New Yorker Stories February 16, 2015

jony-ive-profile

The New Yorker has published an extensive profile on Jony Ive, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design. Many newspapers have written up articles on Ive in recent years, but this latest account by Ian Parker is by far the most detailed and (arguably) the most interesting, revealing new anecdotes and tidbits on Apple’s latest products in the process.

The story tracks how Jony arrived at Apple back in the late 90’s, how his relationship with Jobs developed over that period, and how he is adapting to ‘leading’ design in post-Jobs Apple. The piece includes some new details about how the Watch project and the newest iPhones formed, as well as incorporating quotes from Tim Cook, Bob Mansfield, and others.

Read on for some select excerpts from The New Yorker’s story.

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New Yorker Stories March 1, 2014

Tim Cook profiled in “Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs” [Video]

There wasn’t a whole lot new in this chunk of the Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs, which Yukari Kane mostly focuses on Apple CEO Tim Cook and his characteristics that are often the opposite of Steve Jobs. Cook is a character but not the same character that brought Apple to its current success.

From the WSJ excerpt:

As tough as Cook was reputed to be, he was also generous. He gave away the frequent-flier miles that he racked up as Christmas gifts, and he volunteered at a soup kitchen during the Thanksgiving holidays. He had also participated in an annual two-day cycling event across Georgia to raise money for multiple sclerosis; Cook had been a supporter since being misdiagnosed with the disease years before. “The doctor said, ‘Mr. Cook, you’ve either had a stroke, or you have MS,’ ” Cook told the Auburn alumni magazine. He didn’t have either. His symptoms had been produced from “lugging a lot of incredibly heavy luggage around.”

An earlier piece in the New Yorker online edition painted a dreary picture of Apple post Steve Jobs and the video above does delve into that viewpoint a bit.

Apple’s latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 7, looks pretty but is full of bugs and flaws. As for innovation, the last time Apple created something that was truly great was the original iPad, when Jobs was still alive. Although the company’s C.E.O., Tim Cook, insists otherwise, Apple seems more eager to talk about the past than about the future.

From the video:

[Has Apple lost its touch? Are they still King of the Hill?]

KANE: I think the answer is obvious to me. The answer has got to be yes. This is a company who had revolved around Steve Jobs for so long, I mean that was something that Jobs himself went out of his way to make sure of. And the people there are conditioned to operate, to play off of his strengths and weaknesses. And so now you’ve got this completely opposite guy in Tim Cook, who is I think brilliant in many ways, but in different ways. But so they’re going through some growing pains in that.

Meanwhile, Publishers Weekly has the following review of the book:

Jan 27, 2014 – The globe-bestriding computer-maker loses its soul in this lively business history. Former Wall Street Journal technology reporter Kane follows Apple after the 2011 death of founder Steve Jobs as the company’s knack for conjuring breakthrough i-gadgets lapsed into a series of ho-hum upgrades, misfires like the befuddled artificial intelligence app Siri, and interminable patent lawsuits, while market share, profits, and stock price eroded. Kane makes the story a study in CEO leadership styles, contrasting Jobs’s visionary bluster with his successor Tim Cook’s icy bean-counting and the histrionics of Samsung’s “wise emperor” Lee Kun-hee, whose quality crusade involved burning an entire factory’s inventory in front of its weeping employees. Kane unearths plenty of colorful material here, including lawyerly jousting, hilariously lame new-product unveilings, and conference-room psychodramas between bullying execs and groveling underlings. The author’s great-man theory of Jobs’s “unfiltered” leadership as the indispensable motor of Apple’s innovation doesn’t explain much; her unusually rich dissection of Apple’s ugly dealings with its FoxConn manufacturing partner suggests that Cook’s merciless wringing of profits out of exploited Chinese labor is as much the soul of Apple as Jobs’s oft-hyped intuition for design. Still, this well-paced, vividly detailed narrative reveals the machine surrounding the Jobsian ghost at Apple and brings the company’s high-flying mythology down to earth.© Publishers Weekly

We’re getting an advanced copy this week which we don’t expect to be as pessimistic and the publicity-generating excerpts above.  Interesting bits will be posted here.

Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs is available March 18th from Harper Collins ($12.74 Amazon/$14.99 iBookstore)

New Yorker Stories February 6, 2014

Former WSJ Apple reporter has a dreary take on life at Apple after Steve Jobs in this excerpt

Former WSJ Apple reporter/scoopster Yukari Iwatani Kane is coming out with a new book called Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs ($12.74 Amazon/$14.99 iBookstore). 

We’re not sure how the book reads quite yet but this excerpt of her New Yorker piece via Fortune, doesn’t take on a very optimistic tone for the company where she once had some solid sources:

When Jobs was ousted in 1985, the impact of his absence on Apple’s business was not immediately obvious. After a slow start, Macintosh sales began rising. Two years after Jobs left, Apple’s annual sales had almost doubled compared to three years earlier, and its gross profit margin was an astonishing fifty-one per cent. Outside appearances suggested that Apple hadn’t missed a beat.

Inside Apple, employees knew differently. Something had changed. “I was let down when Steve left,” Steve Scheier, a marketing manager at Apple from 1982 to 1991, recalled. “The middle managers, the directors, and the vice presidents kept the spirit alive for a long time without his infusion, but eventually you start hiring people you shouldn’t hire. You start making mistakes you shouldn’t have made.” Scheier told me that he eventually grew tired and left. The company had “become more of a business and less of a crusade.”

So what about now? Apple’s supporters point to the company’s billions of dollars in quarterly profit and its tens of billions in revenue as proof that it continues to thrive. But Apple’s employees again know differently, despite the executive team’s best efforts to preserve Jobs’s legacy. People who shouldn’t be hired are being hired (like Apple’s former retail chief, John Browett, who tried to incorporate big-box-retailer sensibilities into Apple’s refined store experience). People who shouldn’t leave are leaving, or, in the case of the mobile-software executive Scott Forstall, being fired.

Mistakes, in turn, are being made: Apple Maps was a fiasco, and ads, like the company’s short-lived Genius ads and last summer’s self-absorbed manifesto ad, have been mediocre. Apple’s latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 7, looks pretty but is full of bugs and flaws. As for innovation, the last time Apple created something that was truly great was the original iPad, when Jobs was still alive. Although the company’s C.E.O., Tim Cook, insists otherwise, Apple seems more eager to talk about the past than about the future. Even when it refers to the future, it is more intent on showing consumers how it hasn’t changed rather than how it is evolving. The thirtieth anniversary of the Macintosh—and the “1984” ad—is not just commemorative. It is a reminder of what Apple has stopped being.

It is tough to replace the legend, but hopefully this is just the pessimistic take. We’ll have more from Kane and the book as it becomes available. It debuts March 18th from HarperCollins.

New Yorker Stories October 17, 2013

Here come the iPhone 5s ads, touting Touch ID and Gold color option

Apple appears to be changing gears from its previous Designed by Apple in California campaign following the release of the new iPhones. Apple’s latest full page ad is appearing in this week’s edition of the New Yorker and this time around focuses on the new fingerprint sensor and Touch ID feature on the gold iPhone 5s. The text from the ad reads:

Your finger is the password.

Touch ID was created not only to protect all the important and personal information on your phone, but to be so easy to use, you’ll actually use it. Its state-of-the-art technology learns your unique fingerprint, so you can unlock your phone or even authorize purchases with just a simple touch.Touch ID. Only on iPhone 5s.

Apple’s previous Designed by Apple in California ads made a point of focusing on on its ecosystem and the people that use it rather than specific products, but it’s clear the focus has changed slightly now that it has new iPhones on the market. Interestingly, the ad specifically notes Touch ID as specific to iPhone 5s. This particular magazine issue is next week’s version, just one day before the new iPads are announced. Would Apple note Touch ID is exclusive to the iPhone 5s in the same week that the iPads are revamped if the iPads will be getting the feature?

(via @samradford & MacRumors)

New Yorker Stories August 7, 2012

Other than the notable apps and updates below, developers of Shazam, the “9th most downloaded app of all time,” announced today its song recognition service has been used to identify over 5 billion songs. The five billionth tagged song on Shazam was “Blow Me One Last Kiss” by Pink. Head below for our full list of new apps and updates hitting the App Store today:

Sparrow for Mac version 1.6.3: Sparrow’s Mac App Store app was updated today with a number of performance enhancements and fixes. A full list of what’s new in version 1.6.3 is below:

– improved performance when loading huge conversations – URL in subject can be clicked – date and subject in headers can be selected – improved avatar in message cells – improved IMAP compatibility – brazilian localization – fixed progress indicator in message view – fixed crash when loading some HTML messages – fixed crash with POP accounts fixed

Spotify version 0.5.4: Spotify received a decent update today that brings the ability to show more stations for iPad users, fixes login issues for Facebook users, and adds stability improvements.

The New Yorker Magazine: Previously only available as an iPad app, The New Yorker is now bringing all of its magazine content to the iPhone with a new universal app available on the App Store now. To celebrate the release of the iPhone version, you will be able to get the Aug. 13 and Aug. 20 issues completely free (old issues are not accessible on the iPhone app). expand full story

The best 4K & 5K displays for Mac

New Yorker Stories July 10, 2012

Next Issue, a subscription-based iPad app for magazines, finally hit the App Store today after first having launched as an Android app on the Google Play store.

The sales pitch is simple: “All the magazines you love. All in one app. All yours for one low price.”

Folks need to visit NextIssue.com to create an account and start a 30-day free trial, and then they can download the app to access a bevy of titles from Conde Nast, News Corp, Hearst, Meredith, Time, and more major publishers. A few of the more enticing magazine titles include: Allure, Better Homes and Gardens, Bon Appétit, ELLE, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, Fitness, Fortune, Glamour, GQ, InStyle, People, Popular Mechanics, Real Simple, Self, Southern Living, Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker, TIME, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Wired.

Next Issue offers two subscription types: the $10 monthly plan only provides the top magazines, while the $15 monthly plan boasts the entire catalog with weekly selections. A quick gander through the catalog shows enhanced digital magazines, which are tablet-optimized and feature bonus videos, photography and interactive elements.

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