Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died in 2011 and from what I can see of Apple these days, especially with the departure of design honcho Jony Ive, the future died, too. Apple will continue to be a successful company for many years.
What’s missing eight years after Jobs’ death is that glimpse of the future; those daring moves to bring the future of techno-gadgets to humanity’s masses. Jobs did just that time and time again, he’s gone, so it seems as if the future has died, too.
Forest And Trees
Anybody can predict the future. Those with an understanding of the past, some knowledge of how technology works, and who knows humanity can predict the future, too. Few of them predict the future with accuracy.
Steve Jobs did just that and his predictions go back to the 1980s when he was at Apple and then his own company NeXT and into the 1990s. In 1983 Jobs talked about:
An incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you that you that you can learn in five minutes.
Sound familiar? iPad. How is that not the computer book we can carry around with us? And remember, iPhone came from the iPad project at Apple.
Jobs in 1984 in Newsweek on an intelligent agent in our computers:
It will be as if there’s a little person inside that box who starts to anticipate what you want. Rather than help you, it will start to guide you through large amounts of information. It will almost be like you have a little friend inside that box
What does that sound like? Siri.
Who would be able to use such handheld devices? 10 year olds.
You’d get one of these things maybe when you were 10 years old
The public internet hit the streets in mid-1990s and Jobs was quick to point out where it would lead humanity.
It is going to destroy vast layers of our economy and make available a presence in the marketplace for very small companies, one that is equal to very large companies
Walmart may have killed many small retailers, but Amazon came from out of the sky to dominate online commerce. The internet has made it easier for companies to launch and reach a tenable successful level almost overnight.
In an old Wired interview Jobs said:
[If the] Web got up to 10 percent of the goods and services in this country, it would be phenomenal
Where is online commerce today? 10-percent.
iCloud? Nailed 20 years ago.
The minute that I don’t have to manage my own storage, and the minute I live primarily in a connected versus a stand-alone world, there are new options for metaphors.
Jobs even realized where the future of browsers would go.
It’s much like the old mainframe computing environment, where a Web browser is like a dumb terminal and the Web server is like the mainframe where all the processing’s done
What has Apple brought to the world’s stage since Jobs died?
Iterative improvements on every Apple product, yes, but after the last great thing– iPad– Apple is all about iPhone accessories. Beats headphones, Apple Pay, Apple Music, Apple Watch, AirPods.
Many of those are in Apple’s rapidly growing Wearables category, now larger than iPad and soon to surpass the Mac, but most are accessories to iPhone.
That vision thing may have died when Jobs died in 2011. Without Jobs how will we know what the future will be?