If Apple is a religion, Steve Jobs is God, Jonathan Ive his Son

“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.

MacDailyNews Note: We break the fervor here to point out that Apple did not “copy” Xerox. That is a myth. You can read what actually happened from people that were there here and here.

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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Related article:
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)

63 Comments

  1. I’m 26, i’ve used Apple computers since 86. 20 years with Apple has tought me that people in general are morons for sticking with Windows. (Talking HOME users now, not corporate users who have to use win-only software)
    I hope to one day start a SWcompany that actually listens to what the users want..and i’m pretty sure a daily BSOD isn’t on the list ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    Länge leve Apple! (Swedish for; long live Apple) Looking forward to April 1st (or some date around there ).

  2. Apple didn’t copy Xerox, but it is fair to say that Apple’s GUI was inspired by the work at Xerox.

    Apple’s current computer offerings may be a work of art to some, but nothing i’ve seen comes close to matching the artistic beauty of the Wallstreet/Lombard/Pismo PowerBooks. Those books have grace, form and beauty totally lacking in the current books.

    Jobs is occasionally speculative. Ever hear about a 3Ghz G5? Or when he says things like “we see laptops as the future,” or when he previews the next version of MacOS X. However it is a good juxtaposition against Gates yakking on about his vaporware. The article does have a lot of interesting insights about how Apple is different from just about every other company out there.

  3. Emil – Corporate users are morons for sticking with Windoze too. Savvy small businesses (i.e. those without IT departments) already use Mac’s.

    Large corporate users use Windoze largely because their IT departments tell ’em to, and the IT departments will never embrace the Mac because it threatens their job security.

    Here’s an interesting little article which touches on both.

  4. Rainy Day
    I assume there are multiple corporations who have invested tens of millions of dollars in software that has enslaved them to the win(loose?)-platform.

    I actually don’t view windows as a viable alternative as a desktop. To me os x is the only choice for normal users, linux is a good alternative for the powerusers who like to do stuff that os x does for everyone else.

    (I’m in debate with a friend about the advantages of gentoo, he claims the advantages of compiling code for the specific conditions in his system makes up for the time it takes to compile new things every time he installs a new driver or so. I claim it’s a loss of time and only used because he likes to be in controll. Sort of like constructing your own Trabant instead of buying a build-to-order ferrari ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” /> )

  5. When will you flemings ever learn?

    This is nonsense. There is nothing hear that amounts to anything worthwile.

    Just like Apple’s systems. They are overpriced and slowwwwww.

    I can’t believe that you all bow to this sycofant like Jobs.

    I can’t beleive how much Macs cost.

    What does it take for the average Mac user to understand that the rest of the world dosnt want overpriced gloss?

    I can’t beleive how much I look like Jennifur Love Hewit.

    What happened to my skin? Why is it greasy?

    Where is the sun in my life?

    Why am I empty inside?

    If I come up for air, I could kill you all. Macs are tepid.

    Why do crows attack me when I walk to the store?

    Why am I bland?

  6. I love apple, but i hate cults.

    Hate it all you want, but Apple is more than just a company that sells objects for people to buy. More than any other computer manufacturer, it sells a service as well. We trust them to build something great, giving us features and functionality that we don’t even know we want yet, but when we discover it, it’s always a good surprise. Running as fast as they can to the bleeding edge of consumer technology. We hold them to a higher standard than other computer companies and they usually live up to it.

    It is certainly unlike other corporations and has a lot of similarites to a religion. It is often followed blindly. It’s custsomers listen and dissect it’s leader’s every word. Macworld is like christmas for some people. It’s events are more than product unveilings. They are celebrations of the company’s success, touting every new thing as a triumpm of engineering. They allow their excitement for their achievements to be displayed in the public sphere unlike any other company, and it looks like a religious ceremony.

    I think the author is wrong when he said he couldn’t write this piece about any other company. Apple may be the best example but there are a couple other corporations that have that sort of loyalty. Trader Joe’s. Ben & Jerry’s. BMW. I’m sure there are more. These are corporations that excel for the purpose of excelling, not just to make money hand over fist, although they usually do. Because of that drive their customers trust them to be consistently better than their competitors, much like they trust religious leaders.

    And Apple did copy Xerox. Steve Jobs asked Xerox corporate for the right to take his engineers into the PARC research labs for the purpose of copying everything about user interface the group had done. Because Xerox corporate didn’t realize the potential of what they had, and much to the dismay of the workers, Corporate agreed to Jobs proposal. It wasn’t illegal. It was ethically shady, but would it have been better if he had done nothing? Xerox corporate might never have pulled its head out of their ass and run with the idea the way Apple did.

  7. I love it that when people want to bash Apple about having gotten ideas from Xerox they tend to make several points.

    1 is that they got them from Xerox Park… like there are benches and crap so you can sit and feed the squirrels and watch the ducks on the lake. Nice try lame asses, when you don’t even now that its spelled Xerox PARC much less know what it stands for.

    2 That Apple *PAID* Xerox in stock in exchange for letting them see the developments they were working on

    3 That the dimwits who ran Xerox looked at the invention of the mouse and laughed and claimed that no one would ever use that.

    4 That without Apple many of the developments they ended up using would have died on the vine, since the big corporate environment of Xerox at the time didn’t have much room for true innovative thinking.

    Still hats off the people actual people at PARC who made the things they did, despite the fact that the stuffshirts wouldnt listen to their ideas.

  8. What is that buzzing noise attached to MacDude’s macdoody?

    Hey Doodey — you wrote a lot. I didn’t read it. I read everyone other note but yours. Because your noise is just that noise. No one reads your blithering. You are just taking up screen space.

    Go home to Mr. Gate’s underpants. He probably appreciates your stain.

  9. Emil – You write: “I assume there are multiple corporations who have invested tens of millions of dollars in software that has enslaved them to the win(loose?)-platform.”

    Yes, however they spend billions on a bloated IT department, lost productivity, outages due to malware, re-installing the OS, etc. It’s being pennywise and dollar-foolish. Far cheaper for them to buy new software and hire someone to migrate their data (if needed). They are enslaved only by their own ideas and short-sightedness, IMO. No doubt i will draw some flames here for speaking the truth, but it is truth nonetheless.

    As for Linux, i call it the Windoze of the Unix world. The least reliable, least secure and most troublesome of the breed, IMO. Yes, with a lot of knowledge and hard work, you can cajole it into a useful OS, just like Windoze, but is it really worth the trouble?

    As for your debate with your friend, i think you’ve nailed it right on the head. Linux is for tinkers and Sys Admin wannabes. In the end, though, i doubt your friend can make Linux do anything which MacOS X can’t do. But if he enjoys tinkering for the sake of tinkering (something which you can do with MacOS X too, if you’ve a mind), then there’s value in that from the pleasure folks derive from the task. In that regard, it’s much like whittling: Not productive by any measure, but an enjoyable pass-time to those who engage in the practice.

    I run some servers using OpenBSD, but i am in the process of moving it all over to Mac’s. I chose OpenBSD because it is (in theory) the most secure OS on the planet. But because it is more difficult and troublesome to install software updates under OpenBSD, i have found that i don’t do them as quickly or regularly as i ought to. While MacOS X is not as secure by design as OpenBSD, for me a MacOS X server will be more secure in practice because of the ease with which it can be updated.

    So while your friend might think he’s optimizing his system, my guess is he’s spending hours to save minutes. Just like my experience with the servers, or corporate IT departments, it’s just another example of being pennywise and dollar-foolish.

  10. The author’s comment that “Apple may be about to go horribly wrong,” I just don’t get that. It’s like he wrote all that praise for Jobs and Ive’s genius, but suddenly he felt a guilt trip for heaping so much praise and had to throw a negative paragraph in there, lest people say he didn’t give a balanced review.

    This writer was the one going off the fanatic, religious deep end. I’ve never heard any normal Apple user feeling the Apple stores are “temples.” Or implying the helpful on-site tech help and the seating area in the mini theaters for teaching demo’s are for “inducting converts.” What is this writer smoking?

    And the glass cube in NY city–it’s NY! You have to do something artsy-fartsy and different there to get attention, it’s expected.

    If Apple’s current direction is about to go horribly wrong, I’d like to know what the right direction is. I’m certainly satisfied with it. And we must be beyond the 3% user base by now, seems like an old stat. Thought I heard 4% awhile back. I personally know lots of switchers as do others. When we get to 10% it’s time for a celebration.

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