Before he passed away, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs helped design his company's new headquarters with renowned architect Sir Norman Robert Foster. Called "Apple Campus 2," the new headquarters will reside on a 176-acre plot in Cupertino. The main building -- a circular spaceship (the Mothership) intentionally devoid of rectangles and squares which, along with long buildings and buildings with more than four stories, have been deemed to inhibit collaboration -- will take up 2.8 million square feet with room for 13,000 employees.
Supposedly, the wild popularity of smartphones, tablets, e-readers, smart TVs, and hand-held videogames has brought us the “post-PC era.” To hear some folks talk, PCs are not only in decline, but are almost as doomed as dinosaurs. For proof, they point to slipping PC sales and to troubled PC vendors like Hewlett-Packard.
Note: This column originally appeared in the February 2013 issue of the magazine.
It’s been awhile now since Bill Gates ruled the roast over at Microsoft, however his philanthropic work across the globe has more than made up for his absence. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has almost completely rid the world of polio, and malaria and aids can’t be far behind at this rate. The founder of Microsoft has arguably made one of the most significant contributions to the world in the past hundred years, but even despite all his own personal accomplishments, he continues to reminisce over the death of Steve Jobs in interviews.
What a difference a last name makes. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs made it his mission to "destroy Android" even if it meant bankrupting Apple in order to do so. The other Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, doesn't spew the same venom towards Google's green machine as Jobs once did, and even wishes his beloved iPhone could do some of the same things as Android, or at least do certain things as well as the open source OS.
Later this week, the late Steve Jobs and Magneto will have something in common -- both will have appeared in comic book form. We're sure you can think of other similarities, unfortunately the full potential of Apple's iconic co-founder caricatured in a comic will never be reached, not without Stan Lee and Jon Stewart tag teaming the project (they're not), though Bluewater Production did promise to capture the many sides of his "complex personality."
I believe America’s greatest strength has been its ability to cultivate the most profitable crop in human history—geniuses. This country is the way it is because of men and women with genuine vision and the ability to move that vision into the realm of accomplishment.
The great strength of Apple computers was always the commitment of Steve Jobs to “make it better.” Jobs’ return to Apple was the smartest move the shareholders ever did. (Apple’s darkest days occurred during the reign of whatshisname, the soda salesman. Whatever experience he had managing a company that made its profits from selling carbonated sugar water, it wasn’t the kind of visionary experience that a computer company needs.) So the loss of Steve Jobs now could be as critical a moment for the company as it was when he was forced out in 1985. A visionary company needs a visionary leader.
In fact, our current economic woes may very well be due to a failure to invest in the next generation’s crop of geniuses. We have spent too many years failing nurture vision and innovation. Industry has made the near-fatal mistake of thinking that “make it cheaper” is an acceptable substitute for “make it better.” The evidence says that it is not.
There are a lot of adjectives to describe Bill Gates, the Harvard dropout who co-founded Microsoft and went on to become a billionaire. Before he passed away, Steve Jobs offered some of his own. He called Gate "unimaginative" and said of his nemesis, he "has never invented anything, which is why I think he's more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology." The verbal beat down didn't stop there.
(This was written before Steve Jobs died, and it was never intended to be disrespectful, only slyly satirical. Because of publishing schedules, it is only appearing now. I admired Jobs and I will sincerely miss his presence in the consumer electronics industry. His influence went far beyond his own company. He was a human catalyst accelerating the pace of computer evolution to warp speed.)
1984 was and still is a year forever tainted by George Orwell’s novel of the same name. Orwell, “Big Brother”, and even the year itself have become shorthand terms for totalitarianism or anything that even hints of it, whether it’s a security camera or a political philosophy you disagree with or Microsoft’s Windows validation software. “Orwellian” is a way of saying “like the Nazis, but without Godwin’s Law.
During the 1984 Super Bowl broadcast, Apple showed one of the most memorable commercials ever filmed. If you’ve never seen it, you can probably find it on YouTube. Directed by Blade Runner’s Ridley Scott, the commercial shows a woman in a track suit running through a totalitarian environment. She dashes past all the drone-like people sitting on benches and hurls a hammer at a huge screen that represents the Big Brother of George Orwell’s novel, 1984.
Excerpts from an upcoming biography of Steve Jobs written by Walter Isaacson are popping up all over the Web, and one of the more interesting tidbits sheds light on Apple's contempt for Android. It might also explain why Apple has been so aggressive in suing competitors entrenched in the Android ecosystem, a platform Jobs vowed to destroy at all costs.
Steve Jobs’s recent passing provoked not just a personal response, but widespread moaning about Apple’s future. Conspicuously missing, however, was speculation about the ways in which Jobs’s diminished role might improve Apple.
To some, any such speculation is heresy. Like everyone, however, Jobs was flawed. One flaw was well known but was mainly an internal company matter. Another was less recognized but may eventually harm Apple’s competitiveness.