Even the Macalope must admit that if you keep writing about how innovation is dead at Apple, eventually you’ll be right.
Writing for The New York Times, Tripp Mickle tells us “How Technocrats Triumphed at Apple.”
Please, don’t bother the Macalope until Autobots triumph at Apple.
This article is adapted from a book Mickle has out titled (please swallow any liquids in your mouth before continuing to read) “After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost Its Soul”. Not that there’s any particular point of view being espoused here.
Mickle describes Jony Ive as one of Apple’s “most creative thinkers” while Tim Cook is painted as a bean counter who’s utterly disinterested in design and would like nothing more than to expel all those weirdos in Delta house. The piece emphasizes the philosophical friction between the two, saying frustration drove Ive to resign.
Mickle does go so far as to quote both Cook and Ive taking exception to the idea that the latter left on bad terms. Indeed, it’s hard to think it was too bad considering he still regularly works with the company. But amicable breakups don’t sell books.
Now, dear reader, it is time for the Macalope’s patented Walk-Into-The-Sea Challenge where you read a passage from the linked-to article and see if you can prevent yourself from walking into the sea. Good luck!
Mr. Cook has accelerated a shift in strategy that has made the company better known for offering TV shows and a credit card than introducing the kind of revolutionary new devices that once defined it.
Where you able to stay desalinated, reader?! The Macalope wasn’t.
Yes, when people think of Apple these days it never has anything to do with Macs, iPads or iPhones.
This is probably a good time to link to the Times’ review of the book, which praises the history aspect but is less kind to Mickle’s analysis:
By the end, the sense that the two missed a chance to create a worthy successor to the iPhone is palpable.
It’s also hooey, and the best evidence for that is the previous 400 pages. It’s true that after Jobs died, Apple didn’t produce another device as important as the iPhone, but Apple didn’t produce another device that important before he died either.
Indeed. In fact, one could rightly argue that no one ever in the history of the world has produced another device as important as the iPhone. And this is the problem with most “analysis” of Apple. Everything gets compared to the iPhone, as if the company should be shipping world-changing devices every three years when no other company in existence is held to the same standard.
The section of Mickle’s article detailing Ive’s slow departure appears under the header “Left-brain triumph”, as we are left to presume that creativity is now dead at Apple.
In Mr. Ive’s absence, Mr. Cook began reshaping the company in his image.
You’re saying that in 2017, six years after Steve Jobs’ death and Tim Cook taking over as Apple CEO, Cook finally got around to reshaping the company in his image?
Well, the man is notoriously lazy.
The Macalope would ask “Who writes this stuff?” but the answer is clear: Tripp Mickle writes this stuff. It’s right up there at the top.
…the products remain largely as they were when Mr. Ive left. The gods have become mortals.
Yes, except, actually, no.
Mickle seemingly dismisses the introduction of Apple silicon as a grotesque triviality Apple had the audacity to mention before talking about the 2021 iMac’s design. But what about that design? You can say it’s basically the same as the old one in that it is a screen on a stand, but that’s what the iMac has been since 2004. You can’t have it both ways, you can’t sigh at Apple for shipping the same stuff post Ive that they were shipping with Ive.
And let’s talk about changes that have been made to the MacBook Pro since Ive’s departure. The new MacBook Pros are no longer thin at the expense of almost everything else and consequently do not feature keyboards that stop working when you look at them wrong or say harsh words about them or others. The “gods” might have done some amazing things but let’s not forget all the times Zeus showed up at a bachelorette party as a horny swan.
In the case of the Mac, it is inarguable that Apple’s offering has improved dramatically post-Ive. And it’s not like people loved his influence on Apple’s software design.
Jony Ive is an incredible talent and the company benefitted from his input for years. But he’s not the lathe of Apple.