Many great people died in 2011

At year 2011 we saw the passing of many of the electronics and computer industry’s greatest engineers and inventors.

Jim Williams, who was considered one of the best analog circuit designers in the world, suffered a stroke and passed away on June 12, 2011. An Analog Life: Remembering Jim Williams article gives you information who he was. In Analog guru Jim Williams dies after stroke EDN’s Paul Rako and industry EEs reflect back on the life and work of Jim Williams, an engineer’s engineer and analog expert. Jim Williams, Circuits as art is a great article about Jim William’s artistry from the February 1987 edition of EDN. Cassidy: Jim Williams’ workbench captures his life and Silicon Valley article shows the Williams’ museum-worthy mess working table. His bench is now on exhibit at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. Newnes has announced the publication of a 960-page book of Jim Williams’ application notes that span decades of Jim’s work.

Bob Pease was icon in the analog design world. Bob Pease was remembered for Pease Porridge and a whole lot more. Pease was the author of eight books, including Troubleshooting Analog Circuits, and held 21 patents. Analog engineering legend Bob Pease killed in car crash article tells that Bob Pease died in a car accident, which occurred as he was leaving a memorial service for his friend and fellow analog expert Jim Williams. Bob has a legacy as one of the greatest analog engineers in history due to his unique experiences.

Computer History Museum honors Jim Williams and Bob Pease.

C and Unix pioneer Dennis Ritchie reported dead on October. With Bell’s Ken Thompson, Ritchie helped develop Unix, running on a DEC PDP-11, and released the first edition of the operating system in 1971. Unix paved the way for many, many operating systems, including Linux. Two years later Ritchie came up with the C language. C is now the world’s second most popular programming language, according to TIOBE. The Unix and Linux (and Mac OS X and I think even Windows) kernels are all C programs. C has paved the way for C++ and Java, and many other programming languages. On 10/30/11 let’s remember the contributions of computing pioneer Dennis Ritchie.
printf(“Rest in peace, Dennisn”); exit(0);

Father of Lisp and AI John McCarthy has also died. Among developers, McCarthy may be best known as the inventor of Lisp, which he devised in 1958. Lisp was originally developed for AI applications, but was quickly adopted by the industry, gained enormous popularity among developers, and is still in use today as part of Common Lisp and Scheme. McCarthy was also the first person to coin the term AI (Artificial Intelligence), describing it in 1955 as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines.” He was one of the most active academics in the field.

RFID ‘s inventor Charles Walton died in early November. The History of RFID Technology article tells that Walton was one of the first RFID patent applicants in 1973. RFID’s history, and Walton’s life’s work, you can read more about other things, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from MIT’s website Inventor of the Week Archive

Jacob Goldman, Founder of Xerox Lab, Dies at 90 on December. He was the one that made sure that Xerox understood there was a revolution coming behind them that might change their business. Established in 1970 in an industrial park next to Stanford, PARC researchers designed a remarkable array of computer technologies, including the Alto personal computer, the Ethernet office network, laser printing and the graphical user interface.

Steve Jobs was an American businessman and inventor widely recognized as a charismatic pioneer of the personal computer revolution. He was co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Inc. He has lots to do with the success of Apple. On October 5, 2011, he died in his Palo Alto home, aged 56. Then, in 1984 Steve Jobs surprised the world with the introduction of the Macintosh. Latest big Apple inventions have been iPod, iPhone and iPad. Jobs was an entrepreneur, product manager, visionary and pitchman more than engineer. Steve Jobs: History, Steve Jobs life lessons and Everything we needed to know about Steve Jobs Without reading the biography articles give you a good picture on Steve Jobs. Taiwanese Animators Distill Steve Jobs’ Bio Into 93 Seconds of Video

Steve Jobs has got lots of recognition during lifetime and after it. Sunday, October 16 was declared Steve Jobs Day. Steve Jobs gets bronze after-life. Steve Jobs awarded a posthumously Grammy Special Merit Awards for nonperformance contributions of major significance to the field of recorded music.

Spend some time to remember those great inventors and go on. If we had days and events to recognize each and everyone who helped to make the world work, the world would not work.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Apple’s Jonathan Ive gets knighthood in honours list

    “What’s made him so outstandingly successful is the relationship he’s had with Steve Jobs and Apple,” said Deyan Sudjic, director of The Design Museum.

    Mr Jobs described Mr Ive as his “spiritual partner” in the recent biography of the Apple co-founder written by Walter Isaacson. However, it also said that Mr Ive was “hurt” by Mr Jobs taking credit for innovations that came from the design team.

    Mr Ive’s eye for design combined effectively with Mr Jobs’ legendary attention to detail and the products that have emerged from the company since the late 1990s have turned Apple into the biggest and most influential technology company on the planet.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Three Ways Steve Jobs Made Technology Cool, Stylish and Accessible

    He forced computer companies to recognize that the masses didn’t care about how it worked; they only cared that it did.

    3. Form Over Function
    2. The Populism of Accessibility
    1. The Power of Cool

  3. Alton says:

    Spectacular article keep it up.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Report: Young Americans choose Thomas Edison over Steve Jobs as greatest innovator of all time

    The fact that Thomas Edison was chosen as the greatest innovator of all time is not THAT unexpected. After all, American students are taught from a very young age that he is responsible for the invention of the light bulb and phonograph.

    Steve Jobs placing second is a bit startling for some. There are, however, a couple of contributing factors to his high ranking, including the absolute saturation of Apple products in this demo’s everyday lives (40% stated that they could not imagine what their lives would be like without a smartphone or tablet), the intensity of news coverage surrounding Jobs’s recent passing, and the success of Walter Isaacson’s biography on the former CEO of Apple. Throw in the fact that this survey took place in December 2011, and Jobs’ 24% showing makes sense.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Apple iTunes chief accepts Steve Jobs’ Grammy

    Steve Jobs was posthumously awarded a Grammy Award last night for his contribution to the music industry.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs

    His saga is the entrepreneurial creation myth writ large: Steve Jobs cofounded Apple in his parents’ garage in 1976, was ousted in 1985, returned to rescue it from near bankruptcy in 1997, and by the time he died, in October 2011, had built it into the world’s most valuable company.

    Along the way he helped to transform seven industries: personal computing, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, retail stores, and digital publishing.

    He thus belongs in the pantheon of America’s great innovators, along with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Walt Disney.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    For Jim Williams, circuit design was an art form.

    The category of Contributor of the Year is a new one for the ACE Awards, and its intent is to recognize the accomplishments of the people behind the extraordinary contributions to EDN and EE Times over the past year. Their work has broadened our understanding of the rapid advances in engineering and design and has inspired countless engineers to reach ever higher. With this goal in mind, we award the inaugural honor, posthumously, to Jim Williams, the consummate contributor, for both his content and the spirit in which he contributed it.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Gladwell: History Will Revere Gates, Forget Jobs,2817,2405562,00.asp

    Malcolm Gladwell has stirred up quite the controversy in tech circles with an off-the-cuff remark that history will remember Bill Gates fondly while Steve Jobs slips into obscurity.

    Speaking at the Toronto Public Library’s Appel Salon last month, the author of The Tipping Point and Outliers likened Gates’ charitable work to the German armaments maker Oskar Schindler’s famous efforts to save his Jewish workers from the gas chambers during World War II.

    Gates, who stepped down from his role as head of Microsoft several years ago to devote himself to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other charitable and advisory work, will be remembered as a giant among entrepreneurs a few decades from now, according to Gladwell.

    Jobs, who is currently revered for co-founding Apple and then returning to the company to rescue it from irrelevance before his death with a series of hugely popular products like the iPhone and iPad, will be largely forgotten, the author said.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Slideshow: Remembering Jim Williams and Bob Pease–Remembering-Jim-Williams-and-Bob-Pease

    Here is an awesome tribute to Bob Pease and Jim Williams

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    What Do the H-Bomb and the Internet Have in Common? Paul Baran

    Paul Baran set out to build a means of communication that could survive a nuclear war. And he ended up inventing the fundamental networking techniques that underpin the internet.

    In 1964, he published a paper on this system — entitled “On Distributed Communications” — and a few years later, it would play into the development of the ARPAnet, the research network that would eventually morph into the modern internet.

    Paul Baran passed away in March 2011, but his work lives on — in more ways than one. Earlier this year, he was part of the inaugural class inducted into the Internet Society’s (ISOC) Internet Hall of Fame, taking his place alongside such names a Vint Cerf, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, and Ray Tomlinson.

    Baran’s research foretold what became known as “packet-switching,” the basic method for moving information across the internet — and, before it, the ARPAnet.

    “Paul Baran deserves credit of having conceived this notion and showing what it could possibly do and how beneficial it could be,” says Vint Cerf, one of the primary figures behind the creation of the ARPAnet.

    Paul Baran’s research marked a fundamental turning point in the way networks were built. And they’re still built that way.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    How Steve Jobs’ Legacy Has Changed

    “… in the 12 months since, as high-profile books have probed Jobs’ life and career, that reputation has evolved somewhat. Nobody has questioned Jobs’ seismic impact on computing and our communication culture. But as writers have documented Jobs’ often callous, controlling personality, a fuller portrait of the mercurial Apple CEO has emerged. ”

    “He was notoriously difficult to please and viewed people and products in black and white terms. They were either brilliant or ‘sh-t.’”

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    First C compiler pops up on Github
    Nostalgic value only unless you have a PDP-11 handy

    f you have a nostalgic turn of mind, there’s a new posting over on Github that you’ll just love: the earliest known C compiler by the legendary Dennis Ritchie has been published on the repository.

    It’s not new: long before his death in 2011, Ritchie wrote about the effort to find, recover and preserve the early work on C here.

    Even as far back as 2001, the effort to recover the earliest life of one of the world’s most important programming languages was considered computer industry palaeontology.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Who can carry on Jim Williams’ and Bob Pease’s work?–and-Bob-Pease-s-work-

    Another Jim or Bob? Why not a Heather or a Bonnie? Let’s take a good look at some women in engineering who are capable of filling the void that these two icons left.

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Jim Williams: The light side and classic electronics art sculptures–The-light-side-and-classic-electronics-art-sculptures

    Jim Williams had the unique ability to integrate his different talents in science, art, inventing and engineering and to bring forth easily understandable tutorials, app notes and tech phone conversations with customers that enabled better designs to emanate from the field of electronics designers

    the wit and artistic side of Williams

  15. tomi says:

    Retrotechtacular: Bell Labs introduces a thing called ‘UNIX’

    Modern operating systems may seem baroque in their complexity, but nearly every one of them – except for Windows, natch – are based on the idea of simplicity and modularity. This is the lesson that UNIX taught us, explained perfectly in a little film from Bell Labs in 1982 starring giants of computation, [Dennis Ritchie], [Ken Thompson], [Brian Kernighan], and others.

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Does Steve Jobs know how to code?


    Steve didn’t ever code. He wasn’t an engineer and he didn’t do any original design, but he was technical enough to alter and change and add to other designs.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    “This is why Steve Jobs was fired from Apple”

    Prior to his second term at Apple’s founder Steve Jobs was fired his own company. Claimed by John Sculley has now told Forbes event in their own version of what really happened at Apple.

    Steve Jobs’ dismissal of his self-founded the company’s management has been considered as one of the worst in the history of the company’s decisions. In 1983, Jobs lured Pepsi to Apple CEO John Sculley top. In 1985, the men, however, a conflict arose between, and Apple’s board of directors settled Sculley side. Later, Jobs left the company.

    Soup originated from Apple’s revolutionary Macintosh operating a difficult start of the journey.

    Sculley that Jobs deeply depressed about this. Later, he came to Sculley’s house and proposed significant changes.

    Sculley threatened to take the matter to the board, and so he did. Apple’s board of directors to investigate the matter and ended up Sculley position. Steve Jobs was decided to move the company out of the page, and the role of the Macintosh development work. As a result, Jobs left Apple a later date.

    He admits that at the time he did not understood enough of the new technology development and its management. Sculley took the matter from the perspective of a listed company director. He believes that if the Board had acted differently, the dispute could have been reconciled.

    Sculley regrets contribute more to it, that he asked for besides Jobs back to Apple in the 1990s. Later, in place of turned the other way around. Sculley got kicked out of Apple, and the time Steve Jobs returned to the company.


  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Here’s How Steve Jobs Helped Invent Cloud Computing, According To Marc Benioff CEO Marc Benioff is often credited with inventing cloud computing or at least the form of it known as software-as-a-service (SaaS), where an app is delivered over the Internet.

    Other people say that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison invented SaaS cloud computing, as he was the inspiration and the financial backer for both and NetSuite.

    But on Tuesday at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, Benioff talked about his other mentor: Steve Jobs and his role in shaping

    Benioff idolized Jobs.

    “Steve Jobs was a huge mentor. There would be no without Steve Jobs,” Benioff said on Tuesday.

    Benioff had to build up the nerve the first time he called Jobs for advice, he said. “I’m having trouble at and I want to come see you,” Benioff told him on the phone.

    Jobs agreed and Benioff told Jobs everything about his plans for his startup. “I rolled out the whole corporate strategy” he said.

    Benioff asked him, “What’s an application economy, Steve?” and Jobs told him, “I don’t know but you need to figure it out.”

    It took Benioff months to puzzle it out. Eventually, he realized that he needed to turn into a platform and build an app store for it.

    Benioff planned to call it “App Store.” He bought “” and registered the trademark. Then he changed his mind and in 2006 launched it as “App Exchange.”

    Two years later, Benioff was in the audience at the Apple event where Steve Jobs said he was launching the “most important thing Apple ever done.” This was something called the App Store, which is where iPhone users could buy third-party apps for their device.

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Myth of Steve Jobs’ Constant Breakthroughs
    Most of Apple’s improvements have always been incremental — and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    Just about everybody, I suspect, will agree that the original iPod (2001), iPhone (2007) and iPad (2010) changed industries forever. (If you take issue with that assessment, I’d love to hear your reasoning.) The original iMac (1998) did, too; you could make the case that it was a triumph of packaging and marketing rather than technology, but its influence is still felt today.

    Two Apple services also had impact of historic proportions: the iTunes Music Store (2003) and App Store (2008).

    Read more:

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Steve Jobs Remembered by Woz, Bushnell

    Think big. That was a main message from veteran entrepreneurs Steve Wozniak and Nolan Bushnell in a freewheeling session at the inaugural Create Converge Silicon Valley (C2SV) event here, San Jose’s answer to South By Southwest (SXSW).

    The two recalled Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and the history of the PC and spoke on the future of education in a freewheeling session. At the start of his career, Jobs worked for Bushnell at Atari whose early games machines inspired Wozniak to design the first Apple personal computers. Seeking its first investment, Jobs offered Bushnell an early stake in Apple, but Bushnell declined.

    “The deal I remember turning down was an investment of $50,000 — I could have a third of Apple,” Bushnell said.

    “Steve [Jobs] was trying to pressure me to use fewer chips — down to 40 from 50 — so we could make more money from the design,” Woz said. “I got it down to 42, but it went back to 45 before it ran well,” he said.

    Although he declined to invest in Apple or use its prototype, Bushnell expressed admiration for Wozniak’s work on the Apple II. “All by himself [Wozniak] did a more prescient design than we did — the whole idea of eight expansion slots was so prescient about the future of the business,” Bushnell said.

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Julian Robertson sells Apple because Steve Jobs was ‘mean’

    Though billionaire Julian Robertson once considered Apple to be one of the world’s greatest companies and a sound investment, the renowned hedge funder told CNBC on Monday he has dumped all shares because founder Steve Jobs was a “really awful” person.

    Robertson came to the decision after reading a biography about the technology innovator, he said. Though the stock performed well for him, he decided to sell all his shares in January.

    “We’ll let somebody else make the money from now on,” he said on “Closing Bell.”

    “I came to the conclusion that it was unlikely that a man as really awful as I think that Steve Jobs was could possibly create a great company for the long term,”

    “I think he’s one of the great geniuses of the world. But he’s not the kind of guy I think that would develop a long-standing company.”

    Saturday was the second anniversary of Jobs’ death.

  22. Tomi says:

    Steve Jobs: Apple founder a sexist bully, a skinflint and a liar says Chrisann Brennan, former partner

    The ex-girlfriend of Steve Jobs says in her tell-all biography that he could behave even more appallingly than anyone ever supposed

    He was the billionaire crown prince of Silicon Valley, hailed across the world as the ablest chief executive of his generation and a visionary model to young entrepreneurs aspiring to greatness.

    Yet behind closed doors, Steve Jobs could be a sexist bully, a skinflint and a pathological liar who behaved appallingly, according to a forthcoming memoir by the first girlfriend of the Apple boss.

    In a candid account of their on-off relationship through the 1970s, Chrisann Brennan, the mother of Jobs’s eldest child, depicts an “emotional vortex” of a man badly scarred by his childhood.

    The Apple chief, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2011 at the age of 56, is repeatedly accused of wrongdoing in The Bite in the Apple, due to be published in the United States this month.

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Steve Jobs Lives on at the Patent Office
    Years after his death, the former Apple CEO still wins patents.

    What is Steve Jobs’s legacy? Here’s one measure: since his death in 2011 from pancreatic cancer, the former Apple CEO has won 141 patents. That’s more than most inventors win during their lifetimes.

    Jobs was closely involved in the details of many Apple products, and some of his inventions are still working their way through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The large number of them reflect Apple’s intense efforts to patent every aspect of its products, no matter how small, something Jobs himself encouraged.

    Altogether, a third of the 458 patented inventions and designs credited to Jobs have been approved since he died.

  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Bryan Bishop / The Verge:
    The new Steve Jobs documentary is an unforgiving look at tech’s most complicated man

    The day that Steve Jobs died, people around the world flocked to Apple Stores in a sort of spontaneous mass pilgrimage. They left letters and signs, holding up iPhones and iPads in tribute. Director Alex Gibney shows the event early on in his new documentary Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, and it stirred up a flurry of emotions in me, because I was one of those people.

    Rather than going for a chronological history of Jobs’ life, Gibney has created a documentary that is about his own dawning awareness of the many facets of Jobs, starting from Gibney’s initial status as a card-carrying iPhone fetishist (he likens his phone to the One Ring early in the film).

    It’s encapsulated best by early Macintosh director of engineering Bob Belleville. He describes being hired away from Xerox — Jobs told him that everything he’d worked on up until that point had been “shit” — and how working at Apple destroyed his marriage and pushed him away from his children.

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    How Steve Jobs reacted when a top Apple executive left for a competing company

    Read more:

  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    How Steve Jobs Tamed His Explosive Genius

    One thing has become exceedingly clear in the run-up to the new biography Becoming Steve Jobs: The people closest to Steve Jobs do not like that other biography of Steve Jobs. And with this one, they’re eager to set the record straight.

    The criticism for Walter Isaacson’s official biography, which was rushed to press following Jobs’ death in 2011, has flowed steadily from Apple’s inner-sanctum in the weeks preceding the new book’s release.

    “It was just a rehash of a bunch of stuff that had already been written, and focused on small parts of his personality,” Cook is quoted as saying. “You get the feeling that he’s a greedy, selfish egomaniac. It didn’t capture the person.”

    The new book lets many of Jobs’ closest colleagues give their own take on his legacy. It’s a highly favorable account of his gifts, acknowledging some of Jobs’ well-documented flaws while often seeking to minimize them. More than anything, it sets out to show how Jobs grew over the years, becoming both a more effective CEO and, at least in some ways, a gentler person. That last bit is debatable, but you could say this: The book convincingly traces a trajectory from a young man whose ego and monomania repeatedly thwarted his ambition to an older one who was occasionally a jerk but mostly just because he was burning to get things done. As Jim Collins, bestselling business author, says of Jobs in the book: “He’s not a success story. He’s a growth story.”

  27. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Dan Gillmor / Slate:
    Neither of the Steve Jobs biographies gives enough attention to uglier episodes like the anti-poaching conspiracy, and attacks on journalism

    The Cult of Steve

    Why Apple insiders are so worked up over two admiring Steve Jobs biographies.

  28. Tomi Engdahl says:

    “Jobs” vs. “Steve Jobs”: Hollywood Takes Another Stab At Telling the Steve Jobs Story

    Didn’t like Jobs , the 2013 biopic about the life of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher? Maybe you’ll prefer Steve Jobs, the 2015 biopic about the life of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs starring Michael Fassbender.

    Steve Jobs Is a Tech Visionary, Total Dick in the Steve Jobs Trailer
    Michael Fassbender inhabits the Apple mastermind

    A group of programmers and engineers designed the first Apple computer in a garage. An even larger team executed the Apple II. Billions of dollars went into creating the iPhone. Steve Jobs got all the credit. In the first seconds of the new trailer for Steve Jobs, a biopic from director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) and writer Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network), Steve Wozniak wonders exactly what Jobs did to deserve it.

    “Musicians play their instruments,” Jobs says. “I play the orchestra.”

    Michael Fassbender plays the technological artist with diabolical precision. He’s terrifying. Alongisde Fassbender are: Seth Rogen, stepping up his dramatic game as Wozniak, Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman, former marketing chief of Macintosh, and Jeff Daniels as Apple CEO John Sculley, and Inherent Vice actress Katherine Waterston as Chrisann Brennan, Jobs’ ex-girlfriend and mother of his estranged child.

  29. Tomi Engdahl says:

    You Have an iPhone, Thanks to the Son of Syrian Migrant

    What those grumbling about the influx of Syrian migrants crossing into their borders fail to consider is their lives have been irreversibly changed by the son of a Syrian migrant, Steve Jobs. A tech pioneer has succeeded in bringing global attention to this fact with a short but sweet tweet, which as of Friday afternoon, had already earned more than 5,000 retweets.


    A Reminder That A Syrian Migrant’s Son Gave Us The iPhone
    Europe’s xenophobes should think twice.

  30. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Steve Jobs left Apple on his own, wasn’t forced out, Wozniak says
    By Sam Oliver
    Sunday, September 13, 2015, 08:53 pm PT (11:53 pm ET)

    The popular narrative that Steve Jobs was removed from Apple by board fiat after losing a war for control with then-CEO John Sculley is not entirely accurate, according to Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

    “Steve Jobs wasn’t pushed out of the company. He left,” Wozniak wrote on Facebook. “After the Macintosh failure it’s fair to assume that Jobs left out of his feeling of greatness, and embarrassment about not having achieved it.”

    Wozniak’s comments came in the midst of a larger discussion centering on the new Aaron Sorkin-penned, Danny Boyle-led movie about Jobs’s life that is set to hit theatres next month. Wozniak has praised that film — for which he consulted — as the best screen adaptation of Jobs and Apple since 1999′s Pirates of Silicon Valley.

  31. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Steve Jobs never would have done that at Apple

    Stubborn, brilliant, dead. These are words one might use to describe Steve Jobs, perhaps not always in that order.

    Jobs, gone almost 4 years now, had a certain way about him. There were things he did and things he would never do

    Here are a few things Jobs was sour on but have been or could be sweet for Apple:

    Stylus: Like a No. 2 pencil, but a lot more expensive
    Consumers like big phones, and sales do not lie
    Smaller size, no sandpaper required
    Philanthropic giving and profitability
    Suits mix with engineers

  32. Tomi Engdahl says:

    How Apple lost its way: Steve Jobs’ love of simplicity is gone

    Ken Segall, who worked alongside the tech giant’s co-founder, says company’s incredible growth was rooted in his love of simplicity – but things have changed

    Apple’s stellar growth was rooted in Steve’s love of simplicity.

    This love – you might call it obsession – could be seen in Apple’s hardware, software, packaging, marketing, retail store design, even the company’s internal organization.

    But that was four years ago.

    A growing number of people are sensing that Tim Cook’s Apple isn’t as simple as Steve’s Apple. They see complexity in expanding product lines, confusing product names, and the products themselves.

    Is this just perception, or is it reality?

    Steve Jobs, master of simplicity

    First, we need to get one critical fact out of the way: Steve Jobs cannot be replaced. He had the credibility of the founder, extraordinary instinct, vision and energy, and he could make things happen by sheer force of will. It’s just not possible for Apple to be the same without him – but it can still succeed.

    Tim Cook has a different style. Remember, he was handpicked by Steve to be Apple’s next leader, and he certainly knows how to make Apple run efficiently. He also recognizes that he doesn’t have Steve’s many talents, so he relies on the expertise of others in those areas where he is less experienced – such as product design and marketing.

    That’s where things get a little more complicated. Steve’s vision, strength and charisma made him the benevolent dictator

    Markets mature. A bigger audience has more diverse needs. If Apple were to ignore those needs, they would only force customers to go elsewhere. (As they did for several years by not making a big-screen iPhone.)

    So, yes, Apple’s product lines have become more complicated. But really, are they that complicated? The company’s entire selection of products can easily fit on an average-size table

    Critics have had a field day complaining about the growing complexity of Apple software.
    Apple’s ability to make software solid and simple has come under attack from a number of normally pro-Apple sites.

    The fact is, even the best of companies make mistakes from time to time. What’s alarming the Apple crowd today is that the flaws and complexities now seem to be creeping into the products more frequently.

    Once upon a time, Apple’s product naming was extremely simple. Computers were Macs and consumer products were i-devices.

    Does simplicity still rule at Apple?

    I have zero doubt that Apple believes deeply in the power of simplicity. Simplicity is at the heart of the company’s products and the foundation of its vision for the future.

    But simplicity is a matter of perception


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