Why is Apple being so nostalgic?

“A few weeks ago, Apple’s longtime ad creator Lee Clow suggestively tweeted, ‘Gonna be a good Super Bowl. Mac’s gonna be 30 :).’ People immediately started speculating that the iPhone and iPad maker might air an ad celebrating the Macintosh computer’s birthday. Any fans waiting for an Apple ad on Sunday night were disappointed,” Yukari Iwatani Kane writes for The New Yorker. “On Monday morning, however, the company released an online video that may have been what Clow was hinting at.”

“But, as beautifully as the video depicted how the company’s products have changed the world, it was also another reminder of how much Apple has changed since those days — not least because the old Apple, under Jobs, looked forward, not backward. ‘I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long,’ he had famously said. ‘Just figure out what’s next.'”

“When Jobs was ousted in 1985, the impact of his absence on Apple’s business was not immediately obvious,” Kane writes. “Inside Apple, employees knew differently. Something had changed. ‘I was let down when Steve left,’ Steve Scheier, Apple’s director of marketing from 1982 to 1991, recalled. ‘The middle managers, the directors, and the vice presidents kept the spirit alive for a long time without his infusion, but eventually you start hiring people you shouldn’t hire. You start making mistakes you shouldn’t have made.’ Apple began celebrating its past glories with commemorative T-shirts, a garden of Macintosh sculptures, and a display of an old Apple I in the cafeteria.”

“So what about now? Apple’s supporters point to the company’s billions of dollars in quarterly profit and its tens of billions in revenue as proof that it continues to thrive. But Apple’s employees again know differently, despite the executive team’s best efforts to preserve Jobs’s legacy,” Kane writes. “People who shouldn’t be hired are being hired (like Apple’s former retail chief, John Browett, who tried to incorporate big-box-retailer sensibilities into Apple’s refined store experience).”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs
As we asked last Tuesday: What is this 1995?

 
That said, Cook is a better CEO than all the Apple CEOs not named Jobs combined – and none of them had Ive, either – which gives us great hope and more than a little confidence.

 
Let’s go invent tomorrow rather than worrying about what happened yesterday. — Steve Jobs, May 30, 2007

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple forgoes Super Bowl ad, releases new ’1.24.14′ film celebrating Mac at 30 online – February 3, 2014
Apple plotting first Super Bowl spot since 1999, ad legend Lee Clow hints – January 27, 2014

63 Comments

    1. No. Not really. Anything can be expressed in a negative way. And anything that Apple does is very often expressed in that way. There are some that might fall that line of reasoning. Then again, there are others who are a little more thoughtful.

  1. Apple will continue to move forward with new devices and ideas. It is worth a moment of reflection on how far they have come. It will inspire the employees to make their own dent in the universe in the coming years.
    “Let’s go invent tomorrow rather than worrying about what happened yesterday”. — Steve Jobs

  2. Jobs was a dreamer who dared to dream big. Most of his ideas, though outlandish, were successes with few exceptions. He dared to risk it all and bet the company many times on products he thought would revolutionise the computing world.

    Cook by contrast is a by-the-numbers man. Most definitely not a dreamer, more a prosaic manager who utters inanities like the promises of new products that are at best iterations of previous form factors. Nothing new there.

    With Steve, you had the frisson of destructive argumentation (from a human relations standpoint – he called you an asshole if you weren’t up to scratch) but ultimately constructive creatively (from a project development standpoint – the products Steve shepherded were beautiful, tasteful & elegant). Steve wasn’t afraid to challenge preconceived notions, neither was he afraid to be challenged by his managers.

    Cook is a consensus manager that hates dissent. Consequently you end up with bland results like iOS 7 that would not have passed the Steve taste test. I’m afraid to say that only a manager with no taste like Cook or Ballmer or Page would approve a tasteless project like iOS 7.

    1. BLN… I have read many of your bland and tasteless comments.. this one takes the cake. It absolutely personifies someone who has zero imagination and no business insight.

      Cook is the man who is the conductor of the orchestra. The instruments that are playing to fill Apple with music are the likes of Jony Ives (who may just have had some influence in product development for a while), Phil Schiller (who seems to have an excellent capability of playing the strings of global marketing)… just to name a couple.

      What have you done in the world to change the lives of millions, if not billions, of people by your talent and creativity? What have you done to make the world a happier more connected place?

      Your castigation of others here and of Apple is indicative of your lack of moral fiber and that you lack any true sense of connectedness to the rest of humanity.

      1. Pretty hostile dude. Opinions are what a forum is for. I’m always Hoping someone from Apple is reading both the positive and negative posts on this board And improving their products accordingly.

      2. I respect your opinion, MizulnOz. It is very welcome. Still, I think you may be underestimating commenters like BLN who — by taking character and behaviour to extremes — act as Voltaires of the blogosphere, highlighting embarrassing problems, exhibiting the lack of clothing on the Emperor, precipitating a rain of criticism that can only extend the conversation beyond bland worship.

      3. Well, I have just read your direct personal attack (nothing of substance) shot at BLN which is fairly typical of a blind, eyes wide shut Apple disciple.

        Takeaway:

        You did not offer one iota of evidence to refute, disprove or offer a competitive counterpoint opinion to not even one BLN comment. Zip, zero, zilch, nada.

        Instead, we are hustled to believe a grand musical metaphor that Tim sits around all day in his office waving a magic wand in the air and all the king’s cubicle tech employees are driven daily to perfect harmony … Yeah, right.

        If you don’t understand constructive criticism, here is a hint. Did your mother ever scold you with authority to do something differently that in the end turned out making you a better person? 🙂

        1. OK… things of substance:
          Steve Jobs is dead – live with it.
          Tim Cook was in charge before Jobs died. – Live with it.
          Apple is the strongest technology company on Earth – live with it.
          Apple had the highest 1st quarter – year on year – live with it.
          No competitor’s products in each of Apple’s product lines come close to performance, design and life MTBFs – live with it (if you don’t know what MTBF is, go home.)

          Your snide remarks do not make for constructive criticism, either.

          Why no long list of details about the world’s strongest tech company? Because all you have to do is fucking google or bing or duckduckgo Apple and you may find a few references. I am not hear to do your homework – live with it.

          You have no idea my relationship with Apple. I will tell you this, I have been an investor since it was embarrassing to say it. When you could buy shares for less than $20 each. I have been developing S/W and H/W since before there was a WWDC.

          If you think I am a typical fan boy, who is here to follow blindly, you are sadly mistaken. What truly pisses me off when people feel they need to resurrect Steve Jobs every time that they want to take the piss out of Apple.

          Steve Jobs is dead. No bitching or complaining will bring him back. With his team, he developed Apple University, where employees are training and mentored in the process that makes Apple unique. It is how in-house people are developed into powerhouses.

          Choosing people to replace certain positions from the outside is a guessing game at best. No one is perfect at it – even Steve Jobs. (Wanna buy a Pepsi?)

          So, unless you have some truly poignant proposals to position your piss poor platitudes of BLN, castigate somewhere else.

          Oh, do I care if you agree? No, as was said, everyone has a right to say how they feel.

          BTW, when I met Steve Jobs, he was never caustic or rude. He did like my work and was very supportive. Hmmm… funny that.

          BTW, what does YOUR mother have to do my upbringing? Mine died when I was 2 ½. My father, also. My adoptive father was my mentor and he taught me to tell the truth, live in integrity, be accountable and responsible in my life and give to the community quietly.

          What are your four rules to live by?

          And like I said to BLN:
          “What have you done in the world to change the lives of millions, if not billions, of people by your talent and creativity? What have you done to make the world a happier more connected place?”

      4. As a long time customer (1989) and follower of Apple, I have to agree 100% with BLN. The blandness and virtually white on white drives me nuts (no pun intended, BLN), together with the lack of intuitiveness – which is not Apple-like, more MS like.

    2. Well said MO! Not everybody understands what Apple is all about or where it is going. As far as I am concerned, Tim Cook is the best CEO out there and the most hard working!

    3. BLN has an obvious agenda, and it is manifested in the final paragraph of his post. BLN *despises* iOS7 and BLN blames that on Cook. That is the beginning, middle, and end of nearly every BLN post on MDN for a long, long time.

      I gave his post 3-stars because BLN has some good points about Jobs (paragraphs #1 and #3). But I am not terribly inclined to accept BLN’s assessment of Cook at face value. Cook is certainly not Jobs. Neither is anyone else left in this world. And Cook does appear to have a nature that is more inclined to operational organization and numbers than the wild, inspirational dreamer. But that is not justification for dissing Cook as BLN has done ad nauseum on this forum.

      BLN is entitled to his opinion. And everyone else is entitled to pick it apart and agree or disagree with him. I don’t think that BLN really cares. He just likes to be “vocal” and controversial.

      1. I don’t think BLN lives isolated in a basement and simply looking just to be heard or controversial. Certainly no drama queen either stoking the fire looking for cheap excitement.

        At a much younger age than yours truly, he SEES the same Apple missteps and calls them out.

        To use an old cliche, “if you can’t handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen.”

      1. That’s true, Dave H. That approach only works for a person that is right most of the time, particularly when it counts the most, and has the charisma and the arrogance to successfully pull it off. Very few people have that combination of qualities. Far too many people have the arrogance to believe that they do…

    4. BLN
      I agree with your thoughts re – “frission” etc.

      Although I have issues with iOS 7 on my iPhone and iPad mini and knowing of your displeasure with iOS 7 and Jony Ive.

      I wonder about the proportioning of blame … I think our only knowledge of iOS 7 and Ive stem from this press release.

      http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2012/10/29Apple-Announces-Changes-to-Increase-Collaboration-Across-Hardware-Software-Services.html

      Jony Ive is not the software designer of iOS 7, Ive provides “…leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design…”

      Reading that again, the press release says “…Jony Ive will provide leadership and direction …” this does not necessarily make Jony the lead, especially as it is preceded with the word “provide”, I see this as “contribute” to a pool of thought, and while Jony’s concepts and abstractions carry enormous power and influence, he is not the final arbiter of the look and feel, that surely, must sit with Craig Federighi.

      The word “leadership”, like other words is loaded and has various connotations, based on context, initial perception, basic comprehension and interpretation.

      Jony is the mentor, the guru, the guiding light in respect of the Human Interface. Has Apple leveraged the goodwill associated with the name Jony Ive, only to find it backfiring on him, all the people who dislike iOS7 blame Ive.

      I don’t see why he cops all the blame, besides, iOS 7 will continue to be built upon until it is mastered.

      Anyway see the press release from Apple below.


      Apple Announces Changes to Increase Collaboration Across Hardware, Software & Services

      Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi Add Responsibilities to Their Roles

      CUPERTINO, California—October 29, 2012—Apple® today announced executive management changes that will encourage even more collaboration between the Company’s world-class hardware, software and services teams. As part of these changes, Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi will add more responsibilities to their roles. Apple also announced that Scott Forstall will be leaving Apple next year and will serve as an advisor to CEO Tim Cook in the interim.

      “We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple’s history,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The amazing products that we’ve introduced in September and October, iPhone 5, iOS 6, iPad mini, iPad, iMac, MacBook Pro, iPod touch, iPod nano and many of our applications, could only have been created at Apple and are the direct result of our relentless focus on tightly integrating world-class hardware, software and services.”

      Jony Ive will provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design. His incredible design aesthetic has been the driving force behind the look and feel of Apple’s products for more than a decade.

      Eddy Cue will take on the additional responsibility of Siri® and Maps, placing all of our online services in one group. This organization has overseen major successes such as the iTunes Store®, the App Store℠, the iBookstore℠ and iCloud®. This group has an excellent track record of building and strengthening Apple’s online services to meet and exceed the high expectations of our customers.

      Craig Federighi will lead both iOS and OS X®. Apple has the most advanced mobile and desktop operating systems, and this move brings together the OS teams to make it even easier to deliver the best technology and user experience innovations to both platforms.

      Bob Mansfield will lead a new group, Technologies, which combines all of Apple’s wireless teams across the company in one organization, fostering innovation in this area at an even higher level. This organization will also include the semiconductor teams, who have ambitious plans for the future. ….


      It’s late here, I’m turning in.

      1. Thanks for the long comment skylark. I really don’t think all that much about iOS 7, other than it sucks & I tolerate it on my iPhone. I’m giving serious thought to jail breaking to restore iOS 6 goodness to my iPhone but am debating whether it’s worth the trouble, and in some cases instability.

        I’ll list a host of reasons why I dislike iOS 7 but it’ll be longer than my arm.

  3. I would be nostalgic, since entertainment is a major joke right now. Don’t get me wrong, the technology now days is amazing, but it seems like all this technology has removed the “human touch” from our media. My comic series try’s to bring back the sense of fun and surrealism cartoons and comics from the 80s and 90s had. It’s even hand drawn! (But digitally colored on a Mac of course) Nostalgia should at least be used as an influence on modern and future art, because sometimes the past just had a better sense of design than the present. At least their “1.24.14” video still had a human touch to it.

  4. Jobs said, “….not dwell on it for too long”.

    They have only “dwelled” for a week or so. One week for 30 YEARS! Give me a break!

    Nothing Apple does is ever good enough for these BOZO analysts.

  5. The firing of Forstall was Cook’s biggest mistake. I think he will come to rue the day that he stupidly took Ive’s side. Collaboration isn’t everything Cook is chalking it up to be. I think Apple will slide into irrelevancy and beg Forstall to return. When he does, I hope the first thing he does is clean house, starting with Ive and his silly ugly IOS 7.

    1. You could be right, and many would agree that there is trouble in River City. If only Apple’s products and iOS 7 weren’t best-sellers, darn it! — if only they had proved marketplace failures, change would be on the way. Why do so many losers fall for these inferior products! Call out the National Guard, or at least the FUD brigades! No good deed gone unpunished. Crush bunnies underfoot while we’re at it, just to let the innovators know we mean business.

      1. Here, here — 5s is a record best seller for Apple!

        Linking that success directly or indirectly to iOS 7 is kindly, a stretch.

        I have not seen evidence or polls showing overwhelming support for the visual appearance or functionality of iOS 7 over previous versions.

        I believe if the questions were faithfully asked, data projected, the visually starved voices would prevail.

      2. HAHAHAHA! I love it Hannah!

        To anyone who mythologizes that Apple fanatics are little lemmings who play follow-the-leader off a cliff: This thread blows that misconception out of the water. Watch us RANT at each other, often with fun humor tossed it, about what’s good and what’s bad going on at Apple. I love this stuff!

        Good for us gang. Diversity rulz.

    2. Yes, Forstall firing huge mistake.

      Yes, iOS 7 is the biggest mistake in 30 years.

      No, Apple will not become irrelevant anytime soon.

      That said, honestly, I have less confidence backing up that statement with Steve gone.

  6. Yada. Yada.

    And at the end of this year, Apple will have sold record numbers of NEW iPhones, iPads, Macs, and software as they continue on their carefully plotted course of providing solid rational innovation, not just buttons because there’s a space for a button.

    And Apple may create a new product space because they have determined that the time right, and the technology, and the functionality, and the possible users of such a product are ready, not simply because some Korean knock off company failed at making one. And it will be a product they have been tweaking for years Not because obnoxious hedge fund managers bang their beefy fists and demand something. Not because often bankrupted business folk chime in for the publicity.

    And yes the punditry will moan and groan whine and opine dispensing words that seem to say they know best how to run the most solidly innovative company in the world, the company with the most loyal client base in the world, the company that continues to shape our technological future as all the others scramble to mimic her.

    And yes, Apple will seem a bit nostalgic because they glance in the rear view mirror from time to time because they realize you have to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going…

    And her competitors will try to do the same thing and realize the their path is and always has been, go where Apple leads and try to guess where she is going.

  7. I agree Apple puts too much focus on the past in its PR. But during Jobs time mistakes were made too. He also hired wrong people, but was very quick to get rid of them in Jobesque style. But its true the focus was always on the next thing.

  8. Seems like everyone is an expert and knows everything about Apple. Yet the reality is they don’t have a fucking clue! When you can make your company a quarterly profit equal to Googles yearly profit then you might have the right to comment on what Apple is doing right or wrong. But I know this person does not. Most anal-ist don’t have a clue either. They gown grade apple and raise googles stock even though they totally missed there forecast. Then there excuse is Apple’s future forecast is low, yet Google does not even give a future forecast at all. Apple will prove many wrong soon I have a feeling.

  9. A couple of things:

    1. Nothing wrong with a bit of nostalgia to mark the significant milestone of 30 years of the Mac. How many other technology products have lasted for 30 years, through multiple iterations yet have remained at the cutting edge of their market segment? It’s not like the current Apple spends all of its time and marketing on this kind of stuff and if you pay attention, it actually concentrates on all the cool and edgy stuff that is currently being done that most people would consider futuristic.
    2. Too soon to call on Cook. He’s been in charge for a couple of years of an almost 40-year old company that was heavily dependent upon the driving force of one man for much of this time. He will still be going through the process of seeing through projects that were started while Steve was still alive, projects and processes that began around the time of Steve’s death and which are possibly a bit muddled by the confusion of the changeover, plus products and projects that have begun purely in Cook’s time but which still have to progress in an organisation which is still largely a legacy of Steve and probably isn’t completely geared to the new world yet.
    True organisational change is measured in years not a few quarters and to judge Apple on how well it is suited to the future based on the recent past is as absurd as congratulating Microsoft on its organisational change after just a few months just because Windows Phone has ticked up by 1% of market share “Hey we’ve doubled!”

    1. Great post.

      No one ever talks about the good things that Cook has done, only te bad.

      The Good:
      1. Keeping Ive and Mansfield.
      2. Bringing in Ahrendts.
      3. Forging stronger relationships with retailers (and slowing the rollout of Apple Stores)
      4. Doing well enough with the 5C. I seriously think the company would have suffered more margin pressure if the 5 had moved to the middle model.

  10. One person’s nostalgia is another’s glimpse of the future.

    The ad is about the celebration of throwing the hammer through the screen, and empowering all people, not just the late SJ, to do things no one dreamed possible 30 years ago. It is not a look backward, it is a glimpse of what is coming.

    Look at the variety of ways that Apple devices affect our lives all over the world, as shown in this piece.

    Ms Kane writes “Apple seems more eager to talk about the past than about the future.” I do not recall Steve Jobs talking much about future devices in his speeches, just the ones he was introducing that day. SJ commonly, in his keynotes, recounted the successes of the company and its achievements, but no one at the time accused him of focusing in the rear view mirror.
    “A nostalgic, backward-looking ad couldn’t come anywhere close to ‘1984,’ which challenged the status quo and started a religion.” writes writes Yukari Kane, in her New Yorker article touting a new book she is about to release in March. Her article is about self promotion, not critical analysis.

    The “1984” ad was not about creating a religion, but empowering everyone to break free. This commercial celebrates what that freedom has brought; it is about looking forward – showing what people are doing today and will achieve in the future.

    The fact that she does not “get it” leads me to conclude that Ms Kane probably wrote her book on a PC.

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