The World Without Steve Jobs - One Year Later
Since his passing, the world and Apple the company has indeed changed a fair bit. But as our world keeps spinning, some things appear to never change. Like how it’s so convinient to keep referencing what Steve Jobs would or would not have done or allowed, if he was still alive today.
Pundits and tech journalists still love to drag the ghost of Steve Jobs out in the light quite frequently, as was the case with the iPhone 5 unveiling and the whole mess surrounding Apple Maps in the wake of the iOS 6 release. While I won’t argue that Apple Maps isn’t in some ways a substantial downgrade over the previously included Google Maps, I’m not particularly fond of nincompoops referencing Jobs in the way they do.
One of the first myths people love to repeat time and time again is that of course Steve Jobs would never have let product X on the market. Well, bub, I got news for ya’. It wasn’t a perfect spree of wonderful, flawless design after another in Apple’s products, even when Steve Jobs was there. There have been side-steps, failures and products that never did particularly well. All of which Steve Jobs didn’t stop, for some reason or another. Does perhaps Ping sound familiar? Was the MobileMe launch an unmitigated success? Did the Power Mac G4 Cube survive for long and become the new standard for desktop computers? Were the early versions of Mac OS X particularly aesthetic, really? And that’s just the tip of the ice berg. There’s a lot of other stuff that could have been done a lot better, so let’s just stop repeating this like some broken mantra, shall we?
I’m all for remembering the good stuff Mr. Jobs made possible, but if we are to hold him up to the good stuff, let’s not forget all the less good stuff too, ok?
And above all, let’s not be completely disconnected from the fact that Steve Jobs, in the words of my buddy Ewen Rankin, was a dude. Not some maniacal emperor sitting upon his throne of slain enemies in his ivory castle in Cupertino, nor the single person inside Apple that ever had a sensible thought in his head. He was the CEO and very much the driving force behind the Apple we know today, and definitely a huge factor in rescuing the company from the brink of bancruptcy in 1996-1997. But he was a dude. A dude who put some very smart people in key places inside Apple. Many, if not most, of them are still there today, doing their jobs and keeping Apple in the race.
Steve Jobs was not some wizard, clad in a pointy hat and cloak, who marched down into the design lab and slaved for hours on end, squeezing tears from unicorns and forging mithril in a holy furnace, while beeing assisted by elves, all to conjure up the next amazing design for a new Apple product. When you read how many a tech writer have described Apple and Steve Jobs working at the company, this appears to be how they imagined it.
I don’t know how many times I have bumped into people online who at least gave off the appearance that they were getting rid of their Apple products, simply due to the fact that Steve Jobs is no longer around. One of my favorite “reasons” for this action was the apparent loss of “Apple’s heart” and that they had “lost faith in the company”, alluding to the insane and mythical image of Jobs being Apple. But hey, maybe I just missed the memo where Apple said that their heart had died with Steve Jobs and that they were retroactively going to be turning all already existing products into useless piles of unidentifiable material. I mean, why else would you get rid of something that works, right?
Time and time again have we heard the woes; now that Steve Jobs is no longer the captain of the boat that is Apple, it is doomed to insignificance and to sink, just like the titanic! I’ve read it too many times already and I just don’t believe it. Burping it over and over doesn’t make is any more true, just the person who is saying it look more and more like an ignorant asshat.
If we make a comparison between Apple as it was in October of 2011 and as it stands today, there are a lot of differences, yes. Apple is now even stronger than it was then and there are new products on the market. Macs are still selling, a new version of Mac OS X has been released and iCloud has started to really shine. Apple has made a dividend to its investors for the first time in eons and there are a lot of changes in Apple philantopy. Since taking the reins of Apple as CEO, Tim Cook has undoubtedly started changign Apple in many ways, but the core company values and ideals are very much still there.
Worse off? Doomed? Hit the peak and can only go down from here? We’ve heard it all in the year gone by and yet Apple looks like a profitable company that keeps churning out products that, for the most part, doesn’t suck.
How Apple and the rest of the world would have looked if Mr. Jobs was still with us, I’m not sure and I kind of feel it’s pointless to speculate about. I would like to think that if Steve Jobs was still here with us, he would probably follow roughly this pattern:
1. Occasionally read tech blogs
2. Rase eyebrow at stupidity
3. Close that tab in safari
4. Chucle at idiots screaming “Apple is doomed”
5. Get back to running a very successful company
All I’m trying to say is that it’s time to let Steve Jobs get some well deserved rest and give the rest of the people at Apple some credit for what they have done in the past and are doing still today. Steve Jobs was a part of Apple, he wasn’t Apple.