August 24, 2011

Steve Jobs Resigns: an End of an Era

It’s a sad day, at least metaphorically. I’ll point to John Gruber to give the announcement context:

The company is a fractal design. Simplicity, elegance, beauty, cleverness, humility. Directness. Truth. Zoom out enough and you can see that the same things that define Apple’s products apply to Apple as a whole. The company itself is Apple-like. The same thought, care, and painstaking attention to detail that Steve Jobs brought to questions like “How should a computer work?”, “How should a phone work?”, “How should we buy music and apps in the digital age?” he also brought to the most important question: “How should a company that creates such things function?”

Jobs’s greatest creation isn’t any Apple product. It is Apple itself.


  1. Joel Bernstein on August 24th, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    I hadn’t heard.

  2. Marco on August 24th, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Damn it’s been a shitty week…

  3. Joel Bernstein on August 24th, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    You know, it’s not every guy who gets to read his own eulogies.

  4. Jay on August 25th, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Humility? Truth? Let’s not go crazy here. I like apple design as much as the next nerd but the company has been getting increasingly fascistic for years now. They were secretly collecting user location data, their OS is making file structures more opaque to the user, and the app store moderators can feel capricious to say the least. “How should we buy music in the digital age?” has translated to paying as much for digital files as we used to pay for tangible objects with album art, etc. and having DRM controls that prevent user sharing. Sooo, Jobs isn’t exactly Gandhi in blue jeans.

  5. Marco on August 25th, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Jay you really missed the forest for the trees.

  6. Jay on August 25th, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Marco, enlighten me. (and there’s no sarcasm in that statement)

  7. Marco on August 25th, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    I think the labels took most of the “tangible” from us when they moved from LPs and 45s to CDs and demanding we buy the album. Apple popularized portable digital music, changed the dynamic from the label to the artist without the anarchy that P2P wrought on both, and eventually negotiating for and winning the removal of DRM from same. Over time he has changed the label’s and the publics philosophy about stealing music by offering a service “better than free”.

    The “secretly collected user data” was never collected (it always resided on the users devices) and the data it compiled couldn’t provide your location any more accurately than a phone book would. It vastly improve signal recognition and location services, making incredibly useful mobile computing and mapping commonplace.

    While the initial PC age made us all computer users, post PC devices (like the iPad and iPhone) have simplified the aspects of computing that generally confounded the majority of users. Children with single digit ages and grandparents can pick up and iPad and use it effectively in moments. While you may find the file structures more opaque, computer use has never been more transparent to more people.

    App store moderation, while seeming capricious at times was a wild west show during the early years as new issues came forward as things scaled rapidly. Back tracking was inevitable when you’re herding a stampede of 100s of thousands of developers. The benefits of the app store to developers far outweigh the occasional injustices which have largely been resolved – especially when Apple is handling all the heavy lifting for the developers, while paying them 1000s of millions of dollars, and still providing a no worry computing environment for the consumer.

    Sadly perception becomes reality and there’s still a large contingent of entrenched users who are still fighting the Mac/Windows/Linux wars. Change to long term approaches to computing is new, strange and therefore bad. Apple’s users are all brainwashed. Steve Jobs is mean.

    And yet since 1997 I think the real change in the direction of computing has been led/popularized/influenced (if not actually invented) by Steve Jobs and the company he founded – and re-built from the ground up.