An Oral History of Apple’s Infinite Loop →

September 17, 2018 · 14:52

Steven Levy published a whole trove of anecdotes from Apple’s execs, including Steve Jobs, on Wired:

Espinosa: When Steve returned, I drove down to the local Flag and Banner store, bought a pirate flag, stuck an Apple sticker on it and cable-tied it to the bridge across the atrium. It was there for about four hours before security took it down.

I’m halfway through. They’re a must-read.


John Carmack Talks About His Interactions With Steve Jobs →

May 19, 2018 · 11:04

John Carmack, in a post on Facebook:

I was brought in to talk about the needs of games in general, but I made it my mission to get Apple to adopt OpenGL as their 3D graphics API. I had a lot of arguments with Steve.

Part of his method, at least with me, was to deride contemporary options and dare me to tell him differently. They might be pragmatic, but couldn’t actually be good. “I have Pixar. We will make something [an API] that is actually good.”

It was often frustrating, because he could talk, with complete confidence, about things he was just plain wrong about, like the price of memory for video cards and the amount of system bandwidth exploitable by the AltiVec extensions.

But when I knew what I was talking about, I would stand my ground against anyone.

When Steve did make up his mind, he was decisive about it. Dictates were made, companies were acquired, keynotes were scheduled, and the reality distortion field kicked in, making everything else that was previously considered into obviously terrible ideas.

His post reinforces what we know about Steve Jobs, while underlining their own relationship — it’s well worth reading.


Bethany Bongiorno Talks About the the First iPad →

February 4, 2018 · 12:08

In a series of eight tweets, Bethany shared some interesting behind the scenes tidbits about the first iPad launch and other events surrounding it. One stood out to me:

(4) at one point steve wanted to turn UIKit elements orange. not just any orange, he wanted a particular orange from the button on a certain old sony remote. we got a bunch of remotes from sony with orange buttons to try and find the right one. in the end, steve hated it.

This sounds just like Steve Jobs — working to get every small detail perfect, but recognising a bad idea when he saw the final implementation.


Steve Jobs’ 2000 BMW Z8 →

October 30, 2017 · 16:50

RM Sotheby’s are auctioning off a BMW Z8, whose original owner was Steve Jobs:

While not known to be a car enthusiast per se, Steve Jobs did have a penchant for German automobiles and design, owning BMW motorcycles, as well as Mercedes-Benz SLs. According to legend, Jobs was convinced to buy the Z8 by Larry Ellison the iconoclastic CEO of Oracle, who enthused to Jobs that the car was a paragon of modern automotive engineering and ergonomics, reflective of Steve’s own products and psyche […]

This is a tidbit I have never yet heard of. In my mind, the Z8 should indeed appeal more to Steve’s tastes than an SL.

Jobs’ Z8 was well suited to his signature, minimalist style, finished in Titanium over a Black leather interior. With a production date of April 1, 2000, this early example was delivered to him on October 6th of that year. Within the recorded production of Z8s, this makes his car the 85th Z8 produced for the first year of U.S.-specification production and the 67th customer car. Jobs’ ownership is documented through several service invoices accompanying the car, as well as a copy of the all-important California “pink slip” registration in his name and at his personal residence. This is significant because Jobs famously rarely registered his cars to protect his anonymity (and also perhaps because of his anti-authoritarian streak!).

The car comes with a plethora of important accessories, including its proper hardtop and hardtop stand, car cover, owner’s and service manuals, service records, two keys, navigation CDs, and – most significantly, its original BMW-branded Motorola flip-phone. Interestingly enough, and perhaps unsurprisingly, Jobs was known to have hated the Motorola phone…

I don’t like the fact that they created that license plate for the car… but it is a beauty. BMW could probably sell that car today (they should perhaps just update the infotainment system and include larger rims) and it wouldn’t look out-of-place. It’s a beautiful machine and despite its age, the cheapest used example I could find is still north of 150 thousand euros.


The Steve Jobs Email That Outlined Apple’s Strategy a Year Before His Death →

November 4, 2016 · 14:47

Zachary M. Seward:

In 2010, a year before his death, Steve Jobs outlined Apple’s strategy in an email to the company’s 100 most senior employees. He heralded the “Post PC era,” vowed “Holy War with Google,” promised to “further lock customers into our ecosystem,” and warned that Apple was “in danger of hanging on to old paradigm too long.”

The email was an agenda for Apple’s annual “top 100” meeting later that year. It was released this week as part of Apple’s lawsuit against Samsung over smartphone patents. Here is the entire email…


Walt Mossberg Talks About the Night Steve Jobs Called Him About Apple TV →

September 1, 2016 · 08:18

Peter Kafka:

Jobs himself publicly downplayed Apple’s public TV efforts as a “hobby”; in 2010, Jobs told Mossberg and Kara Swisher that Apple couldn’t really get into TV because there was no “viable go-to-market strategy.” The same year, he reportedly said the same thing internally, adding that “TV is a terrible business. They don’t turn over and the margins suck.”

But in 2011, Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson famously wrote that Jobs was working on TVs late in his life, and that he thought he had “cracked it.”

I’ve worked with Walt Mossberg for many years, but I’d never heard him talk about his TV conversation with Jobs before. Then last week, Mossberg wrote a Facebook post referring to a “secret project [Jobs] planned to continue to run” after he left his CEO job.

I called him this week to get the full story. Here it is…


The Jolly Roger Flying Over Campus On Apple’s 40th Anniversary →

April 1, 2016 · 10:29

Apple Computer was founded on April 1, 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. They flew the Jolly Roger for the first time in 1983 — Andy Hertzfeld tells the story in detail:

Finally, on Sunday night around 10pm, it was time to hoist the Jolly Roger. Capps climbed onto the roof while we stood guard below. He wasn’t sure how he would attach the flag, and didn’t have many tools with him. He scoured the surface of the roof and found three or four long, rusty nails, which he was able to use to secure the flag pole to a groove in the roof, ready to greet the Mac team members as they entered the new building the next morning.

We weren’t sure how everyone would react to the flag, especially Steve Jobs, but Steve and almost everyone else loved it, so it became a permanent fixture of the building. It usually made me smile when I caught a glimpse of it as I came to work in the morning.

Today, on Apple’s 40th anniversary, the Jolly Roger is flying over the Cupertino campus. Epic.


Nilay Patel Bought His Mom a Chromebook Pixel →

February 2, 2016 · 21:31

Nilay Patel:

We were off to the races. It’s a month later and she loves the thing. It’s not fighting her, or asking her to learn anything new, or foisting complicated new products on her. There are no apps to update, and no new versions of the OS to install every year. It’s just Chrome, doing its thing. And because it’s still a thousand-dollar laptop, it’s incredibly fast. (Apparently the secret to making Chrome run really well is to totally dedicate a 2.2GHz Core i5 and 8GB of RAM to it.)

I’ve used a Pixel for a few weeks and even reviewed it — it truly is an amazing little computer, certainly much better in its second iteration. What I don’t still quite understand is why it requires a Core i5 and 8 GB of RAM to run as well as it does. It shouldn’t need it.

When we talk about laptops still being popular and important, we tend to talk about things like the precision of the mouse and the power and flexibility of a desktop operating system. We talk about all the things they can do better than a phone or a tablet. We talk about more. But it’s worth talking about the power of technology that strives to do less — much less. The thousand dollars I spent on a Pixel didn’t buy my mom crazy extensibility, or the ability to run powerful apps like Photoshop or Excel. It didn’t even buy her that much storage. But it did buy her a beautiful, well-designed product. And most importantly, it bought her focus, and the ability to spend her time using her computer instead of trying to learn how to use it.

That’s a lesson I think Steve Jobs would have liked very much.

I believe that Steve understood the concept quite well — please don’t take this as putting words in his mouth; that’s not my intent. I am referring to a product you can actually buy, which most certainly ticks the ‘focus’ box. It’s called the iPad. While probably not best suited for Nilay’s mom, you can’t beat the focus a single window into the internet gives you. That’s probably why I get so much done on my iPad Pro, with or without an external keyboard.


Alex Gollner Talks to Randy Ubillos About Final Cut X, Steve Jobs Mentioned →

December 17, 2015 · 11:00

Alex Gollner:

My idea was that Final Cut 7 should stay exactly as it was for about a year, and every time you bought a copy of X you got a copy of 7. They didn’t want to hear it. I knew 16 months before the launch that I was going to have a bunch of arrows in my back. I was going to be blamed for this big transition. It’s the Apple way of doing things: ‘Feet first, jump in!’

The very last conversation I had with Steve Jobs was right after the launch of Final Cut Pro X. I was getting ready to get on a plane to go to London to record the second set of movie trailers – we’d hired the London Symphony Orchestra [to perform the music that was going to be bundled with the next version of iMovie] – and Steve caught me at home: “What the heck is going on with this Final Cut X thing?” I said “We knew this was coming, we knew that people were going to freak out when we changed everything out from under them. We could have done this better. We should have. Final Cut 7 should be back on the market. We should have an FAQ that lists what this is all about.” He said “Yeah, let’s get out and fund this thing, let’s make sure we get on top of this thing, move quickly with releases…” and he finished by asking: “Do you believe in this?” I said “Yes.” He said “then I do too.”


Apple’s Secrets Revealed →

December 9, 2015 · 08:13

Yoni Heisler:

One of the more interesting aspects of Apple’s legal battle with Samsung is that it gave us an unprecedented look behind the veil of secrecy that typically shrouds all aspects of Apple’s product development and day-to-day operations. Over the course of discovery, innumerable court filings, and a fascinating trial, the inner workings of Apple were brought to the forefront for the first time in history. From photographs of iPhone prototypes to how Apple conducts market research, Apple’s legal battles with Samsung provided tech enthusiasts with a treasure trove of previously top-secret information.

I found the details of how the iPhone came to be most fascinating. The early iPhone prototype pictures can be quite shocking too.


Nick Bilton About ‘Steve Jobs’ →

December 3, 2015 · 20:39

Nick Bilton:

Here’s the thing: They didn’t know Steve Jobs. None of us did. I don’t care if you had a sleepover party at his house once a week while you watched rom-coms and did each other’s nails. Or if he granted you a 15-second interview after one of his product introductions. The reality is, Steve Jobs was trying to sell things, and he was an absolute master at using the media to do that.


The Immature Steve Jobs →

October 21, 2015 · 20:59

Walt Mossberg, in his column on the The Verge, comments on the new Steve Jobs movie:

At the very end of the lengthy credits for Steve Jobs, there’s a statement in tiny type saying that the film includes material that is fictionalized and events that are invented. A gutsier movie would have put that disclaimer in big type, right at the beginning.

I haven’t seen the movie yet and, until now, avoided any information pertaining to the film. After inadvertently reading Walt’s words, I don’t I think want to any longer — why would I want to taint my knowledge of Steve with fiction instead of fact?