Why Apple is Apple (again)

Posted On 05/02/2010

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Last week, in my first ever post, I praised Apple for doing such a good job on the Lisa’s interface that little has changed in almost three decades. Now, after seeing demos and reading impressions of the iPad, I see how backwards I got it, and how one person’s praise can be another’s condemnation.

I said, “Most impressive is how little has changed.” I meant that as praise, but some people at Apple, certainly guided by Steven P Jobs, saw that as a black mark. I can picture Mr. Jobs dominating a board room filled with Apple’s four-star Brass — Phil Schiller, Tim Cook, John Ive, Mark Papermaster, etc. — and telling them the same thing, but as a rebuke.

“Here we are, three decades after we defined the way fucking everybody uses a computer today, and what’s changed? Sure they’re faster and have better colour, memory, and connectivity. But that’s evolutionary. We’re not about evolutions, we’re about revolutions.

“Does anyone remember how we totally knocked their socks off with the Lisa and then the Macintosh? Does anybody want to feel that way again? If the answer is, ‘No,’ then get the fuck out now and don’t come back.”

Actually, I prefer to think t went more like this…

Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in between.

No matter. The point is that rather than taking pride in the fact that Apple’s user interface has remained largely unchanged, and seeing it as a product of good design, Apple decided to launch the next “Computer for the rest of us.” And, just like the people who were happy with the status quo in 1983 and 1984, there are those who see this as just another toy, and don’t understand that this Martin Luther nailing another nailing another set of theses on the cathedral door.