Ellen once called Steve Jobs to gripe about her iPhone


Ellen_DeGeneres 1
Would you behave any different if you had Apple's CEO on speed dial?
Photo: Toglenn/Wikipedia CC

Lately, all kinds of stories have circulated online about TV host Ellen DeGeneres not exactly being the nicest person in Hollywood. But one mentioned in a recent New York Post article had an Apple tie-in.

According to the article, Ellen once phoned up none other than Steve Jobs himself to complain that the font size was too small on the iPhone after she lost her glasses and was unable to read the screen.

The article, published Saturday, tells the following story:

“A former associate producer recalled being in Ellen’s office several years ago when the star lost her glasses and couldn’t read a text on her iPhone.

‘She stopped everything and made a call,’ the producer said. ‘Next thing we know, we literally hear [Apple CEO] Steve Jobs pick up and say ‘Hi, Ellen’ … Ellen told him the iPhone should have a bigger font. That’s her. It’s not that she’s some demon. She just lives in an incredibly privileged bubble and is out of touch with the real world.”

Unfortunately, the alleged anecdote doesn’t contain any more details on what happened next. It’s therefore not clear whether this could potentially have sparked Apple to introduce the feature on iOS. (Apple has listened to outside advice like this before, such as when a person emailing Tim Cook about the low quality hold music on Apple’s helpline seemingly prompted Apple to change this.)

Another alternative that’s kind of fun to consider is the idea of Jobs patiently talking Ellen through the steps to change font size in the iOS options. (Again, this basic troubleshooting is something Apple CEOs have done before. Recently, investor Warren Buffett said Tim Cook gave him a personal — unsuccessful — lesson on how to make calls on the iPhone.)

Would Steve Jobs have behaved any different to Ellen?

If anecdotes are to be believed, however, this behavior wouldn’t have surprised Steve Jobs too much. In Alan Deutschman’s 2001 book The Second Coming of Steve Jobs, the author recounts how Jobs phoned the president of the Bank of America to set up a new bank account.

“Steve always believed in starting at the top,” Deutschman wrote. “And with his extraordinary fame, he could start at the top. The head of the nation’s largest bank was happy to see him, even ostensibly for the most comically trivial of matters, which they could have easily handled at any local suburban branch office.”