good on his word.”
As a CEO, you have good days and bad days, and I remember I had a bad press day. Steve was a true friend — he called me on the phone and said, “Just ignore it. It’s hard but I’ve learned to. If you don’t fail, you’re not trying. Some of the world’s biggest successes come from learning from mistakes. Keep moving forward.” He was thoughtful and caring. That’s the Steve I knew. Those little touches.
Eddy Cue, senior VP of Internet software and services
Eddy Cue, who runs iTunes and Apple Pay, wrote that Jobs felt more like a family member than a boss.
Working with him, I always felt that there was a personal connection. It wasn’t just work. And in a way, sometimes he was a brother; sometimes he was a father figure, depending on what it was. But it was a family member nonetheless. And it was somebody you didn’t want to disappoint. I’ve never felt that way about anybody else that I’ve worked with. You feel that way about your family. You don’t want to disappoint your dad, you may not want to disappoint your brother or your kids or your wife. But you generally don’t feel that way about your boss, per se. There was a different feeling. He had that. He created that. And I think that’s part of the personal touch of the relationship that at least I felt I had with him around it.
Phil Schiller, head of marketing
Phil Schiller, the longest-serving member of Apple’s executive team, talked about Jobs’ sense of humor and an incident with Al Gore, the former US vice president and one of Apple’s board members.
Steve also had a great sense of humor. We would screw around all of the time. In 2003, we were working on a keynote demo of video conferencing with iChat on the Mac, and Al Gore was gracious enough during his busy schedule to make time to do the demo remotely with us. We were rehearsing the day before the keynote and Al is up on the giant 35-foot screen, and Steve in front of the Mac, and they were going back and forth discussing about what they were going to talk about. Al and Steve start joking a little bit, and as a comeback to something Al said, Steve turned around and mooned Al. He literally dropped his pants. Now, it was PG — he had his boxers on — but he mooned Al. All of us working on it were just dying.
Bud Tribble, original Mac team member
Bud Tribble, one of the original members of the Mac design team, remembered how Jobs and Apple were different from other companies in Silicon Valley.
Steve was not a lecturer. If he really wanted to impart or teach you something, he would show you. In 1981, just when the original Mac team had formed – there were maybe a dozen people – we were still trying to figure out what we were building. What should it be? What should it do? What should it look like? And Steve came in one day and said, “We’re going to go on a field trip.” And we all thought it would be some team-building exercise. Then he said, “We’re going to San Francisco to the de Young museum. They have a Louis Comfort Tiffany exhibit and we’re going to just spend the whole day there, looking at what this guy did.”
It turned out to be an incredibly good lesson and it set the tone for the Mac group. The electric light had been invented and Thomas Edison wanted to have not just a burning bulb, but a beautiful thing. He convinced Tiffany, an artist, to make lamps. Tiffany used glass and chemistry and metallurgy to build art that was very useful to control light.
I think it was very illustrative of how Steve interacted with his teams and the people who were working for him. And it was an example of art meets technology, and probably one of the first times I saw that from Steve. Just this burning feeling he had – that was so different from what you found in the Valley, you know? Everything was bits and bytes and how fast it was and how much silicon and how many computations can it do. And here was Steve saying, “We’re building something, but it’s equally if not more important that it be an artistic act of creation.” Because these computers we’re making are going to be part of our environment, and if we didn’t pay attention to the aesthetics and the artistic nature of what we were doing, then who would? It would end up like the ugly bare bulb burning at the end of the wire.
I spent a lot of time with Steve. He was one of a kind. Really for the world to understand the impact of Steve on the world we live in, it’s going to require a lot more time and perspective.
Cook’s full message to employees
Here’s the full text from Cook’s message to employees.
Today marks four years since Steve passed away. On that day, the world lost a visionary. We at Apple lost a leader, a mentor, and many of us lost a dear friend.
Steve was a brilliant person, and his priorities were very simple. He loved his family above all, he loved Apple, and he loved the people with whom he worked so closely and achieved so much.
Each year since his passing, I have reminded everyone in the Apple community that we share the privilege and responsibility of continuing the work Steve loved so much.
What is his legacy? I see it all around us: An incredible team that embodies his spirit of innovation and creativity. The greatest products on earth, beloved by customers and empowering hundreds of millions of people around the world. Soaring achievements in technology and architecture. Experiences of surprise and delight. A company that only he could have built. A company with an intense determination to change the world for the better.
And, of course, the joy he brought his loved ones.
He told me several times in his final years that he hoped to live long enough to see some of the milestones in his children’s lives. I was in his office over the summer with Laurene and their youngest daughter. Messages and drawings from his kids to their father are still there on Steve’s whiteboard.
If you never knew Steve, you probably work with someone who did or who was here when he led Apple. Please stop one of us today and ask what he was really like. Several of us have posted our personal remembrances on AppleWeb, and I encourage you to read them.
Thank you for honoring Steve by continuing the work he started, and for remembering both who he was and what he stood for.
In a television interview on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Mr Cook said he had not seen the films in question but that such portrayals of Jobswere “opportunistic”.
“The Steve I knew was an amazing human being. He’s someone that you wanted to do your best work,” Mr Cook said. “He had this uncanny ability to see around the corner and describe a future – not an evolutionary future but a revolutionary future.”
Mr Cook took over as Apple’s CEO in 2011 in the finals months of Jobs’s life, and worked under him for 13 years as a senior executive.
“He was a joy to work with and I love him dearly, I miss him every day,” Cook said in Wednesday’s interview. “I think that a lot of people are trying to be opportunistic and I hate that, it’s not a great part of our world.”
The films alluded to during the interview were Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, a documentary released earlier this month, and an upcoming biopic directed by Danny Boyle and titled simply Steve Jobs.
Jobs is portrayed as “ruthless, canny, and tenacious” in The Man in the Machine, according to the New York Times. A trailer for Steve Jobs shows Michael Fassbender as Jobs, lashing out at his colleagues and family.
Later in the interview Mr Cook discussed his decision to come out as gay last fall, saying he felt a “tremendous responsibility to do it”.
“It became so clear to me that kids are being bullied in school, kids were getting basically discriminated against, kids were even being disclaimed by their own parents and that I needed to do something,” he said.
“Where I valued my privacy significantly, I felt that I was valuing it too far above what I could do for other people. And so I wanted to tell everyone my truth.”
Mr Cook compared people’s reactions to his announcement to “discovering something your iPhone has always done but you didn’t quite know it.”
My big takeaway last week, when Apple launched the iPad Pro, was this: Apple just admitted Bill Gates was right and Steve Jobs was wrong. You see, years ago Steve Jobs went on about how the early Windows tablet, which was designed for work and had a stylus, was stupid. Steve was not a fan and pretty much dissed the entire tablet idea and then again dissed the whole idea of a stylus when he launched the iPhone.
Well, Tim Cook effectively gave Jobs a royal raspberry with the iPad Pro, which is basically the Apple version of the Windows tablet. The thing is, though, that given the iPod evolved into a small tablet, the iPhone is basically a small tablet with phone capability, and the iPad — well it is the quintessential tablet — Apple has been throwing Jobs’ initial position, that tablets were stupid, into the dumpster for some time now.
The thing is, in developing the initial Windows tablet, Microsoft simply didn’t get what users wanted in a tablet very well. Apple’s success was based on better user focus, but Microsoft’s success with Surface Pro indicated there was an important part of the tablet opportunity that Apple was missing — and Apple just jumped on that. In the end, this could make both companies’ offerings far better over time.
I’ll have more to share about that this week and I’ll close with my product of the week: the most underappreciated product that Apple launched, the iPad mini 4.
A Brief History of the Tablet
The tablet started out in the early 1990s — long before the iPad or even the Windows tablet appeared — as something to replace paper. That was really the goal that Bill Gates was trying to achieve when he came up with the slate form of the Windows tablet — and it has been successful where firms wanted to digitize forms. You needed a stylus to fill out those forms.
Unfortunately, moving to a broad audience didn’t happen. Even Steve Jobs agreed that writing long notes and documents using your finger or a stylus was going to be a nonstarter for most folks, so after an initial spike in the early part of last decade, and again after the launch of the iPad, people went back using mostly laptops for long work.
What Jobs brought to the table was the idea of a tablet for entertainment, and that worked impressively well. While it actually was basically a big iPod, the iPad captured the imaginations of many. Still, it had issues moving from entertainment to work, until certain apps came onto the platform. Those apps allowed it to replace paper for forms in healthcare, aviation, insurance and hospitality. The more the iPad moved into business, however, the more the lack of a stylus hurt.
Microsoft came out with Surface to address that opportunity, and it sold rather well — even though it lacked a fraction of the entertainment apps both iOS and Android enjoyed. The iPad fell into decline, and a near-panicked Apple went back to the drawing board and created the iPad Pro, which in many ways is basically Microsoft Surface Light.
That’s largely because — unlike the MacBook Air and current stable of Microsoft offerings — it doesn’t run an Intel processor. which locks it out of the massive number of legacy apps. Also, ARM doesn’t have the headroom yet for a strong virtualization or emulation offering that could run Windows and might close that gap.
There are a number of tools that allow Windows apps to run on Macs, but the processor headroom sharply limits this option on iPads. One other shortcoming that may come back to bite the iPad Pro is the lack of a trackpad. Folks used to laptops often find it faster and easier to use the trackpad than the touchscreen — not to mention it keeps the screen from getting covered with fingerprints. Apple left a trackpad off its keyboard, but I expect the aftermarket will fill that gap quickly.
Ideally, Apple needed a product that was more like a Mac, but could run iPad apps on a tablet platform. It didn’t release that opting for a big iPad instead might have opened the door for Surface Pro 4 running Windows 10, which potentially has far better support for both Android and iOS apps collectively than either Apple or Google individually does.
Surface Pro 4
This is where I think things get interesting, because we first saw Apple sign up IBM, and then Cisco, for this opportunity. Then we saw Microsoft get Accenture and Dell to counter with a number of other vendors ready and willing to sign up.
Microsoft knew that the iPad Pro was coming. Much like it was designed to show well against the Surface Pro 3, the Surface Pro 4 is designed to sell well against the iPad Pro. So expect improvements in Surface Pro’s keyboard, screen, battery life and appearance, as Microsoft responds to this iPad threat.
Competition Is Good
This should set up a tit-for-tat competition between Apple and Microsoft for this class of product, which should improve both products at an impressive rate. Until Apple entered the pro tablet market, the likelihood that any of us were going to move to a tablet from our PCs was relatively low. Microsoft was too focused on IT, and Apple too focused on entertainment.
However, with IBM, Cisco and Accenture in the mix — not to mention Dell — and Apple entering the segment, the dual focus of IT and the user will become a competitive dynamic. In other words, regardless of the , both Apple and Microsoft will increasingly agree on one thing — and that is that you need to live off your tablet.
If both companies continue to improve at the expected blistering pace, those massive combined resources should have a much larger number of us off laptops and onto pro-level tablets from both vendors by the end of the decade.
The important part of this isn’t the iPad Pro or Surface Pro — it is that the competition between the two products and aggregate partners should result in massive improvements in both offerings that laptops likely won’t be able to match.
The end result should be far better products far more quickly, and that will increase the probability that we’ll all be on one of these things by decade’s end. With tablet-like battery life and weight coupled with laptop-like capability, I don’t see that as a bad thing — not a bad thing at all.
Oh, and on the Bill is right and Jobs is wrong thing. Bill had the concept right, but Apple got the execution right first and made more money. Nadella, Microsoft’s new CEO, and Cook, Apple’s new CEO, now get to show which one of them is smarter — and that makes this really interesting.
One of the things you learn pretty quickly about all of the Apple “i” products is that they are all variations of the iPod. The iPhone is an iPod with phone capability; the iPad is a big iPod; and the iPad Pro is an even bigger iPod. If Apple had introduced the rumored iTV, it would have been a humongous iPad.
What makes the iPad mini 4 attractive is that if you don’t really want an iPhone but want access to all of the apps, the iPad mini is a nice alternative. You then can carry whatever other phone you like and have a pretty decent blend of both the Apple phone platform and whatever else you prefer (I’m on a Windows Phone or BlackBerry depending on the month).
iPad mini 4
The refresh of the iPad mini gave it capabilities similar to the latest iPad. The price, for an Apple product, is relatively reasonable — and you end up with a better (bigger) screen than you get on the iPhone 6s Plus.
A loaded iPhone 6s Plus, unlocked, will set you back around US$900, and the iPad mini with 64 GB of memory is about half that — and therefore a deal. You get a nice cross between a tablet and an iPod that is portable, and it won’t break the bank. In effect, I think the best Apple deal right now is the iPad mini 4. That’s good enough to make the iPad mini 4 my product of the week. (Oh, and Steve Jobs was wrong about the iPad Mini too).
Apple came under fire on social media for introducing a souped up stylus, which Steve Jobs openly hated. But Tim Cook is unperturbed – he is building his own legacy.
When Apple revealed its new, giant iPad Pro with a special accessory called Apple Pencil yesterday, the crowd in the San Francisco audibly tittered. The reason? The $99 ($65) accessory is not a revolutionary new invention – it’s just a fancy stylus, an electronic pointer abhorred by Apple’s former, much-loved chief executive Steve Jobs.
The joke traces back to 2007 at the original iPhone’s reveal, when Jobs famously said, “Who wants a stylus? You have to get them, put them away. You lose them. Yuck. Nobody wants a stylus.”
Fast forward eight years, and it turns out Apple does want a stylus after all.
Of course, the new Apple Pencil appears to be an advanced, slick descendant of the one that was shipped with phones like the Palm Treo 700p back in 2006. But it’s also the symbol of a new era.
During Apple’s product launch event, Cook announced a slew of new products, with a mix of marginal and radical improvements on their predecessors. The iPhones 6s and 6s Plus come in large screen sizes of 4.7-inches and 5.5-inches respectively, and have a high-resolution 12-megapixel camera.
The massive 12.9-inch iPad Pro is Apple’s bid for the enterprise workplace – and they showed they meant business by bringing on-stage Microsoft’s Kirk Koenigsbauer, Vice President of MS Office to demonstrate how Apple’s rival is using the Pencil as a productivity tool.
And finally the new Apple TV allows developers to create entertainment and gaming apps, and will allegedly have a television streaming subscription service launching in 2016.
Jobs famously objected to all three: large phones, Microsoft and subscription media services. Yet, Cook has shown the confidence to disregard, and overrule these historic oppositions, making him a leader in his own right. He is no longer just the custodian of a legacy, but is actively building his own. And if it pays off, he will take over your workplace and your living room, while continuing to make the most profitable products on the planet.
Apple CEO Tim Cook meets staff at the company’s Covent Garden store in central London Photo: Kensington Leverne
The new products announced this week aren’t the first time Cook has strayed from the party line. In March, he unveiled the Apple Watch, the first completely new device created under his leadership – and designed without the input of Jobs.
Similarly, he released the 7.9-inch iPad mini in 2012, despite Jobs’ derision for small tablets, and paid $3 billion to acquire headphone maker Beats – an affront to Jobs’ view that building innovation was far better than buying it.
We can’t say yet how these new bets will play out – whether people will start buying (and wearing) Apple Watches, subscribing to Apple Music or paying with Apple Pay. But it signifies that Apple has moved forward and continues to experiment, rather than simply cultivating its existing, highly profitable range of products.
In a mirror scenario, Microsoft’s new chief executive Satya Nadella faced similar challenges when Steve Ballmer ended his decade-long tenure, and Bill Gates stepped down from his position as chairman in 2014.
People had moved on from primarily using computers to conducting business on their mobiles, powered mostly by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android software. So Nadella repositioned Microsoft as a cloud business. He has made Office software available on Apple- and Google-powered phones. He brokered new partnerships with former rivals, resulting in unlikely collaborations like the recent Office and iPad Pro example.
And he’s coming into his own, just like his counterpart Cook.
Cook shows off the new iPad Pro, which comes with the controversial Apple Pencil, a souped up stylus Photo: Reuters
In fact, it’s clear that Cook’s Apple is financially healthy. Its stock rose from a split-adjusted $54 to $110 since Jobs died, resulting in a market capitalisation north of $600 billion. Apple has continued to grow its dominance in the high-end smartphone space, especially in China – its second largest market – where it reportedly sold $38 billion of merchandise in 2014.
Cook announced during the event on Wednesday that Apple’s iPhone market grew 75 percent in China year over year, allaying fears about negative effects of the severe downturn in the Chinese economy.
So the big difference between the larger-than-life Jobs and the more human Cook then is that Cook isn’t wedded to a higher vision – he seems able to hear what customers are asking for, and make those products available. In fact, screen sizes of the 4.7 inch and 5.5 inch iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus last year were driven by public demand, and their runaway success finally proved Jobs and Apple purists wrong.
So maybe the Apple Pencil isn’t anathema after all – Jobs couldn’t have envisioned the giant sheet of responsive glass that could be used for everything from a 3D surgical aid to a graphic designer’s dynamic sketchpad. The ‘stylus’ acts almost like a real pencil – it can draw thicker lines with greater applied pressure and responds to gestures, like shading when you tilt or drawing lines when you drag it across the screen. These aren’t features that your finger could replicate.
Of course, the stylus wasn’t invented by Apple. There’s a stereotype that Apple often takes existing products and rebrands them as revolutionary, and it exists for a reason. Samsung shipped a stylus with its ultra-large Galaxy Note smartphone line for years, and the Microsoft business-friendly Surface Pro tablet looks awfully familiar.
But the truth is, Apple does somehow get people to eagerly adopt its new products, and inspires fierce loyalty like no other brand.
At a memorial tribute for Jobs in 2011, Cook shared some advice he had received from Jobs before he died. “Among his last advice he had for me was to never ask what he would do. ‘Just do what’s right,’” Cook said. It’s time for the rest of us to let go too, and stop asking, “What would Jobs do?”