Thought-Factory.net Philosophical Conversations Public Opinion philosophy.com Junk for code
parliament house.gif
RECENT ENTRIES
SEARCH
ARCHIVES
Commentary
Media
Think Tanks
Oz Blogs
Economic Blogs
Foreign Policy Blogs
International Blogs
Media Blogs
South Australian Weblogs
Economic Resources
Environment Links
Political Resources
Cartoons
South Australian Links
Other
www.thought-factory.net
"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Steve Jobs: RIP « Previous | |Next »
October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs is dead at 56. That's pancreatic cancer for you--it is fast and aggressive with a low survival rate. Job's death is a world event due to his influence in shaping a digital world (he revolutionized computing, telephony and music) with his innovative and elegantly designed products, whose marriage of hardware and software was elegant, easy to use and playful.

apple-computer-logo.jpg

Apple--no longer Apple Computer--- is currently the most successful and influential company on the planet, and Jobs legacy as a transformative capitalist is on par with Edison and Henry Ford, in spite of his many flops.

Although Microsoft won the PC wars I personally switched to Apple's Intel based MacBook just after Microsoft introduced Vista. I've never looked back, going on to invest heavily in Mac computers because they work. Windows Vista was the final straw for me with respect to Microsoft, and the crap shoot of Windows machines designed for a business environment.

Unlike many I, as a creative professional, am still okay with Apple's walled garden, even if I dislike the secrecy and control freakery that goes the innovation as do those who prefer the open-source operating system, like Google’s Android. The dark side of Apple is its ability to play the game of cutthroat capitalism: it keeps labor costs as low as possible while maintaining a stranglehold over exactly how its hundreds of millions of customers interact with both the innards of its gadgets and the wonders of the Internet, and it wields a ruthless intellectual property litigation strategy to ward off competitive threats to market share.

The products (iPods, iMac, MacBook Air, iPad) are often dismissed as extravagant, unnecessary toys (or mediocre products at extravagent prices), and Apple is dismissed as relying on brand image and loyalty. The MacBook Pros and the Mac Pro tower computers are professional workhorses. The iPhone, which is incorporating artificial intelligence in a mobile device with the iPhone 4s, has changed the way we understand and use phones as communications devices.

Apple is at the crossroads of technology and humanities or liberal arts, since Job's emphasis started from the users experience of technology. That meant that technology should above all be user-friendly---the specs of a device aren't as important as what it can actually do, and how easy it is to use. The opposite view is that the role of people is to learn how to use technology---ie., computers are hard, and therefore people must learn about them. Apple's approach-- make technology easier to use--- is the best one as the technology meets people's needs, lets them do the things they want, allows then to get value from them, and to enjoy using them.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:04 PM | | Comments (9)
Comments

Comments

Yeah... Steve Jobs was an American success story. And he brought us many greats gadgets.... but, I've managed to survive without having ANY of them in my household. No doubt he knew how to read the consumer. But it hasn't all been sunshine and apps...

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/no-talking-just-working-12-hours-a-day-in-ifactory-hell-20100604-xkmx.html

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/meet-the-workers-dying-to-meet-your-ipad-2-demand-20110509-1ef68.html

I refuse to buy into the fanboi frenzy.

Should I cringe to say
I wouldn't have the foggiest idea of what some of what he's talking about above (having a World of Wooster moment here)is actual referential to.
And it gets worse every day.
Still, I hadn't even owned a pc 'till a decade ago and only bought one because I was studying and fed with "binning" hand written essays.

Paul,
Jobs was in the right place at the right time – the start of the personal computer industry – and he was well placed to catch the wave as analogue industries changed from vinyl, tapes, film, paper and other physical formats to digital ones.

He had the ability to ride that wave, and shape it in ways that no rival was able to emulate.

mars08
re "I refuse to buy into the fanboi frenzy."

you don't have to. Reflecting on Apple--its early success, its failures and its renaissance through technological innovation--indicates that for all their talk about innovation by Australian capitalists, there is no Australian company that innovates like Apple has done. It's all spin.

Apple highlights the limitations of Australian capitalism in an information society.

mars08
some argue that Jobs did reinvent the role of CEO as messiah, a man of such charismatic individuality that he could make the anonymity of his black turtleneck and black jeans into a brand as universally recognisable as his products.

Mars08,
the anti-Apple crowd are pretty bad--as bad as the cultish, gushing fanboi crowd

Some of the criticism of Apple is misplaced.

They are held responsible for contributed to our consumption-obsessed culture in that they excel in creating the kind of empty desires which do nothing to enhance people's real happiness and everything to create exclusion and inferiority complexes. An avid consumer of Apple products is epitomised as a vacuous, spoilt, materialist, unintelligent attention-seeker.

The criticism is really about consumer capitalism.

"The opposite view is that the role of people is to learn how to use technology---ie., computers are hard, and therefore people must learn about them."

The tech snobs and tech geeks dislike Apple because they made computing fun; they designed products that looked great and were easy to use.

That threatens the geeks' power and sense of superiority and does the geeks out of a job.

No doubt Jobs made it easier for people to come to grips with the MEDIUM. But I rather reserve my praise for those who have a worthwhile MESSAGE.

Annon says, "The criticism is really about consumer capitalism."

Probably.