Walter Isaacson, a.k.a the author of the gajillion-selling 2011 Steve Jobs biography, says that Apple is “long overdue” coming out with its next great innovation; speaking at a time when Apple stock continues to fall in the wake of declining iPhone sales.
“I got the [Apple Watch], but I don’t use it that much,” Isaacson told CNBC. “I don’t think the watch is the next big thing.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Isaacson puts the decline down to the fact that Apple is lacking an “unbelievable visionary like a Steve Jobs,” who was not only able to play a part in helping create devices like the iPod, iPhone and iPad, but could also convince the public that they needed them.
However, Isaacson stops short of dissing Apple’s current executive team, saying that “Tim Cook is a great CEO,” and that the leadership team Jobs put in place at Apple was his greatest accomplishment.
It’s worth pointing out that Walter Isaacson, despite being the man chosen to write Steve Jobs’ biography, and one of the few journalists allowed an extended deep dive inside Apple, isn’t an unabashed cheerleader for the company. Previously he has claimed that Google is out-pacing Apple on innovation, while he also praised the script for Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs movie (which was based on Isaacson’s own book) — despite the fact that it was not exactly complimentary of Apple’s late co-founder.
Apple hasn’t been too shy about firing shots over Isaacson’s bows either: both Tim Cook and Jony Ive have expressed disdain for Isaacson’s Jobs biography, with Ive saying that, “My regard [for it] couldn’t be any lower.”
Critics will certainly point out that Isaacson has also been criticized for not really understanding Apple’s culture or what exactly it does as a company: with his biography the recipient of this brutal but fascinating takedown by John Siracusa in an episode of his
So why does it matter what Isaacson says about it? In one sense, it doesn’t. Isaacson admits to not having any inside knowledge about what Apple has planned, and there is a logic gap in saying that Steve’s greatest achievement was putting his current executive team in place, but that this team turns out not to be doing a great job at innovating. But it also feeds into a wider media narrative about Apple collapsing, despite being a company which raked in a massive 40 percent of profits in Silicon Valley last year.
What do you think? Has Walter Isaacson got a point, or is the “Apple doesn’t innovate” narrative totally without merit? Leave your comments below.