, executive editor (and recent iMac convert) David Coursey said that Apple’s release this week of the eMac to the general public reverses a comment that Steve Jobs made in January, predicting the death of the cathode ray tube — and it shows a different side of Steve Jobs, a more practical one. Coursey’s comments come in a new editorial entitled
Apple eats crow on CRTs — and that’s mm-mm good!
Coursey said that despite “many good reasons” for discontinuing production of CRTs — heft, bulk, low efficiency, and hazardous waste materials, for example — they’re still much cheaper than more exotic LCD screens, which make up the rest of Apple’s product line (save the venerable 15 inch CRT-based iMac, still available from Apple). This is important in particular for perennially cash-strapped public school systems, so it made sense for Apple to produce the eMac for such institutions.
Yet Apple cited public demand for the eMac as its rationale for releasing the 17 inch, all-in-one design to the general public this week, rather than restricting it just to educators, higher ed students and schools, as it had done when it first introduced the eMac. “I just think it’s further evidence that Steve has become less ideological and more practical,” said Coursey.
Coursey explained that Jobs’ bold prediction of the death of the CRT isn’t the first time that the Apple executive’s vision has exceeded what the market will bear. As examples, Coursey cited the Lisa, the failed Mac predecessor which ultimately contained many of the same hallmarks as its successful descendant. Coursey also pointed to NeXT, whose operating system ultimately led to the development of Mac OS X.
This is ultimately a good thing, posited Coursey, who sees Jobs’ “newfound pragmatism as a good thing,” and is happy that “Steve is willing to forgo his principles for sales.” After all, those attributes will help Apple’s bottom line.
“Today’s Steve Jobs is a better executive because he’s taking advantage of marketplace opportunities, instead of standing on principle simply to prove that once again he’s ahead of his time,” said Coursey.