Opinion: Should AAPL stockholders be worried about Jony Ive’s more backseat role?

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The Apple world this morning seems divided between those who seemingly haven’t grasped the implications of Apple’s ‘promotion’ of Jony Ive, merely taking Cook’s memo at face value, and those switching into full-on ‘Apple is doomed’ mode. The reality is, I think, a little more nuanced.

It seems pretty clear that this move is, as Seth outlined earlier, about Ive taking more of a backseat role – and especially being able to spend a lot more time back in England. Apple’s decision to announce the news on a day when the US markets were closed was obviously not coincidence.

Apple didn’t want to see a knee-jerk panic reaction on Wall Street setting its stock diving. But is there reason to panic? Or is it all much ado about nothing? Or something between the two … ?  Read more

What Jony Ive’s ‘promotion’ to Chief Design Officer really means

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A lot of folks are taking Sir Jonathan Ive’s just announced title as Chief Design Officer at face value. Congratulations are in order and all that. But there is a lot more going on than a title change.

Ive was willed free reign at Apple by Steve Jobs and can do or have just about anything he wants. Titles aren’t of any significance, especially to someone with as little ego and indifference to such things as Ive. There is clearly more to the story than Apple is telling us.  Read more

Universal Studios releases first trailer for Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs biopic

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Universal Studios has just released the first trailer for the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic. The trailer gives us our first on-screen look at star Michael Fassbender as the Apple co-founder, along with Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak, Kate Winslet as Mac engineer Joanna Hoffman, and Jeff Daniels as John Sculley.

Photos from the set previously showed us Fassbender and Rogen in costume, but the images in the trailer appear to be from a different scene. The film, which was written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Danny Boyle, will hit theaters in October.

Earlier this year the movie’s script leaked, revealing key details about the plot. You can view the trailer below:

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Verizon buying AOL for $4.4B

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Verizon Communications is buying AOL for $4.4B in a deal believed to be focused on Verizon’s ambitions in mobile video and advertising.

The acquisition would give Verizon, which has set its sights on entering the crowded online video marketplace, access to advanced technology AOL has developed for selling ads and delivering high-quality Web video.

Traditional TV viewing is changing dramatically, consumers not only giving up their cable TV subscriptions in favor of video on demand over the Internet (a market Apple is believed to be planning to enter in the fall), but increasingly watching video on mobile devices …  Read more

Apple’s human interface chief on the obsessive details you’ll never notice in your Apple Watch

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There’s an oft-told story about Steve Jobs insisting the wiring inside the Macintosh be made to look neat even though few owners would ever see it. Apple’s human-interface chief Alan Dye, interviewed in Wired, says the same attention to detail lives on in Apple today, and is reflected in the care that went into the Apple Watch.

We have a group of people who are really, really super-talented, but they really care. They care about details that a designer might not show in his portfolio because it’s so arcane. And yet getting it right is so critical to the experience.

Dye illustrated the point by referring to the animated faces of the Apple Watch …  Read more

Spoiler alert: We’ve read the screenplay for Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs biopic and it looks fantastic

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While we haven’t gotten many details about the Aaron Sorkin-penned screenplay based on Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography, we have previously learned that it will focus on three separate days in the life of the Apple co-founder, with each 30-minute act taking place just before a major product announcement. We also know that Michael Fassbender will star alongside Seth Rogen, Michael Stuhlbarg, Kate Winslet, Perla Haney-Jardine, and Jeff Daniels.

Today we got our hands on a copy of the screenplay (or at least a February 2014 draft of it) which reveals what many already may have already suspected based on previous reports: the three products Jobs will unveil during the biopic are the original Macintosh, the NeXT Cube, and the iMac.

The film opens with… (Read more)

Tim Cook reflects on the role of running a post-Steve Jobs Apple as Fortune names him “greatest leader”

Fortune has today named Tim Cook #1 on its list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders, publishing an extensive profile of the Apple CEO in which he reflects on the lessons he’s learned in the time he’s been running the company.

Taking over from Steve was not, he said, an easy transition, and he gained a new appreciation for the way that the co-founder had shielded him and the rest of the team from public criticism.

What I learned after Steve passed away, what I had known only at a theoretical level, an academic level maybe, was that he was an incredible heat shield for us, his executive team. None of us probably appreciated that enough […] but he really took any kind of spears that were thrown. He took the praise as well. But to be honest, the intensity was more than I would ever have expected.

Claims that Apple had lost its ability to innovate under Cook’s leadership were, he said, something he had to learn to block out …  Read more

Want to be in the upcoming Steve Jobs movie? Here’s your chance

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The Aaron Sorkin-written Steve Jobs biopic will start playing in theaters in just six months, and there’s a good chance you could actually be in the monumental film that tells the late Apple co-founder’s story. Universal Pictures, the studio ultimately backing the movie after a dance with Sony Pictures, has issued a casting call for extras to be filmed on set in a scene of upcoming movie this weekend… Read more

Review: ‘Becoming Steve Jobs’ depicts a late-maturing iCEO with a growing heart and softened edges

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Several years after Steve Jobs’ untimely death, journalists — particularly ones who previously interviewed or covered Jobs — are still combing their archives for underreported facts or quotes that might justify new books on Apple’s enigmatic CEO. Naturally, the overlap with earlier works is significant, as new authors repeatedly acknowledge leaning on Michael Moritz’s (Return to) The Little Kingdom and Owen Linzmayer’s Apple Confidential 2.0, among many others. But there’s still an opportunity to bring new details to light, which is why Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli’s Becoming Steve Jobs ($12+/Amazon, $13/iBookstore) exists. Over 400 pages in length, it aims primarily to set the record straight about one key facet of Jobs’ life — he was a better man at age 56 than he was at 21 — but includes enough interesting anecdotes about Apple and Jobs’ other pursuits to be worth reading.

Although Becoming Steve Jobs follows a mostly familiar storytelling arc, Schlender and Tetzeli’s strengths come from two sources: direct access to Jobs from the mid-1980’s until 2011, and interviews with major players conducted after Jobs’ death. While their quotes tend to be short and in service of the larger narrative, the list of participating heavy hitters is non-trivial: Laurene Powell Jobs represents the Jobs family, alongside current Apple executives Tim Cook, Jony Ive and Eddy Cue, ex-Apple executives Jon Rubinstein, Tony Fadell, Katie Cotton, Fred Anderson and Avie Tevanian, Jobs’ top ad men Regis McKenna and Lee Clow, Pixar’s Ed Catmull and John Lasseter, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, and Disney CEO Bob Iger. Given that access, it’s perhaps not a surprise that the book paints a largely sympathetic portrait, but the authors also gave participants room to speak candidly about how Jobs’ “sharp elbows” affected them personally and professionally…

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Five fascinating revelations from ‘Becoming Steve Jobs’

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Becoming Steve Jobs, the new biography of Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, will be officially released tomorrow by Crown Business/Penguin Random House, and is currently available as a pre-order from Amazon ($12+) and Apple’s iBookstore ($13). Here are just some of the interesting revelations found inside, including some details regarding Jobs’ evolving attitude towards the media.

Jobs’ return to Apple was almost certainly not a strategic takeover. Despite speculation that Steve Jobs may have strategically orchestrated a takeover of Apple during his sale of NeXT — a view shared by Bill Gates and former Apple CEO Gil Amelio — the book suggests that Jobs was truly uncertain about his continued involvement with the company. Avie Tevanian and Jon Rubinstein, “the two men whom Steve trusted the most at Apple… agree that Steve did not intend to become Apple’s CEO,” and that they didn’t think they were going to be working for him there. Despite Jobs’ love for Apple, the company was in a precarious financial situation, and he had competing demands for his time.

A year later, Jobs told the authors that just as Bob Dylan would “never stand still,” and was “always risking failure” — the mark of a true artist — “[t]his Apple thing is that way for me.” Confronting the risk of failure and the consequences for his reputation, family, and Pixar, Jobs “finally decided, I don’t really care, this is what I want to do. And if I try my best and fail, well, I tried my best.” Jobs adopted the term “iCEO” or “interim CEO,” reflecting his continued uncertainty about the position…

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‘Becoming Steve Jobs’ on Apple, NeXT, and Pixar

Becoming Steve Jobs, the new biography of Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, will be officially released tomorrow by Crown Business/Penguin Random House, and is currently available as a pre-order from Amazon ($12+) and Apple’s iBookstore ($13). While some of the book’s material will be familiar to avid followers of Jobs and Apple, there are some interesting details inside about how Jobs’ companies Apple, NeXt, and Pixar interrelated.

On NeXT: The book notes that the computer industry changed during Microsoft’s leadership, shifting to an environment where companies — the largest buyers of computers — were seeking reliability and stability rather than innovation. According to the authors, NeXT’s key failure was that it successfully identified a real market for $3,000 workstation computers targeted at the higher-education market, but went so far beyond that price point — in some cases in pursuit of industrial design goals — that few actual customers existed for its product.

NeXT, which was headquartered in the same business park where Steve Jobs first saw Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and graphical user interface, came tantalizingly close to undermining Microsoft at a key point in its growth: IBM licensed the NeXTSTEP operating system for use in workstations, and might have used it to compete against Windows personal computers.

“But Steve… held up IBM for more money, leading to another round of protracted negotiations. He overplayed his hand. Cannavino stopped taking Steve’s calls and just abandoned the project, although there was never any real announcement that it was over. It was a minor disappointment for IBM, ending its ‘Plan B’ fantasy of creating a real alternative to Microsoft’s new Windows graphical operating system for PCs.”

And there’s more…

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“He could be a jerk, but never an a-hole” sums up Becoming Steve Jobs, says inner circle journalist

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The conflicting biographies of Steve Jobs, one authorized by its subject prior to his death, the other endorsed by Apple, paint quite different pictures of the man. Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs focuses more on his flaws, while Becoming Steve Jobs describes a softer, more rounded person.

A tech journalist who knew Steve well, Steven Levy, has weighed in with his own take in an interesting blog post, The War Over Who Steve Jobs Was. He said that one quote from Becoming Steve Jobs summed-up the view presented by Schlender and Tetzeli.

He could be a jerk, but never an asshole.

Levy says that many of those close to Steve shared the view expressed by Tim Cook on Isaacson’s biography, published soon after Steve’s death, that it did a “tremendous disservice” to him. Jony Ive said that his own regard for the book “couldn’t be any lower” …  Read more