“Steve Jobs unveiled the first Apple iPhone ten years ago today, January 9, 2007,” Mark Hibben writes for Seeking Alpha. “The world will never be the same. With so many competing smartphones, it’s easy to think that Apple’s accomplishment has been equaled, and that there is nowhere else for Apple to go. Peak iPhone, peak Apple.”
“But the iPhone still has room to grow, its full potential, even now, not fully realized,” Hibben writes. “And Apple also still has room to grow.”
“Watching the iPhone introduction at Macworld, I’m struck with how much Apple misses Steve Jobs. He doesn’t just unveil the product, gush about how ‘amazing’ it is, and list all its new features. He walks the audience step by step through the thought process that led to the iPhone. He convinces you that the iPhone is not merely a logical evolution of personal computing, but a quantum leap by solving problems of design and user interface that existing smartphones of the time hadn’t solved,” Hibben writes. “Jobs could do that because he understood the thought process, because it was to a large extent, his own. When I recollect product introductions since the passing of Jobs, there isn’t a single instance where Apple’s management has demonstrated the level of clarity that Jobs displayed on that day in 2007.”
“Product design by committee is starting to strangle Apple,” Hibben writes. “The committee agrees that the iPhone should just be a smartphone. After all, Apple essentially invented the smartphone concept with the iPhone. This is despite the fact that the iPhone 7 is now carrying around more processing power than PCs of ten years ago. This is despite the fact that the iPhone can easily be connected to an external monitor. This is despite the fact that you can even pair a Bluetooth keyboard. This is despite the fact that the iPhone, as do all iOS devices, is just running a variant of Mac OS X… Of course, it was a very stripped down OS X. But Jobs featured this with the clear intent of endowing (or seeming to endow) the iPhone with personal computing features. In so doing, he presaged what I still consider to be the ultimate destiny, the full potential of the iPhone, to be a PC.”
MacDailyNews Take: Apple only really works when one person is in charge. The problem is that said overlord has to be multifaceted and multitalented and there was, of course, only one Steve Jobs. Obviously, Steve Jobs is missed and, yes, Apple does need a Jobsian product architect. Unfortunately, Steve was a unique genius and his shoes, so far, have been impossible to fill.
If Jony Ive isn’t fully in charge and/or isn’t fully engaged, he needs to be on both counts.
Steve Jobs would get it. Tim Cook? Well, he released it. Just like he released Apple Maps. If it’s not crystal clear by now, it should be: Cook can’t see it. He’s very good at some things; other things he simply cannot see. This is not a knock. The ability to be so detail-oritented, so absorbed in the end user experience to the exclusion of all else, is a rare ability.
“Tim’s not a product person, per se.” – Steve Jobs discussing Tim Cook, as quoted by Walter Isaacson in “Steve Jobs”
Cook needs to assign people to these projects who can do what he cannot, who can see what he cannot see, and make sure these people are as focused and obsessed as Steve Jobs. There may only be one person at Apple who can do this reliably: Jony Ive. Unfortunately, he may be too busy being chief designer of all things Apple (hardware and software) to also do what Jobs did so incredibly well: Focus on a wide range of products, experience each of them as the end user does, and not allow products out the door until they can perform as Apple products should perform. It’s highly likely there is not enough time in the day for all Ive would need to do (or even to do all that he’s supposed to be doing already). [It also might be impossible for anyone to be so involved in the hardware and software design to be able to step back far enough to experience it as the end user would and therefore be able see a product’s flaws from that, the most important, end user’s perspective.]
Cook needs to find people who are obsessive about the end user experience and assign them to these type of projects. There should have been someone at Apple who became the planet’s preeminent authority on streaming radio, who knew every service, who used these services for hours each day, who lived and breathed and used streaming radio for months. This person should have been iTunes Radio’s shepherd and final arbiter, without whose approval, iTunes Radio would not be released. Was there such a person on this project?
…To state the obvious: Steve Jobs was one-of-a-kind and truly amazing. No hyperbole. Cook needs to try to replicate Steve Jobs as much as possible with a group of people, each of whom can contribute various elements of Jobs’ wide range of skills. — MacDailyNews, November 11, 2013
“It would be so simple, if Apple just allowed iOS to support a mouse or trackpad driven cursor,” Hibben writes. “Then iPads and iPhones really could begin to replace PCs. Then iOS really could be a viable option for professionals. Then the iPhone could finally realize its potential.”
“Apple seems to want to protect the Mac and preserve its niche, with inventions of dubious value such as the TouchBar,” Hibben writes. “I’ll be blunt. The Mac franchise isn’t worth it. Apple needs to move on to the next big thing: What the iPhone’s creator envisioned from day one: A Mac you can put in your pocket. If Apple insists on trying to hold back this future, it will only come from other sources. Then Apple will have to play ‘catch up,’ even though it started out ahead, way ahead, under Jobs.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: The future of the “Mac” is already here. Apple just has to unleash it.
Apple’s “iPhone” isn’t really a phone at all. It’s really a small touchscreen Mac OS X computer, a Mac nano tablet, if you will. Here’s how misnamed the iPhone is: Some people are complaining that Jobs didn’t spend enough time on the Mac in his keynote! Folks, iPhone is not only a Mac, it’s the most radical new Mac in years! What’s to stop Apple from making a 12-inch model (and larger, and smaller) one of these days (use the headset for the phone, please) and calling it a Mac tablet? …So, yeah, it can be a phone, even the very best smartphone, but it’s so much more and holds so much promise that the name “iPhone” hardly does it justice. — SteveJack, MacDailyNews, January 9, 2007
Apple’s iPhone celebrates 10 years – January 9, 2017
The gaping Jobsian void within Apple – November 16, 2016
Is Apple building ‘The Device?’ [revisited] – January 9, 2007
Apple debuts iPhone: touchscreen mobile phone + widescreen iPod + Internet communicator – January 9, 2007
Is Apple building ‘The Device?’ – December 10, 2002