This Old Steve Jobs Interview Is Helping Fuel Criticism Against Apple’s Latest Decisions

There’s always a lot of talk about what Steve Jobs would think of the current state of Apple. What would he say about the AirPods or the throne of dongles that Tim Cook seems to sit upon with the current slate of Apple products. With the announcement of the new MacBook and it’s enourmous price tag, many were split on what to expect or how to feel. Some were treating it like some would treat the iPhone releases, giddy to try out the new stuff and get their hands on it. But others saw something that seemed to fall to the wayside.

Owen Williams wrote a good take on the new MacBook release and also posted the video above to Twitter, pointing to what seems to be Apple’s problem: They don’t know who the new computer is for.

It’s strange — there’s nothing actually wrong with what Apple announced: USB-C on the Mac is great, a thinner, more powerful machine is intriguing and, while it’s too early to say, the Touch Bar could possibly be a gimmick, but it could be useful for helping people discover what shortcuts exist as they use the computer.

The thing is, I can’t figure out who this is for other than those who are on really old machines. Myself, and everyone else, seems to be wondering what, exactly, is the selling point of this upgrade.

Touch Bar is a great example of this. First, it feels like an excuse to not just add touch to the Mac in the first place. While Microsoft is busy letting you touch the entire display, Apple’s making you look down at your keyboard to interact instead — bizarre.

But the “Pro” in Apple’s devices isn’t even accurate anymore. It used to be the best notebook on the market for creatives, developers and people with big requirements.
One look at this slide shows Apple has no idea exactly where its demographic lies

The entire piece over on Medium is worth your time if you’re interested in the Apple comings and goings, but the crux is that Apple delivered a product that puts vanity over function. And tying it into the clip from The Lost Interview, it is truly not something that Steve Jobs would look upon kindly:

“If you were a product person, you couldn’t change the course of that company very much,” Jobs said. “So who influenced the success of PepsiCo? The sales and marketing people—they were the ones that got promoted, they were the ones that ran the company. ”

Jobs then added: “It turns out the same thing can happen at technology companies that get monopolies. If you’re a product person at IBM or Xerox, so you make a better copier or a better computer, so what? When you have a monopoly market share, the company’s not any more successful.”

For Owen Williams, it seems like this is where Apple has landed. He called it eerie on Twitter and it seems like we might be there with what Apple puts out. Change the bottle, change the size, put a new look on the label, and push it out. Seems odd from the company that essentially created the smartphone, but not from a group that can’t seem to tell you why they’re making the decisions they’re making. Why a touch bar on a MacBook? Why no headphones on an iPhone. Why, why, why?

To me, the event last night was Apple trying to remind the world it cares about the Mac, but more than anything else the undertone was this: Apple only cares about the Mac when it’s convenient, but even then, it’s obviously not thinking that hard about the impact is has.

Now at the same time, what can we really believe about Steve Jobs from 1995?

It seems there’s room for contradiction in the words that Steve Jobs has left us. But it doesn’t excuse that Apple has made some curious decisions recently. The dongles.

(Via Owen Williams / Quartz)