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Sir Jony: I’ve Been Waiting to See Your NeXTStep

Apple loses $10 billion in value as iPhone's designer Jony Ive resigns

(Sir Jony Ive. Photo by Business Today)

We’ve all been waiting to see what world-class technology designer Sir Jony Ive’s next step would be. Now we know that his creative diet will no longer be Apple-centric.

Apple’s 52-year-old Chief Design Officer Sir Jony Ive will be stepping down to form a new design firm called LoveFrom with designer friend Marc Newson.

Fast Company published a synopsis of LoveFrom’s origin, which was originally from a Financial Times article that scored an exclusive interview with Sir Jony Ive.

“There was an employee meeting a number of years ago and Steve [Jobs] was talking . . . He [said] that one of the fundamental motivations was that when you make something with love and with care, even though you probably will never meet . . . the people that you’re making it for, and you’ll never shake their hand, by making something with care, you are expressing your gratitude to humanity, to the species.”

“I so identified with that motivation and was moved by his description. So my new company is called ‘LoveFrom’. It succinctly speaks to why I do what I do.”

His departure is a seismic shift.

Steve Jobs and Sir Jony Ive were to Apple from 1997 through 2011 what Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were to Apple from the mid-70s through the mid-80s.

And Apple’s stock certainly experienced a seismic change yesterday, according to Business Insider.

Upon news of Ive’s departure, Apple’s stock dropped about .087% in after-hours trading, as of the time of writing— which doesn’t sound like a lot, but at Apple’s scale, meant that it shaved off about $8 billion of its market cap. If the loss holds by the time of the opening bell on Friday, Apple will be worth about $910 billion. 

Aside from the late Steve Jobs, the second most important person at Apple — from contributing to the design and creation of the iMac in 1998 to a wide range of consumer products as well as Apple Park in the present day — has been Chief Design Officer Sir Jony Ive. His team’s breakthroughs involving the iPod, iPhone, and Apple Watch, for instance, have defined Apple as a global leader in consumer tech with sleek, cool design and ease of functionality. During major product reveals, Sir Ive’s voice can be heard describing the inner workings and minute details of Apple’s most popular products.

What does this mean for the iconic Apple products designer and his former company? 

Pressure. Lots of pressure.

While Apple will be one of the clients at Sir Ive’s LoveFrom design firm, the creative team in Cupertino, CA under the overall guidance of CEO Tim Cook will have to figure out a new signature design that will surprise consumers — current and potential alike — with the same awe as the revolutionary iMac in 1998 with its non-beige or black, fun translucent frame. We need to see something(s) we’ve never seen before. Apple needs to make a common smartphone (plus iPod, iPad, etc.) look and feel brand new.

Apple needs to deliver an exciting, game-changing aesthetic.

Perhaps it’s fitting that we’ll likely be given our first glimpse into Apple’s future vision sometime in 2020. With no Woz, Jobs or Ive, Apple is in unchartered design and storytelling waters. We’re going to find out just how water-tight Apple’s products (and design ingenuity) are without three of its most influential giants.

It won’t be the first time Apple has been pressured to imagine and deliver a society-altering NeXT step.

Taking the NeXT Step Starts With Saying ‘Hello’ in a New, Reassuring Way

Since his death on October 5, 2011, Steve Jobs has remained a beloved figure in Silicon Valley and comparable tech and innovation hubs around the world. His story — professional and personal — left a John Hancock-sized signature on the modern world’s ever-changing realization of the American Dream.

The technological legacy of Mr. Jobs, if required to be simplified in an industry defined by complication, was his gift for welcoming people into his vision of us connected and empowered through our own individualism. And his vision was first a revolutionary kind of personal computer (Macintosh), which evolved into a revolutionary personal music player (iPod) to a revolutionary phone (iPhone) and so on. Mr. Jobs knew that in order for people to buy into his vision — literally and figuratively — he would need his technological innovations to say something this evolving tech had never said before — literally and figuratively:

Hello.

The following video clip is from the beginning of the critically-acclaimed film ‘Steve Jobs’ directed by Oscar-winner Danny Boyle and starring Michael Fassbender and Oscar-winner Kate Winslet that recreates the morning-of struggle to fix a malfunctioning Macintosh computer before its big reveal to the world in 1984. The source material for this 2015 movie was based on the critically-acclaimed and biographical book Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.

(FYI – There is one f-word spoken in the following video clip)

Now watch the real-life Macintosh reveal by the real Steve Jobs from 1984.

Why write a blog post about this Steve Jobs presentation from 35 years ago?

As Silicon Valley giants (cough cough Facebook) continue to face increasingly serious questions about its “supposed” commitment to privacy concerning user data, which most of us access through Apple product(s), it’s important to remember — for all of us — why we were so excited to welcome groundbreaking personal technology into our homes and lives more than three decades ago. These devices have transformed us for better and for worse to varying degrees. Jimmy’s Daily Planet has covered this subject matter and specifically how Apple CEO Tim Cook has targeted privacy and transparency as a cornerstone of his tenure leading the company. Mr. Cook’s privacy priority is admirable in this day and age for such a major, transformative player to take a reassuring stand in an industry with social media companies that are actively being confronted with user data issues.

How can tech giants return to the days of the mid-1980s shown above that were filled with optimism about the future by plugging into personal technology?

Like when Steve Jobs’ NeXT company failed spectacularly after getting fired by Apple’s board in 1985 in part because of the original Macintosh computer’s failure in the market, tech giants will likely stumble for a few years before righting the ship. But let’s remember that Steve Jobs ultimately rebounded for a comeback of a lifetime that came (after) NeXT. Mark Zuckerberg is not Steve Jobs, but he better take inspiration from him quickly to find a resolution in the same vein as Mr. Jobs with the same success and consumer support. The hope is the solution to the aforementioned problem will arrive sooner rather than later, but we’ll just have to wait and see on this critical societal concern.

For now, the public should be looking at personal technology and its apps with the excitable possibilities of Apple’s “hello” circa 1984 instead of a particular social media giant causing public concern with “goodbye personal privacy and security?” circa, well, today.

P.S. Facebook launching a cryptocurrency called Libra? Try addressing user privacy concerns first. 

Limit Our Daily Apple Intake? Cook Says Yes

Privacy and transparency are odd bedfellows, to say the least. And yet, Apple CEO Tim Cook is attempting to promote this seemingly contradictory amalgamation in the modern tech space while being surrounded by Silicon Valley firms — like Facebook — that are under increasing scrutiny for its lack of privacy and transparency. Throw in user security as a major issue that needs dealing with and a clear resolution that’s a consequence borne out of the lack of widespread privacy and transparency.

The future of technology is entering an interesting intersection with the public in which the real debate regarding within the consumer market is whether these influential tech firms will take the opportunity to look in the mirror and self-regulate for its consumers or if the government (local, state and/or federal) will eventually be required to legislate decisive, impactful action in this powerful industry?

Right now, the public is angry at the lack of privacy that has always been hearsay around our peripheral. But thanks to recent testimony and reporting, disconcerting evidence of violations to our privacy could be reaching a breaking point. Perhaps the numbers of consumers who boycott and/or disconnect from particular digital platforms won’t bankrupt these companies. However, a substantial number of customer departures could, ironically, be enough to significantly disrupt the disruptors of the 21st-century.

Even though Mr. Cook surprisingly advocates for less screen time — if that is a concern for an individual user of an iPhone or related Apple product (of which I agree) — I will surprisingly ask that you set aside thirteen minutes and forty-five seconds of screen time for a recent interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook conducted by Norah O’Donnell, who will be the new anchor of “CBS Evening News.”

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Tim Cook is the best traditional CEO you can get for the ever-expanding tech industry in the Wild West of Silicon Valley in the 21st century because of his thoughtful leadership and inclination to communicate and debate tough issues with some frequency as well as his outspoken thoughts involving transparency and privacy.

Mr. Cook appears to be doing the right things (sans the critically important Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak-level of innovative prowess and imagination) for managing the financial and moral expectations of a firm with a net worth that has been hovering around an estimated $1 trillion.

Tim Cook will never be Steve Jobs as the leader of Apple and that’s ok. The former simply thinks different than the latter.

Now Mr. Cook still has a few big-picture problems that he and his team at Apple need to find solutions to in the near future. One of these problems is an imaginative innovative breakthrough (as noted above), but that’s a discussion for another day.

Regarding user privacy, Mr. Cook and his genius bar in Cupertino would benefit greatly from developing an update for all of its products that are easy to understand and use. And also like its products, this next-level solution to privacy by Apple should be presented in the way the iPod was dramatically brought out of the pocket by the late Mr. Jobs.

The penchant for performing with Hollywood-caliber drama regarding product reveals is unique to Apple — in the architecturally simplistic yet spiritually imposing Steve Jobs Theater no less — and in a time when customers are wary of tech’s expansive reach, a transparent presentation that’s singular in its purpose (privacy) would add an assurance to Apple users while putting the necessary pressure on its competitors and contemporaries in the tech industry to find a similar solution for their companies before government installs its own world wide web of regulations that would assuredly bring a couple of positive changes whilst usher in 98 terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things.

Building more trust, no matter the application will always be insanely great.

Tim Cook’s A(pple)+

It was fitting for Apple, Inc.’s brass to present its “+” services in the Steve Jobs Theater in northern California. That “one more thing” addition at the end of those now iconic Steve Jobs presentations from yesteryear is thankfully ingrained in the cultural and innovative DNA of Apple. And after recent years of veritable coasting regarding the popular yet technologically and stylistically static iPhone, iPad and the like, Tim Cook’s Apple needed to make an imaginative splash that would generate new curiosity and excitement.

The details from Apple’s big event yesterday are limited. However, the potential of the new services and the industry leaders creating with the innovative tech giant is enough of a headline and opening statement to quench our thirst for now. Here are the highlights of Apple’s big day.

Apple gets an A+ for recruiting top talent to join its streaming video service via future TV and film offerings. Above all, Steven Spielberg’s partnership with Apple is truly special.

Speaking of Mr. Spielberg, it should be noted that some people are criticizing the famed director because of his recent stand against Netflix films being nominated for Academy Awards without a long theatrical release are misguided in their criticism.

By the way, Mr. Spielberg is 100% correct in his view.

During his presentation yesterday, the Academy award winner did not advocate for films on Apple’s new streaming service to be eligible for Academy Awards. He did not mention anything of the sort. All he discussed is the exciting potential for creating new stories on its expanded video streaming platform, which is in concert with his recent comments that great TV shows and movies are being made today on many different platforms.

Just needed to offer a quick and necessary defense of Steven Spielberg because of the fact that details matter. And the details concerning all of the new Apple + services will ultimately determine the future success of Tim Cook’s Apple in a variety of areas during the next five to 10 years.

What Apple did yesterday at its March 2019 event was prove it can still surprise with excitement.

And we can take that to the bank like never before.