“Apple Computer is 30 years old on April 1. What follows… is not for geeks, it’s for aesthetes. Apple, with its laptops and iPods, is certainly, from one perspective, a geek thing; but, from another, much more interesting perspective, it’s an art thing, the story of how, even in our time, art and art alone can make, break, remake and, above all, express a contemporary cultural reality,” Bryan Appleyard writes for The Sunday Times. Steve Jobs’ 2006 keynote address at the annual Macworld Expo “should really be watched as a feature film; it is just the right length, and is replete with narrative, character, drama and revelation. Jobs annually uses this event to announce new corporate triumphs and new products. He is never speculative. Apple does not believe in deferred gratification; almost everything Jobs announces is in the shops as he speaks, and he never trails the future. The event is a prayer meeting, full of gasps and cries of affirmation from the audience of believers. The preacher’s message is: join us and be free.”
“Whatever the public cause of Apple may be, its private cause is Jobs. Considered as a work of art, Apple is the product of two artists,” Appleyard writes. “The second is the designer Jonathan Ive, but the first is Jobs. Considered in terms of a religion, Jobs is God, Ive his son.”
“Apple has always gone to extraordinary lengths to make its systems beautiful and, when asked what he most disliked about Microsoft, Jobs answered, with measured disdain: ‘They have no taste,'” Appleyard writes. “Go to any one of the extravagant Apple temples — the word ‘stores’ falls laughably short of the actual experience — and you will see people (sometimes me) not just using the machines, but stroking them… I will not wax too lyrical about Ive’s current designs. I will only say that I know of no product, the most refined cars included, that comes close to attaining their strangely glowing celebration of their functionality.”
“Apple’s key technical — and world-transforming — innovation was the Graphical User Interface (GUI). Well, it was copied from a Xerox experimental lab, but it was Apple, not Xerox, that knew what to do with it. It gave us multiple windows, the mouse and the computer paradigm of point-and-click,” Appleyard writes.
Appleyard continues, “I couldn’t have written this article about Dell, BMW, BP, Microsoft, Sony or IBM. No company I can think of is quite as consistently interesting as Apple, and I can certainly think of none that might qualify as a corporate work of art. So, on the sole basis that interesting me is a good thing, happy birthday, Apple, and many more of them.”
Full article here.
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30-year-old Apple now a goliath with iPod+iTunes, will anti-trust concerns arise? – March 17, 2006
What happens when Steve Jobs dies? – August 20, 2003 (Jonathan Ive, Apple Computer CEO circa 2025)