Yesterday was the 5th anniversary of Steve Jobs’ death. A number of tributes to Steve popped up, including this recode post pulled together by Dan Frommer, highlighting interviews Steve did with Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg at the All Things Digital conference from 2003-2010.
Another bit of writing I enjoyed was this Medium Post entitled We miss Steve Jobs, by Christina Goodwin, Samantha Chaves, and Michael Histen.
One particular question from this post really resonated with me:
If Steve Jobs walked into Apple Computer now, which products would he nix? What’s the “one thing” Apple does well? I don’t have a good answer. That scares the shit out of me.
When Steve first came back to Apple, he famously drew a simple two-by-two grid, labeling the columns consumer and professional, and the rows desktop and portable. He used that grid to winnow the Mac product line down to four models, greatly simplifying the supply chain and sales process and making life significantly less confusing for the consumer.
Would that approach work in today’s Apple? Apple is not the same company that Steve came home to. Apple is now a dominant player, not a straggler searching for its identity. Apple has a vision associated with each product, each product has a distinct position in the ecosystem. And Apple is way profitable.
That said, there are some cloudy points. Which Mac is the light, low-cost laptop champion? Is it the MacBook? The MacBook Air? Is there a future for the Mac Pro?
And where is Apple heading with its connectors? Is MagSafe dead? Is USB-C the power connector of the future? Is the 3.5mm jack going to be removed from future laptops?
Will Apple fix iTunes? Will the Mac App Store and iOS App Store ever play by the same rules (you can sell an app outside the Mac App Store, not so iOS)? Are we heading towards a macOS/iOS singularity?
Just some food for thought.