(You're reading all posts by Leander Kahney) Leander Kahney is the editor and publisher of Cult of Mac. He is the NYT bestselling author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products; Inside Steve’s Brain; Cult of Mac; and Cult of iPod. Leander has written for Wired, MacWeek, Scientific American, and The Guardian in London. Follow Leander on Twitter @lkahney and Facebook.
About Leander Kahney
SAN FRANCISCO — Apple is blocking the donation of 30-year-old documents to a museum, claiming they contain valuable trade secrets.
“It’s silly,” said Hartmut Esslinger, the design guru recruited to help Apple become a leader in design in the early 1980s.
Speaking at a Jony Ive book launch party on Thursday night, Esslinger explained that Apple has prevented him from donating some historical old documents to a museum.
Esslinger’s design firm, Frog Design, was hired by Steve Jobs to bring world-class design to Apple. Esslinger’s “Snow White” design language, characterized by elegant off-white plastic cases, influenced the entire computer industry for more than a decade.
Steve Jobs was a genius — no doubt about that. Apple was six months from bankruptcy when he took over as CEO in 1997. Under his leadership, Apple became one of the world’s most powerful companies, the most trusted brand, and disrupted entire industries. He didn’t have an easy career. He spent many years in the wilderness, and even when Apple was bouncing back, he didn’t get the credit he deserved. It was only late in his career, after the iPhone became a smash hit, that he started to be lionized as a business genius. And after his death, he was deified.
But was it all Steve Jobs? Is the company doomed without him? What happens when one man gets all the credit? The truth is more complex. Apple wouldn’t be Apple without Steve Jobs, but it wasn’t just him. Jobs didn’t design anything, and he didn’t write any code. The creative work was done by others, though he had a hand in guiding it.
I had a jokey book trailer made to promote my new book about Jony Ive, Apple’s head designer. And Apple’s had it pulled off YouTube!
The video wasn’t even public. It was unlisted. I offered a sneak peek to readers who pre-ordered the book, which is being released next Thursday November 14.
The video pokes fun at Jony Ive, Apple and myself. But last night I got an email from Google saying that it had been disabled because of a copyright claim from Apple.
I had hoped that the video was protected by fair use. The rules of fair use are ambiguous, but in general, you are allowed to remix and re-use previous material, as long as the resulting work is “transformative.” If it adds “new expression or meaning” to the original, then it’s fair use. I think the book trailer did. It’s a classic remix of several previous Apple product videos. A parody. And parody is a form of expression generally protected from copyright claims.
SAN FRANCISCO — Apple went from being chump of the tech world to champ, and what was the product that turned it all around?
That was the question posed to a panel of ex-Apple designers at a special event here in the city.
The answers might surprise you.
I’m pleased to formally introduce my new book on Apple’s head designer, Sir Jonathan Ive — Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products.
Published by Penguin Portfolio on November 14, it’s the first full-length biography of the worlds’ most-celebrated designer.
I’m super psyched about it. It turned out great. I managed to talk to a bunch of inside sources, who reveal some of Apple’s most guarded secrets about how the company really works.
I picked up one of Apple’s new iPad Airs on Friday. I didn’t think I’d be impressed — but I am. It’s light, fast, and beautifully constructed. Is it the perfect tablet? It’s pretty close. Here’s all you need to know:
- It’s amazingly light. It almost feels hollow. It’s much lighter than you expect. Which means that it’s effortless to hold for reading and carrying around. It’s a big and important difference. It’s super portable.
- It’s plenty fast. Annoying little lags on previous iPads — like slow rendering Web pages with multiple tabs — are gone. It’s much more useable than my iPad 3.
- Battery life is great — more than 10 hours of continuous use.
And there you have it. It’s almost as light as the iPad mini with the speed and big, beautiful screen of a full-size tablet. Go get one. It’s great.
The term “planned obsolescence” has achieved negative connotations, but it originally referred to a long-standing tradition of changing designs to sell more products.
It was coined by the car industry in the 1930s to refer to annual model updates. Over the years, however, the term has taken on a darker meaning. But planned obsolescence is a good thing. It’s the driving force behind much innovation.
This morning, New York Times reporter Catherine Rampell accused Apple of breaking her old iPhone 4 with the iOS7 update, which made it unbearably slow. “It seemed like Apple was sending me a not-so-subtle message to upgrade,” she wrote in a piece entitled, Why Apple Wants to Bust Your iPhone.
According to Rampell, Apple is feeling the heat from Samsung, HTC and others, and is resorting to sabotaging older iPhones with a software update and force users to upgrade their hardware.
This is bullshit from every angle. The iOS7 upgrade isn’t obligatory, it’s voluntary, and pissing off customers isn’t a good way to keep them as customers. There’s no mention that Apple sold a record-smashing 33.8 million iPhones last quarter.
Truth is, Apple’s products are so far ahead of the curve, it’s a constant criticism leveled at the company: that it is a willing practitioner of planned obsolescence.
Talk show host Conan O’Brien asked comedian Louis C.K. why his his kids won’t be getting “phones with the apps.” Louis C.K explains — pretty convincingly — why smartphones are “toxic” and bad for your soul. It’s pretty funny.
The gold iPhone 5s is in very short supply. Apple has already sold out, and is unlikely to get them in volume for weeks to come. They are hard to come by. Many of Apple’s flagship stores received only a few units while many stores had none.
The rarity is reflected on eBay. there are a handful of gold iPhones for sale, ranging from $1,6 One gold iPhone 5s on sale is priced at a whopping $1,800 on eBay. Another is a tad cheaper at $1,699.
How much would you pay for a gold iPhone?
With the launch of two new iPhones, Apple’s top designer Jonathan Ive granted very rare back-to-back interviews with USA Today and Bloomberg Businessweek.
Having read everything he’s ever said in preparation for my book about him (due mid-November), I recognized the usual Jony Ive talking points; the striving for simplicity, the importance of caring, and so on.
But there are a couple of paragraphs in the USA Today that especially gave me a strong sense of Deja vu.