Steve Jobs initially opposed third-party apps for iPhone; ‘annoyed and depressed’ over public reaction to iPad

Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography of Steve Jobs is like a loose-fitting diaper; it’s leaking all over the place.

“Isaacson also recounts the birth of Apple’s iconic products and Jobs’ role as a visionary in crafting the devices. There was one feature that Jobs initially opposed, however, that has since become a cornerstone for the company: apps,” Bianca Bosker reports for The Huffington Post. “Apple board member Art Levinson told Isaacson that he phoned Jobs ‘half a dozen times to lobby for the potential of the apps,’ but, according to Isaacson, ‘Jobs at first quashed the discussion, partly because he felt his team did not have the bandwidth to figure out all the complexities that would be involved in policing third-party app developers.’

“The launch of the iPad proved to be its own challenge for Jobs. The lukewarm reception it received at its launch — which included more than 800 emails from users to Jobs — ‘annoyed and depressed’ the then-CEO,” Bosker reports. “‘I kind of got depressed today,’ Jobs told Isaacson the night after the iPad launched. ‘It knocks you back a bit.'”

More leakage in the full article here.

Nick Wingfield and Damon Darlin blog more leaks from Steve Jobs for The New York Times, “Mr. Rubinstein, the engineer and former Apple senior vice president who played an important role in the creation of the iPod, chafed against Jonathan Ive, Apple’s industrial design guru, over design changes by Mr. Ive that could have meant product delays. Mr. Jobs sided with Ive, and Mr. Rubinstein left the company in 2006. In the book, Mr. Jobs couldn’t resist what amounted to a harsh put-down coming from him, saying that, ‘In the end, Ruby’s from H.P.’ Mr. Rubinstein worked at Hewlett-Packard early in his career and was later chief executive officer of Palm, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard.”

“In a chapter about the music Mr. Jobs most admired, he chided an unusual target: the singer and guitarist John Mayer. Mr. Jobs knew Mr. Mayer, who performed at an Apple product introduction in 2004,” Wingfield and Darlin report. “While Mr. Jobs spoke with admiration of Mr. Mayer’s guitar-playing, he told the author that the artist is ‘out of control’ and could be ‘blowing it big time.’ There’s no explanation in the book of what prompted Mr. Jobs’s concerns.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Steve Jobs via Apple’s iBookstore (U.S.16.99) here: Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

Related article:
Why I’ll be buying an Apple iPad – along with millions of others – January 27, 2010


  1. Why do I get the feeling that Mr. Isaacson captured the moments and the words, but not the insights and understanding.

    Case in point, about Apps. Art Levinson had asked Steve to allow Apps. Steve may have intended all along to allow Apps, but that intention and plans are on the need to know basis only. Maybe it was a closely guarded secret, as you know the APIs, policies and development tools aren’t built overnight.

    Anyway, I’m only guessing on the snippets; maybe reading the book will provide more context. I sure wish all these leaks from the book would stop though.

  2. Frankly I was surprised at the lukewarm reception for the iPad; i thought it was brilliant – a screen big enough to really use iOS, but not some monitor that sits across a desk from you that makes touch screens impractical.

    The reaction reminded me of when Apple introduced the iPod. Apple was slammed with “so what, it’s just another mp3 player” articles. No one realized how much the iPod would affect people and how we listen to music, particularly because it was tied to iTunes.

    It’s almost like when Apple introduces a new product and the initial reaction is ho-hum, then you know Apple has a revolutionary hit on its hands. (Gee, the iPhone 4S with Siri had quite the lukewarm reception, didn’t it?)

  3. Also recall that Jobs was insistent that the original iPhone would not have 3rd party apps (like we have apps today), but that everything would be web-based apps (just like Palm tried to do). Within a year that changed, and the App Store was created.

    Sometimes the initial vision turns out to not work the way you wanted, but Jobs could obviously be persuaded to others’ ideas. And that’s why Apple will continue to prosper without him. He built a team as dedicated to producing the great products as he was, and in fact, some of the best ideas for the iPhone/iOS came from people other than Jobs.

  4. Ruby’s from H.P.

    And so was Woz.

    And without Woz, where would Jobs have been? For that matter, how about those components 12 year old Steve Jobs got from Bill Hewlett?)

    (Hint: There would be no Apple.)

    1. i’d bet money that before the weekend is over.. you could find a torrent of the entire book. (and not a fake with virus/trojans etc)

      Can’t wait till I open my Amazon box next week. may have to buy an iBooks copy also…

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