Now we’ll never know if Steve Jobs had a second idea.
I’m not going to link to any of the eighty-seven million stories — do your own research, nerds! — but my close, personal friend Steve Jobs just announced his resignation as CEO of Apple. He’ll be stepping down, effective immediately, and will become the Chairman of the Board. Tim Cook is the new CEO.
I’d make a Frank Sinatra joke here, but shut up.
I know Steve’s a visionary, and all that, and he really did help reshape the computing world, and aspects of the world at large. He understands that people who want to use computers are like people who drive cars; they don’t want to worry how the goddamn thing works, they just want to use it. Who goddamn cares what kind of transmission it is? I need to go to the store!
There are changes underway in the Apple ecosystem, many of which I’ve talked about recently, which I’ll be totally proven right about, but those are tweaks, rather than innovations. Making the Mac an iOS device isn’t innovation, it’s a course adjustment. Making iOS, and the iPad it was built for, that was the innovation. That was Steve’s innovation, and it was, by many accounts, the computer Steve’s always wanted to make.
Think about that for a moment: Steve spent something like 30 years building computers he didn’t want before he was able to make the one computer he wanted to: the iPad. Apple exists to make this computer, and when you think about it, that makes Steve a one-trick Pony. I mean, that makes Steve a phenomenally successful one-trick pony, and I’ve made jokes about him revolutionizing industries by accident — these jokes are actually true, so shut up — but he really only had the one idea.
People make fun of Google for being a one-trick pony because of their dependence on search, but Steve, in the long-view, was even more narrowly focused.
The shame of him stepping down, aside from his health concerns, is that we’ll never see if Steve had an idea to follow up the iPad with. The main idea seems to be to make all of their computers like it, but as I say above, that’s not innovation. That’s exploitation of another, tremendously successful idea.
I don’t say that to attack Steve. I’m deeply in love with him, and have sent him lists, on many occasions, explaining why he should have my babies. They were all good, convincing lists. I say that because I would’ve liked to see if he had a second idea.
Now we’ll never know.