Steve Jobs: ‘I just don’t like television. Apple will never make a TV again’

“The year was 1997,” Chris Gayomali reports for Fast Company. “Steve Jobs had just returned to the company from which he had been fired, and Apple designer Jony Ive still wasn’t a member of Steve’s inner circle of decision-makers, as highlighted in Becoming Steve Jobs, a new biography co-authored by longtime Jobs interviewer Brent Schlender and Fast Company executive editor Rick Tetzeli.”

Steve killed both of Jony’s pet projects. The eMate disappeared along with all other traces of the Newton (save a few key patents), and the 20th Anniversary bit the dust after selling just 12,000 units. The products didn’t fit into his quadrants. Besides, he told me one day, “I just don’t like television. Apple will never make a TV again.” This was Jony’s introduction to Steve’s coldhearted decision-making.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Of course, Steve changed his mind quite often, and there’s no telling what Apple could do in the future, so off that ledge and back inside, Gene!

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” – Steve Jobs

Related articles:
Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster: Apple Television quite possible in 2016 – September 24, 2014
Piper Jaffray’s Munster: No, really, Apple HDTV with new remote coming this year – January 22, 2013
Gene Munster: Here’s why Apple didn’t release a TV this year, either – November 28, 2012
Piper Jaffray’s Munster finds more evidence of Apple television – February 1, 2012
Piper Jaffray’s Munster: Apple positioned to introduce premium connected HDTV in 2-4 years – March 23, 2010


  1. The question about his hatred for Television:
    The Industry- as in commercial TV.
    The Technology- as in the CRT and later Plasma and LCD displays for video content.

    I tend to think he meant commercial TV which is about as brain dead as any industry ever seen. Ed Murrow warned that it was not living up to it’s promise back in the late 1950’s

    “Our history will be what we make it. And if there are any historians about fifty or a hundred years from now, and there should be preserved the kinescopes for one week of all three networks, they will there find recorded in black and white, or perhaps in color, evidence of decadence, escapism and insulation from the realities of the world in which we live. I invite your attention to the television schedules of all networks between the hours of 8 and 11 p.m., Eastern Time. Here you will find only fleeting and spasmodic reference to the fact that this nation is in mortal danger…

    One of the basic troubles with radio and television news is that both instruments have grown up as an incompatible combination of show business, advertising and news. Each of the three is a rather bizarre and, at times, demanding profession. And when you get all three under one roof, the dust never settles. The top management of the networks with a few notable exceptions, has been trained in advertising, research, sales or show business. But by the nature of the corporate structure, they also make the final and crucial decisions having to do with news and public affairs. Frequently they have neither the time nor the competence to do this…

    I do not advocate that we turn television into a 27-inch wailing wall, where longhairs constantly moan about the state of our culture and our defense. But I would just like to see it reflect occasionally the hard, unyielding realities of the world in which we live. I would like to see it done inside the existing framework, and I would like to see the doing of it redound to the credit of those who finance and program it…

    This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and even it can inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise, it’s nothing but wires and lights in a box. There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference. This weapon of television could be useful.”
    Ed Murrow
    His comments on who runs TV sounds like his criticism about Bozos in business as the sales guy or the accountant is the one who rises through the ranks and runs the company without purpose or vision. I do not think he had a problem with streaming on demand video.

    1. What of today’s TV, do you think Edward R Murrow would like? What do you think matches what he wished TV would or could have been?

      TV has been used as an inspirational tool to show ideal life, how people should behave in all situations. I think it’s not specifically meant to hide reality, but to change it. America does it, the USSR did it, any modern society.

      Reality TV is not real at all, but a collective concept of how we think people want us to behave. It’s also used to flaunt the opposite, to gain attention.

      It’s difficult or impossible to be real in front of a camera, but I think situation comedies try too look at real life and laugh at it. Reality is VERY VERY dark and brooding sentiment, filled with pain and misery. I am not a pessimist. But people don’t toon in to what they want to run away from.

      Media consumption requires literacy of communication methods, story telling, in addition to all other traditional educational tools.

  2. The Performa 636CD I had (basically my first Mac) had the TV card, and, IMHO, that card was terrific. It was cable-ready (at the time, ancient analog), and its closed caption function allowed me to create a text file of the CC. I haven’t seen any other TV adapter since that could do that. How many of us watch ‘TV’ on our computers today? I miss that card and I want that functionality to reappear. But, I guess that’s just me.

  3. Innovation is being able to come up with 1000 things and say yes to 1 good thing. People forget that to reject 1000 ideas, you had to come up with them first.

  4. ‘People are thinking less than they used to. It’s primarily because of television. When you’re young, you look at television and think, “Why is the television programming so bad? Why are television shows so demeaning, so poor?” The first thought that occurs to you is: Well, there is a conspiracy: the networks that are controlling this are feeding us this slop because its cheap to produce, and to try and dumb us down, because of this because of that. I thought it was a giant conspiracy to rob the American populace of their mind if not their soul. But then I found out the truth, which is far more depressing, which is the networks give people precisely what they want. The truth of the matter, if you study it in any depth, is that networks absolutely want to give people what they want so that they will watch the shows. If people wanted something different, they would get it.’

    ‘Steve Jobs Bio: The Unauthorized Autobiography.’

  5. I had an investor tell me, “6-8 hours a day of TV is wasting 25 to 33 percent of your life. If you want to be successful in life, don’t own or watch TV”.

    1. I for one agree and for many of todays youths, that would be a game console.

      I guess I was kind-of like the drug dealer, I used to make games for a living but no longer do. It did however lead me to my present carrier and when I had children of my own, I limited the amount of time and when they could play them. Plus, we encouraged other activities like sports, exploration and travel and “learning” (not schooling). These were family and supported activities and we participated as parents.

      I don’t know what my children will do in their life but I know they are having a damn good time figuring it out. I’m kind-of jealous actually. haha

      I also know watching TV is not something they care much about or do often. When they do it’s usually sports and it’s usually on their laptop or mobile devices.

    2. Wasting time to do what? Plow fields? We watch TV because there is nothing to do. I suppose we could read or write a book, however that is not what the masses do or have ever done. What the masses used to do is work very very hard, come home and collapse. We are long passed those days.

      TV soaks up latency in the work force.

      Sit and think for a minute. What would you have everyone do, if there was no TV? The vast majority of people don’t think, but do what they are told, because that is how we have been raised, from the dawn of time.

      TV programming is primarily bad, because there are 12,000 daily hours to fill. With a DVR, you don’t have to watch crap, but can watch only what interests you, when you want or have time to watch it.

      As we move away from TV channels which require programming, and move towards on demand programming, you will see a bunch of stuff disappear or more likely easier to ignore. You make TV what you want of it.

  6. Years later, Steve said:

    “I’d like to create an integrated television set. It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud… It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”

  7. Given the brutal deprecation TV-sets have these days, I’m actually glad Apple has so far shied away from actually selling one.
    In the time this stuff ships from China to the US or Europe, it loses a couple of % of its value of already.
    Just compare what you paid for a 65″ high-end TV a couple of years ago – and what you pay now.

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