This is not the Apple Inc. of the late Steve Jobs.
This blog post’s opening sentence is aimed directly at the surprising disclosure of development plans concerning evolving technology discussed in the recent interview above for the part-tech and part-lifestyle brand that is Apple. You’re likely recalling those iconic slideshow presentations when Steve Jobs was speaking/performing in front a packed auditorium in northern California’s Silicon Valley when he would suddenly reach into his pocket and reveal everyone’s favorite new gadget.
We all miss that suspense from the master of tech ceremonies.
But, as has been pointed out on Jimmy’s Daily Planet many, many times, Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs. For better or worse, that’s a fact. However, for a CEO not categorized as something damn near demiurge for 21st century technology consumer products, Tim Cook has proven to be among the best business leaders in the world. That’s also a fact.
There’s no risk with Tim Cook. Whether that’s been good or bad for Apple is for another blog post.
Returning to the video clip above of the interview with Bloomberg’s Emily Chang (a Silicon Valley favorite), a couple things were subtly revealed that should leave us wanting more. First, Mr. Cook appears to be feeling a bit of pressure (from investors, critics, reporters, their consumers, etc.) because why else admit a project that’s still “in the shop”? Or maybe automotive AI is only intended to serve as the obvious appretizer to something much grander and mind-blowing that shall remain hidden until suspense reaches its peak, as is the past tradition of Apple? Secondly, is automotive AI the best design path forward for empowering Apple consumers in the future?
Not to mention the implications and dangers of increasingly intelligent and widespread AI, as boldly illustrated in virtually any science-fiction book, movie or TV show ever made (cough cough Westworld).
Today, I will leave more questions than answers. Why?
Because perhaps Apple should be asking more questions as our society continues to undergo a massive (and equally uncertain, to put it lightly) digital transfer of power, of which it has played no small part. For a company made a global sensation for literally putting a surreal amount of high-quality information, entertainment and power into our hands, it seems abnormal to shift that same awesome power away from those very same hands.
Automotive AI may or may not be an automatic sell to Apple’s global consumer base. That remains the variable.
The constant is that consumers around the world will ultimately determine whether this evolving technology will find success on the right side of the road.
In the case of Uber, their app is proving to be just the appetizer to their much larger financial feast.
And it’s been recently revealed that one of their servers is not happy.
The business landscape in the United States, and around the world, continues to flatten and be driven by seemingly boundless innovation within marketplaces both new and established. Whether you are pro or anti-taxi (or neutral), there’s no doubt that the car driving service Uber is providing competition to those famous yellow cars and vans. Having used Uber on many occasions with friends, I have no complaints as a rider. The immediacy, timeliness and incentive to impress is certainly a valuable change of pace from having to wait for a taxi that may or may not show up when needed.
However, as is the case with any business, the front room flash and dash rarely tells the whole story of its backroom operations.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, to his credit, is flexing his muscles for a necessary and positive stand regarding proper business practices in the ever-evolving and mysterious tech space. While Tim Cook will never achieve the fandom or dedicated following as the late Steve Jobs (can anyone?), Mr. Cook has, in recent years, proven to be an impressive CEO in the grounded, traditional sense. His repeated stands for customer privacy rights is painting a rare picture of a tech giant who is genuinely attempting to grow and innovate within the technology industry while striving to prioritize essential protections for his consumers.
The abbreviated expression is, “an apple a day…” Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Kalanick was likely reminded of just how many people use an Apple each day.
The 2015 Steve Jobs movie, featuring Michael Fassbender (who actually didn’t look like the title character) is the latest cinematic treatment of the Apple co-founder who changed the way we perceive and anticipate technology.
In fact, this movie is almost ready to earn a permanent spot on our movie shelf (February 16th, to be exact).
After watching the past few movies about Mr. Jobs, the preeminent film still hasn’t arrived and, quite possibly, may never arrive at a theater near you. Fully capturing this tech icon’s life and career into a script as innovative and compelling as his products has proven an allusive task.
But what about a song?
The Maccabees did not write “Grew Up at Midnight” for Steve Jobs, but composer Daniel Pemberton (2015’s Steve Jobs movie) recognized how this song with a smashing crescendo paints the scene of a grand legacy coming into focus. And it was all sparked from an imaginatively ambitious youth.
The song was a perfect fit for the film.
This song is also a perfect fit for those who recognize the value in biting into an apple at midnight.
Have an Insanely Great Week!
We don’t know what the story is, we don’t know when the movie will be released and we don’t know who will star, but fans of Christopher Nolan are excited.
Cinematographer Will McCrabb started this buzz-worthy news on his Twitter account, citing that the famed-director has completed a “comprehensive draft” for his next movie. There are no other details. Why does this matter? Aside from the joy this brings to Nolan’s dedicated fan base, it highlights the uniquely relentless attraction to all things involving the practicality-rooted, epically staged director. There are dozens of talented movie directors and celebrities in Hollywood, but the man who directed The Dark Knight trilogy and the mind-benders Memento, Inception and Interstellar has achieved what Apple has earned in the technology sector.
A rumor of simply starting something new (a movie or phone) is equivalent to interest gained from an extensive, tightly-orchestrated marketing campaign.
Reaching this point wasn’t easy or quick, but paving this reserved express lane in the bustling, chaotic age of information is a remarkable accomplishment. While endless speculation will follow about what story Nolan’s next project will focus on (stay tuned here), an intriguing tangent to briefly venture off into is how Christopher Nolan and Apple reached this level of fandom and mystery.
In their own way, Nolan and Apple make high-quality, original products with substantial investments that take their consumers seriously. In short, they reward their followers and, in return, their followers reward them. A lasting relationship is built. And this type of bond is transferable in any industry. Once this relationship develops, the benefits are wonderfully powerful.
Apple’s story was and is driven by the personality and mysterious genius of its co-founder Steve Jobs. Christopher Nolan and his cinematic family (wife Emma Thomas and brother Jonathan) write, produce and visually project their genius on the silver screen. At the heart of all this is imaginative storytelling. They present things in ways that make us want to voluntarily escape into their worlds and explore their visions. We immerse ourselves and become part of their story and reality.
Sorry MasterCard, but that’s priceless marketing.