Walter Isaacson Stories August 5, 2021

After Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson writing an Elon Musk biography

Walter Isaacson ran into controversy when he wrote his lengthy biography on Apple cofounder Steve Jobs a decade ago. But that apparently hasn’t deterred him from tackling tech guru bios, as he is now writing an Elon Musk biography …

Walter Isaacson Stories April 14, 2015

Original Mac designer Andy Hertzfeld says Jobs would not have liked ‘Becoming Steve Jobs’ book

Becoming Steve Jobs, the latest Jobs biography, written by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, received high-praise and support from Apple and its executives. One of the original members of the Macintosh development team, however, has published a post on Medium outlining why he thinks Steve Jobs would have not liked the biography. Andy Hertzfeld says that the harsh and negative tone applied to the early part of Jobs’ career at Apple and NeXT is unfair and not true.

Walter Isaacson Stories April 3, 2015

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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)

Walter Isaacson Stories March 23, 2015

Get ‘Becoming Steve Jobs’ audiobook for free from Audible

From 9to5Toys.com:

Becoming Steve Jobs is already an Amazon and iBooks best seller on the day of its release but if you were on the fence or want the book read to you while you drive or work, Audible makes a pretty good offer. For new email address users, Audible offers a Free Audiobook Download with a 30 Day Trial. You can also get the free Audible trial via Amazon here if you haven’t already signed up through your Amazon account. Audible’s offer is a great way to get introduced to audiobooks if you haven’t already and what better way to spend your free book than on than the critically and Apple Brass-acclaimed Steve Jobs bio narrated by George Newbern.

Audible members, new and old, can get ‘Becoming Steve Jobs’ here. 

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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” …  expand full story

BecomingSJ

In the first official statement about Apple’s decision to allow Tim Cook and other senior executives to be interviewed for Becoming Steve Jobs, company spokesman Steve Dowling said it was from a sense of responsibility to Steve’s memory.

After a long period of reflection following Steve’s death, we felt a sense of responsibility to say more about the Steve we knew. We decided to participate in Brent and Rick’s book because of Brent’s long relationship with Steve, which gave him a unique perspective on Steve’s life. The book captures Steve better than anything else we’ve seen, and we are happy we decided to participate.

Apple had initially refused interview requests by authors Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, the company taking 18 months to change its mind, reports the NY Times …  expand full story

Walter Isaacson Stories November 26, 2014

Lisa Brennan-Jobs & Natalie Portman

Actress Natalie Portman is the latest name to be thrown in the mix of potential stars in the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic written by Aaron Sorkin. The information comes courtesy of Deadline, which reports that Portman is “in talks to join” the project in a leading role although the specific character is unknown. It’s possible Natalie Portman is being considered to portray Steve Jobs’ daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs. expand full story

Walter Isaacson Stories October 15, 2014

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Variety reports that sources have confirmed actor Christian Bale is in talks to play the role of Steve Jobs in the upcoming biopic based on Walter Isaacson’s official biography of the late Apple co-founder. Variety adds that insiders believe Bale will begin filming for the biopic this spring. expand full story

Walter Isaacson Stories May 19, 2014

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With the expected Beats Electronics acquisition by Apple expected to take a week longer than first reported, industry watchers are making their last minute predictions as to why Apple would be interested in the audio and music service company.

The latest notable guess? Walter Isaacson, the man who literally wrote the book on Steve Jobs. Dan Lyons, former Fake Steve Jobsreporting for Billboard:

“Isaacson thinks the Apple-Beats deal is not about headphones or streaming music but rather is about video. He speculates that Cook wants Iovine to run Apple’s content business and help Apple launch the TV product that analysts have been gossiping about for years. The product has been held up because Apple can’t get all the content owners on board.”

Lyons adds that Isaacson shared with him something which he did not include in the authorized biography of the late Apple co-founder: Jobs was pitched on Apple buying Universal by Jimmy Iovine around 2002 or 2003… expand full story

Walter Isaacson Stories January 31, 2014

A couple of weeks after describing Google as more innovative than Apple, and suggesting that Tim Cook was vulnerable to a shareholder revolt if he didn’t quickly release disruptive new products, Steve Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson has downplayed his remarks in a round-table discussion on Bloomberg TV.

I think [Google is] very innovative. I was not trying to contrast it to Apple or something. I know, all the Apple fans got mad […]

The one thing I will say is innovation is great, but it ain’t everything. It’s not the holy grail. Execution is what really matters, and Apple is the best at execution …  expand full story

Walter Isaacson Stories January 23, 2014

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We’ve learned that Apple is making progress on its development of a successor to the current Apple TV and that the device is well into testing. We are led to believe that the new device, which is said to be a set-top box rather than a full-fledged TV set, will likely be introduced in the first half of 2014. We understand that the product will include a revamped operating system that will be based on iOS. Of course, release timeframes with these type of products can quickly change due to the content partners that are involved in such products…

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Walter Isaacson Stories December 30, 2013

Steve Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson crowdsources new book on digital innovators

Anyone who has ever written anything on the Internet and read the comments it attracts will salute the bravery of Walter Isaacson, author of the highly-acclaimed biography Steve Jobs, who is inviting comments on drafts of his next book before it is even published.

The book, which Isaacson describes as “a multi-part history of innovators of the digital age”, is due to be published in around a year’s time, and Isaacson has so far put online drafts of two chapters on several blogging sites, including LiveJournal, Medium and Sribd.

Online collaboration is why the Internet was originally built, and I’m interested in any comments or corrections readers might want to make before I publish in a year.

It should be entertaining, not least because many of the people featured in the book are still living and able to comment on Isaacson’s telling of their stories. You can see an example of this here.

Via TechCrunch

Walter Isaacson Stories November 26, 2013

The same photograph with the focus point changed retrospectively (lycro.com)

The same photograph with the focus point changed retrospectively (image: lytro.com)

A patent granted to Apple today for a Light Field camera – a camera with zero shutter delay and where the focus point can be changed after taking the photo – covers the precise technology Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson he wanted to use to “reinvent photography.”

He had three things that he wanted to reinvent: the television, textbooks and photography.

Jobs met with Lytro CEO Ren Ng in the summer of 2011, was shown a demo of the company’s Light Field camera and said that that he wanted the company to work with Apple …  expand full story

Walter Isaacson Stories May 27, 2013

Steve Jobs “fundamentally odd”, Bill Gates “basically unimaginative” – Gates & Jobs in quotes

Business Insider has gathered together a fun little collection of quotes by Steve Jobs and Bill Gates on each other, taken from Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs …

Walter Isaacson Stories May 20, 2013

Steve Jobs biographer does his own ‘three stories’ commencement speech [Video]

It isn’t quite Stanford 2005, but the Corning stories and others are amusing.

Walter Isaacson Stories December 24, 2012

Impounded Steve Jobs yacht free to sail after dispute is temporarily resolved

After the yacht Steve Jobs commissioned was impounded in Amsterdam over a payment dispute with designer Phillipe Starck earlier this month, it has been released today. AFP reported that Steve Jobs’ estate paid the designer to release it, but no specific amount was detailed.

Starck originally sought an unpaid 3 million euro of the 9 million euro that he claimed he was entitled to for his work. He was holding the ship, named “Venus”, until the money was received, but it’s not clear if it was the full $3 million euros. The dispute occurred because Jobs and Starck had no formal contract to detail how much would be paid, as the two had a mutual trust between each other.

The 105 million euro ship was designed by Steve Jobms and set sail after his death. It is currently ported in Amsterdam and awaiting a voyage to the United States, so Laurene Powell Jobs and her family can enjoy it. In the “Steve Jobs” biography by Walter Isaacson, he called the ship “sleek and minimalist” with a control panel made up of non-other than seven iMacs.

Walter Isaacson Stories October 28, 2012

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Dutch website OneMoreThing grabbed some pictures of the unique vessel that Steve Jobs was designing at the time of his death with French designer Philippe Starck over a year ago. The project was started in 2009, and Jobs’ wife and three of his children attended today’s launch of “Venus”.

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 The boat certainly has an interesting look/shape.

The control center of course has iMacs (are those the new ones?!)

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The people who worked on the vessel were given iPod shuffles as a gift from the Jobs family.

We received additional photos of the yacht and placed those and a video below: expand full story

Walter Isaacson Stories August 23, 2012

Walter Isaacson reflects on The Genius of Steve Jobs in Smithsonian Magazine cover feature

Author of the Steve Jobs biography Walter Isaacson has penned an exclusive piece for the upcoming September issue of Smithsonian magazine titled, “How Steve Jobs’ Love of Simplicity Fueled a Design Revolution”. For the piece, Isaacson reflects on tapes of Jobs speaking at an Aspen Design Conference in the early 80s, which Isaacson also made mentions of in the official biography. An audio recording of Jobs speaking at the 1983 International Design Conference in Aspen is available here, and an excerpt from Isaacson’s lengthy piece in Smithsonian Magazine’s September “Style and Design” issue is below:

Walter Isaacson Stories August 14, 2012

Update: List of items stolen (and returned)

According to a report from MercuryNews, suspects are now in custody for the recent burglary of the Silicon Valley home of Steve Jobs that contained more than $60,000 worth of computers and personal items:

The deceased Apple co-founder’s home on the 2100 block of Waverley Street in Palo Alto was burglarized July 17, said Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Tom Flattery, a member of the high-technology crimes unit…More than $60,000 worth of “computers and personal items” were allegedly stolen, but Flattery declined to say whether they belonged to Jobs, who died last year at the age of 56, or another family member.

Weeks after the burglary on July 17, police arrested Kariem McFarlin, 35, who is currently in jail on $500,000 bail, but other specific details regarding the crime are not available. We know that Laurene Powell Jobs and family were likely not living in the home at the time of the robbery, as during July the property was undergoing renovations with construction barricades and scaffolding surrounding the house. Forbes snapped photos of the property under construction (below) on July 4:

expand full story

Walter Isaacson Stories July 30, 2012

Samsung objects to ‘gratuitous’ images of Steve Jobs in trial, prefers thermonuclear quotes instead

Samsung vehemently objected to pictures of Steve Jobs in Apple’s opening slides for today’s massive trial, but U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh struck down the objections over the weekend.

The South Korea-based smartphone manufacturer claimed the “gratuitous images have no evidentiary value,” as it filed 14 objections to Apple’s opening slides.

The company further noted, as FOSS Patents reported, if Apple is given permission to use these slides, Samsung will “request that the Court allow it to use the quotes from Mr. Jobs — which do have nonprejudicial evidentiary value — and yet were excluded by the Court’s ruling on Apple’s Motion in Limine No. 7.”

In other words, Samsung wants to use the “thermonuclear war” quotes from Walter Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs biography” if Apple can use images of the company’s late founder. The contentious quotes from the biography were previously deemed hearsay and inadmissible in this litigation.

According to FOSS Patents, Apple explained the use of the pitcures in its responsive filing:

  • Three of the images are “from a joint exhibit – 1091 (the MacWorld 2007 video), which Samsung itself relies on in its opening demonstratives (at Samsung slide no. 148)”, so “Samsung cannot complain about Apple’s use of the same video” that shows “the public introduction of the iPhone on January 7, 2007, which launched the fame that the iPhone trade dress has acquired”. Also, “[b]ecause they demonstrate Apple’s notice of the 200+ patents covering the iPhone — including the asserted patents, they thus are relevant to willfulness”.
  • Another slide refers to an exhibition relating to Steve Jobs’s patents, which was organized by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. “Among the highlighted patents at the PTO exhibit are at least two patents at issue in this litigation — the D’677 and D’889” — and Apple argues that “[t]he Patent Office exhibit demonstrates praise by others to rebut non-obviousness”.
  • The fifth image of Steve Jobs in the presentation is “a screenshot from the announcement of the iPad in July 2010” and, therefore, “relevant to the introduction of the iPad and its acquisition of fame and secondary meaning”, Apple says.

Judge Koh overruled Samsung’s objections on Sunday and said the images are “relevant to Apple’s iPhone design patent and trade dress claims and is not unduly prejudicial.”

Get the full report at FOSS Patents.

Apple SVP of Design Jony Ive speaks on Apple’s design process and the ‘Bankruptcy Days’

Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive spoke at the British Embassy’s Creative Summit this morning about Apple’s design focus, and Wired was on hand to get the report.

The Apple executive primarily described how revenue does not drive the folks in Cupertino but rather “great products” do. He noted the company is “pleased with revenues,” and its goal is again not “to make money.”

“It sounds a little flippant, but it’s the truth. Our goal and what makes us excited is to make great products,” said Ive. “If we are successful people will like them and if we are operationally competent, we will make money.”

Ive made similar comments on the day of his Knighting [audio] and to Walter Isaacson for the “Steve Jobs” Bio. Moreover, Tim Cook has reiterated Apple’s great products goal many times since he took the reigns as CEO.

Ive also recounted at the summit Apple’s bankruptcy days. He said Steve Jobs recognized Apple products needed to be better, so that is where the chief’s attention remained instead of trying to earn money.

He explained how, in the 90s, Apple was very close to bankruptcy and that “you learn a lot about vital corporations through non-vital corporations”. When Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1997, his focus was not on making money — “His observation was that the products weren’t good enough. His resolve was to make better products.” This was a different approach from other attempts to turn the company around, which had focused first and foremost on cost savings and revenue generation.

According to Wired, Ive then detailed how thrilled he feels to “be a part of the creative process”:

Walter Isaacson Stories July 22, 2012

Wired does a Steve Jobs cover complete with halo and horns

The article sounds a bit boring with the TIRED anecdotes from the Isaacson bio, but it is something to see Wired still trotting out Jobs covers to sell some mags.

Wired’s cover story has gone live.

Walter Isaacson Stories June 26, 2012

Here’s Ashton Kutcher playing Steve Jobs on Acid [Photos]

French website Premiere (via DailyMail) just posted a few pictures of Ashton Kutcher acting like Steve Jobs under the influence of LSD during a scene shoot for the upcoming biopic on the late Apple co-founder.

The actor appears delirious and euphoric with his arms outstretched while in the grassy California field. Jobs confessed on many occasions that the effects of LSD inspired him and served as one of the “most important experiences” of his life.

Here is a clip from “Pirates of Silicon Valley,” where Noah Wyle also portrays Jobs high on Acid:

Walter Isaacson Stories June 2, 2012

Judge rules Steve Jobs’ thermonuclear comments can be used in Motorola trial

Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs was known for being vocal when it came to talking about Google’s Android. Comments from Jobs referring to Android as a stolen product and vowing to destroy it even made it into Walter Isaacson’s official biography about the chief. Now, a judge presiding in a patent case with Motorola ruled that he would allow the comments to be referenced in trial, which goes against requests from Apple’s lawyers. Reuters reported (via GigaOM):

Steve Jobs gave a lot of juicy quotes before he died, and Apple Inc has failed to keep some of them out of an upcoming patent trial against Google’s Motorola Mobility unit, according to a court ruling.

A couple of examples:

  • “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong.”
  • “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

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