Apple announced the name of what we used to call Apple Campus 2.0—now it’s Apple Park. Bryan and Jeff chew on the name for a while, and discuss what we might expect when it opens in April. They also pore over Apple Watch 3 rumors and the news that a key supplier will stop making Apple Watch displays. And somehow they segue that into some new iPad and iPhone rumors.
Check out this recording of Steve Jobs’ NeXT keynote from 1992 (via Cult of Mac), where he introduced NeXTSTEP 3.0 (which eventually became OS X). Interesting tidbits from the spot include the 51 minute and 32 second mark, where he shows a feature that ended up being cut when Apple bought NeXT, distributed object inter-application and inter network communication. At 59 minutes and 53 seconds, Mr. Jobs shows off fast elliptical encryption built right into NeXT’s email system. That was also cut for the Mac. Then there was the bit about operating system-level the Renderman rending engine (nixed), and NeXTSTEP for Intel processors, which did eventually make it to the Mac. All these observations come courtesy of John Kheit, who used to work at NeXT. He called this one of Steve Jobs’s best keynotes and a must-watch for fans. I agree, though your mileage may vary. One way or another, it’s definitely good.
Tim Cook spoke to the students of the University of Glasgow this week. The hour long event included questions from faculty and students alike. Topics included President Trump’s travel bans on seven muslim-majority countries, the reach of the App Store, the environment, wealth inequality, education, balancing work and life, technology interacting with our bodies, Apple Watch, idealism, Steve Jobs’s influence over Apple today, styluses, and more. The video was posted by a student. The audio quality is poor, but the rules for the event precluded “dedicated recording equipment.” To that end, this video was recorded entirely on an iPhone 7 in the hands of a student 50-70 feet from Mr. Cook, and is stunningly good considering. In addition, note how quiet and respectful this audience of 800-plus students is.
Steve Jobs’s obsession over every aspect of a device being important is legendary. He famously (and infamously to some) demanded that the insides of a sealed machine—even the circuit boards—be just as aesthetically pleasing as the outside. Reuters has an interesting piece about Apple Campus 2.0, and how Apple’s current leadership is applying that same penchant for detail to this building. Pipe that you can’t see. Wires that you can’t see. That sort of thing. Some of you are instantly getting tense because you would rather Apple be spending that time and attention to, say, new Macs. Or iPads. Or AirPort devices. Or a 5K display worthy of a Mac. Or something other than new iPhones. I’m still just as tense as I have been about those things, but the reality is I’m glad Apple is being all obsessive about Apple Campus 2.0. This building is just as much Steve Jobs’s legacy as Apple itself. I imagine it’s important to his survivors at Apple that they treat this building as he would have treated it. I can’t help but think working in a living reminder of this aspect of Steve Jobs will help make future products that much better. One way or another, go read the Reuters piece. It’s really good.
1999 was a good time to be a Mac user. Apple was coming back, baby! And unlike today, the company was releasing new Macs, too. 1999 saw the PowerMac G3 and PowerMac G4, multicolored iMacs to replace the Bondi Blue iMac, and the PowerBook G3 (Lombard). Those were good times. It was also the year Apple ran a spot called HAL in the Super Bowl. Ken Segall, who was then the Apple account manager at TBWA/Chiat/Day, gave us the inside story on how HAL was born and the convoluted steps HAL took to land in the Super Bowl. Spoiler: it almost didn’t happen. Quick nuggets include the voice actor who recreated the HAL voice because the original voice actor was reportedly too precious to do commercials; the painstaking process of recreating HAL’s look and feel; and securing permission from Stanley Kubrick and MGM to use the characters and imagery (respectively). I love reading Ken Segall’s stories about working with Steve Jobs, and this is another good one. Definitely check it out. Below is the beginning of the Macworld Expo keynote where HAL actually debuted.
Former Apple engineer Bob Burrough has been arguing that CEO Tim Cook has made Apple boring. In a combination of tweet storm and an interview with CNBC stemming from said tweetstorm, the engineer said Mr. Cook has eliminated conflict within Apple, sapping its vitality in the process. Mr. Burrough argued that Steve Jobs ruled with ever-shifting chaos, where product triumphed over hierarchy. Under Tim Cook, he said, Apple is siloed, smooth, and essentially complacent. Former Apple wunderkind Tony Fadell coincidentally tweeted just last week that Steve Jobs did not manage through conflict, and others have taken issue with Mr. Burrough, too. The reality is that any one person’s perspective never tells the whole tale, but his opinions make for an interesting read. You can see the whole tweetstorm in this tweet and in the CNBC story.
— ᴮᵒᵇ ᴮᵘʳʳᵒᵘᵍʰ (@bob_burrough) January 16, 2017
You may have heard of the Mother of All Demos, especially if you’ve studied, or even read up on, computing history. But have you seen it? There is a video of this legendary event (via Reviewed.com), and I personally find it fascinating. Here’s why this is a thing. The demo was given by Doug Engelbart in 1968, when punch cards were how you interfaced with a computer. But in this demo, the world was shown (list via Wikipedia) windows, hypertext, graphics, efficient navigation and command input, video conferencing word processing, dynamic file linking, revision control, a collaborative real-time editor, and the computer mouse. The freaking computer mouse! None of these things existed outside the circle of people involved in the demo. It was huge. No, it was enormous. And many of the people in the demo went on to be involved in the Xerox PARC, which played a major role inspiring Jef Raskin and Steve Jobs for the Mac. The Mother of All Demos resonated through tech culture for decades, and it took decades to make most of that list above mainstream. If you like tech history, you should book some time to watch this. And if you do, think about the context of the times and be amazed. One last note, the typed story at the beginning explains how the movie itself was made.
On the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, Steven Levy posted an exclusive interview with Phil Schiller. Here are some of the key takeaways from the anniversary, including anecdotes from the original launch, thoughts on apps, and whether Phil could have known how popular Apple’s device would become.
Andy Grignon worked on many things during his tenure as an engineer at Apple: iChat AV, iSight, Dashboard … and the radios inside the very first iPhone. Andy took to Facebook last night to offer some reflections on that last bit, 10 years after iPhone’s announcement, and has posted them publicly for all to see. We’ve included the text here in our full article just in case you don’t have a Facebook account, but both his post and the comments over there are worth a read. Andy’s a colorful, honest, and reflective cat. Needless to say also quite smart. Enjoy!
Like the original 128K Mac, the iPad was conceived as a closed, simple appliance device needing little maintenance. But the original Mac evolved out of its childhood, flourished, and supplanted the Apple II. Today, the iPad is also being strangled by its early vision and limitations. To supplant the Mac, the iPad has to become not just its equal but dramatically better. John explains.
BusinessInsider did a roundup of Apple’s first ten employees: Gary Martin, Sherry Livingston, Chris Espinosa, Michael “Scotty” Scott, Randy Wigginton, Rod Holt, Bill Fernandez, Mike Markkula, Steve Jobs, and Steve Wozniak. That’s in reverse order of their employee number, with a bonus segment on cofounder Ron Wayne. The publication billed it as a “where are they now” piece, but there’s very little about where most of them are now. Really it’s more of a roundup with information about what they did while they were at Apple. I love history and lore, especially about Apple. And as much as I know about the company, there were a couple of tidbits that were new to me. Michael Scott, Apple’s first CEO, helped fill in some of the details for article, and there are photographs of everyone, as well as a bonus photo of some early Apple files (because [Apple]!).
It’s seldom convincing to pretend to know what Steve Jobs would have done in any situation were he alive today. We have general ideas, but invoking him as a cloak of authority is fraught with problems. On the other hand, when someone intimately familiar with Steve Jobs makes an astute observation, it’s worth a read. John Martellaro found one of those insights and highlights it.
Recently, a high profile executive, Yoky Matsuoka, left Apple for unknown reasons. Often, the temptation is to surmise that a departure of any given executive at Apple is a sign that Apple is losing interest in a particular technology. However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, certain high-powered people have to leave for personal reasons. Or perhaps they just didn’t realize what they got themselves into and decide that the Apple culture isn’t for them. John explores the various scenarios based on his experience.
Modern tribes are groups formed of one mind held together by their beliefs and easy, fast communication. They work to obtain a voice in the community and are often at war with each other or Apple over some technical topic. Apple tends to dismiss these tribes and focus on the customer, but tribes can have an influence too. Understanding Apple’s intentions and vision against the torch of the tribes is a tricky process. John explains.
Apple launched a new product on Tuesday, a coffee table book titled Designed by Apple in California. It will come in two sizes, 13″ at $199 and 16″ at $299, and both contain some 450 photographs of Apple products. I have very mixed feelings about this, but the short version is that Bryan Chaffin gets why Apple is making this book. Read on for more.