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Defining the decade: ten years of Apple on one page
"Apple had to graduate through the passing of its founder, juggle relationships with an ever-expanding list of consumer and professional market segments, and adapt to the public attention and scrunity that only comes along as a consequence of being the biggest company in the world."
apple  ipad  iphone  macos  ios  retrospective  mac  macbook  macbookair  macpro  stevejobs  applewatch 
19 days ago by djwudi
The empty promises of Marie Kondo and the craze for minimalism | Life and style | The Guardian
“From the ‘KonMari method’ to Apple’s barely-there design philosophy, we are forever being urged to declutter and simplify our lives. But does minimalism really make us any happier? By Kyle Chayka”



“The most famous proponent of minimalism – or at least minimalism as a lifehack – was probably Steve Jobs. In a famous photograph from 1982, Jobs sits on the floor of his living room. He was in his late 20s at the time, and Apple was making $1bn a year. He had just bought a large house in Los Gatos, California, but he kept it totally empty. In Diana Walker’s photo, he is seen cross-legged on a single square of carpet, holding a mug, wearing a simple dark sweater and jeans – his prototypical uniform. A tall lamp by his side casts a perfect circle of light. “This was a very typical time,” Jobs later remembered. “All you needed was a cup of tea, a light and your stereo, you know, and that’s what I had.” Not for him, the usual displays of wealth or status. In the photo he looks content.

Yet the image of simplicity is deceptive. The house Jobs bought was huge for a young, single man with no use for that excess space. Wired magazine later discovered that the stereo setup resting in the corner would have cost $8,200. The lone lamp that illuminates the scene was made by Tiffany. It was a valuable antique, not a utilitarian tool.

Not only is simplicity often less simple than it looks, it can also be much less practical than it seems. People often conflate the phrase “form follows function” – the idea that the external appearance of an object or building should reflect the way that it works – with the self-conscious appearance of minimalism, as in Jobs’s house or the design of Apple’s iPhone. But Jobs’s empty living room was not particularly usable. Instead of the mantra that “form follows function”, Jobs echoes a slogan that could be glimpsed not long ago in one upscale New York shop front: “Fewer, better.” Possess the best things and only the best things, if only you can afford them. It was better to go without a couch than buy one that wasn’t perfect. That commitment to taste might be rarified, but it probably did not endear Jobs to his family, who might have preferred a place to sit.

Apple devices have gradually simplified in appearance over time under designer Jony Ive, who joined the company in 1992, which is why they are so synonymous with minimalism. By 2002, the Apple desktop computer had evolved into a thin, flat screen mounted on an arm connected to a rounded base. Then, into the 2010s, the screen flattened even more and the base vanished until all that was left were two intersecting lines, one with a right angle for the base and another, straight, for the screen. It sometimes seems, as our machines become infinitely thinner and wider, that we will eventually control them by thought alone, because touch would be too dirty, too analogue.

Does this all really constitute simplicity? Apple devices have only a few visual qualities. But it is also an illusion of efficiency. The company strives to make its phones thinner and removes ports – see headphone jacks – any chance it gets. The iPhone’s function depends on an enormous, complex, ugly superstructure of satellites and undersea cables that certainly are not designed in pristine whiteness. Minimalist design encourages us to forget everything a product relies on and imagine, in this case, that the internet consists of carefully shaped glass and steel alone.

The contrast between simple form and complex consequences brings to mind what the British writer Daisy Hildyard called “the second body” in her 2017 book of the same name. The phrase describes the alienated presence that we feel when we are aware of both our individual physical bodies and our collective causation of environmental damage and climate change. While we calmly walk down the street, watch a film or go food shopping, we are also the source of pollution drifting across the Pacific or a tsunami in Indonesia. The second body is the source of an unplaceable anxiety: the problems are undeniably our fault, even though it feels as if we cannot do anything about them because of the sheer difference in scale.

Similarly, we might be able to hold the iPhone in our hands, but we should also be aware that the network of its consequences is vast: server farms absorbing massive amounts of electricity, Chinese factories where workers die by suicide, devastated mud pit mines that produce tin. It is easy to feel like a minimalist when you can order food, summon a car or rent a room using a single brick of steel and silicon. But in reality, it is the opposite. We are taking advantage of a maximalist assemblage. Just because something looks simple does not mean it is; the aesthetics of simplicity cloak artifice, or even unsustainable excess.

This slickness is part of minimalism’s marketing pitch. According to one survey in a magazine called Minimalissimo, you can now buy minimalist coffee tables, water carafes, headphones, sneakers, wristwatches, speakers, scissors and bookends, each in the same monochromatic, severe style familiar from Instagram, and often with pricetags in the hundreds, if not thousands. What they all seem to offer is a kind of mythical just-rightness, the promise that if you just consume this one perfect thing, then you won’t need to buy anything else in the future – at least until the old thing is upgraded and some new level of possible perfection is found.”
kyleshayka  minimalism  2020  life  living  materialism  consumerism  maximalism  climatechange  environment  infrastructure  apple  mariekondo  stevejobs  cleanliness  clutter  happiness  konmarimethod  austerity  freedom  distraction  attention  economics  joshuabecker  courneycarver  2008  2011  capitalism  therapy  simplicity  society  civilization  excess  comodification  possessions  stuff  haording  joshuafieldsmillburn  ryannicodemus  2010  2017  ownership  mobility  lifestyle  marketing  perfection  disposability  design  jonyive  form  function  formfollowsfunction  efficiency  daisyhildyard  shopping  instagram  aesthetics  asceticism 
23 days ago by robertogreco
Bob Baxley on design reviews at Apple and why it was never smart to surprise Steve Jobs | Inside Design Blog
if anybody ever brings in anything that surprises me, something’s wrong in the process.
stevejobs  jobs  quotes 
4 weeks ago by garcon
Ashton Kutcher in a Biopic About Steve Jobs - The New York Times
A film review on Friday about “Jobs,” a biography of Steve Jobs that the review said has “all the sex appeal of a PowerPoint presentation,” referred imprecisely to PowerPoint. It was created by Forethought as Presenter and later renamed PowerPoint, and was acquired by Microsoft in 1987. It was not originally developed by Microsoft.
stevejobs  apple  film  review  powerpoint  sexappeal  microsoft 
7 weeks ago by kme
Steve Jobs on "Think Different" Internal Meeting
"To me, marketing is about values. This is a very complicated world; it's a very noisy world. And we're not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. And so we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us."

"The way to [bring the brand back] is not to talk about speeds and feats.
It's not to talk about MIPS and Megahertz. It's not to talk about why we're better than Windows."

"Got Milk? doesn't even talk about the product! In a matter of fact it focuses on the absence of the product."

"But the best example of all, and one of the greatest jobs of marketing that the universe has ever seen is Nike. Remember: Nike sells a commodity. They sell shoes! And yet when you think of Nike, you feel something within a shoe company. In their ads, as you know, they don't ever talk about the products. They don't ever tell you about their air soles and why they're better than Reebok's air soles.

What does Nike do in their advertising?

They honor great athletes and they honor great athletics.

That's who they are. That's what they are about."

"The question we asked was 'Our customers want to know who is Apple and what is it that we stand for? Where do we fit in this world?

And what we're about isn't making boxes for people to get their jobs done, although we do that well; we do that better than almost anybody in some cases.

But Apple's about something more than that. Apple at the core - it's core value, is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better. And we've had the opportunity to work with people like that. We've had an opportunity to work with people like you - with software developers, with customers, who have done it. In some big, and some small ways. And we believe that in this world, people can change it for the better. And that those people that are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that actually do.

And so, what we're going to do in our first brand/marketing campaign in several years is to get back to that core value.

A lot of things have changed: the market's a totally different place than it was a decade ago. And Apple's totally different, and Apple's place in it is totally different, and believe me, the products and the distribution strategy and the manufacturing are totally different and we understand that.

But values, and core values: those things shouldn't change. The things that Apple believed in, at it's core, are the same things that Apple really stands for today."
Culture  Corporate  Advertising  Marketing  Branding  Apple  SteveJobs  Values  Belief  Vision  Direction  Why 
9 weeks ago by JB4GDI
Playboy Interview: Steve Jobs
Playboy: Does it take insane people to make insanely great things?

Jobs: Actually, making an insanely great product has a lot to do with the process of making the product, how you learn things and adopt new ideas and throw out old ideas. But, yeah, the people who made Mac are sort of on the edge.

Playboy: What’s the difference between the people who have insanely great ideas and the people who pull off those insanely great ideas?

Jobs: Let me compare it with IBM. How come the Mac group produced Mac and the people at IBM produced the PCjr? We think the Mac will sell zillions, but we didn’t build Mac for anybody else. We built it for ourselves. We were the group of people who were going to judge whether it was great or not. We weren’t going to go out and do market research. We just wanted to build the best thing we could build. When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.
stevejobs  apple  history  1985  Interviews 
october 2019 by ianchanning

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