A brief history of Steve Jobs’ automated factory at NeXT [Cook book leftovers]

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Inside Next Factory in Fremont
In 1990, Steve Jobs built another highly-automated factory, where robots did almost all of the assembly of NeXT computers.
Photo: Terrence McCarthy, used with permission.

Tim Cook book outtakes

This post was going to be part of my new book, Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level, but was cut for length or continuity. Over the next week or so, we will be publishing several more sections that were cut, focusing mostly on Apple’s manufacturing operations.

This is Part 2 of a two-part section on Apple’s misadventures in manufacturing. Part I is here.

Steve Jobs carried his dream of end-to-end control over manufacturing to NeXT, the company that Jobs founded after being booted out of Apple in 1985. It was here that he learned a tough lesson about manufacturing: that sometimes it’s more trouble than it is worth. Or, perhaps more kindly, that great manufacturing capabilities mean nothing if you don’t have a product people want to buy.

A brief history of Apple’s misadventures in manufacturing: Part 1 [Cook book outtakes]

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Apple Macintosh Factory of the future in Fremont
Steve Jobs built a highly automated Macintosh plant grandly called the "factory of the future."
Photo: Apple Maps

Tim Cook book outtakes This post was going to be part of my new book, Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level, but was cut for length. Over the next week or so, we will be publishing several more sections that were cut, focusing mostly on Apple’s manufacturing operations.

Steve Jobs always had a deep fascination with automated factories. He was first exposed to them during a trip to Japan in 1983. At the time, Apple had just created a new floppy disk drive called Twiggy. During a visit to Apple’s factory in San Jose, however, Jobs became irate when he discovered the high failure rate of Twiggy drives Apple was producing. More than half of them were rejected. Jobs threatened to fire everyone who worked at the factory

This dual iPhone and Apple Watch charger is a great AirPower alternative [Watch Store]

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ZENS Dual Watch Aluminum Wireless Charger for iPhone Xr iPhone Xs
The Zens Dual+Watch is all you need for charging.
Photo: Zens

Now that Apple’s AirPower charging mat has been cancelled, this dual iPhone and Apple Watch charger is perhaps the best alternative.

Like the AirPower, the Dual+Watch Aluminium Wireless Charger can charge three devices simultaneously, including the new wireless AirPods.

Introducing Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level

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Tim Cook book cover
Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Tim Cook is seriously underrated. Seven years after taking over as CEO from Steve Jobs, the narrative that he’s riding his predecessor’s coattails needs to change. It’s just not true.

Cook is his own man, transforming Apple in his own way. See Monday’s Apple credit card and subscription News+ app as examples, which are centered on customer privacy, a big Tim Cook mandate.

The company today is a better corporate citizen than it was in the past. And as a business, it’s firing on all cylinders. Cook is doing almost everything right. Some pundits are beginning to argue he’s Apple’s best CEO yet.

Apple’s new apps clearly reflect Tim Cook’s values [Opinion]

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Apple services
Part of the whole customer experience business model.
Photo: Apple

Watching Monday morning’s “It’s show time” keynote, I was struck by how much Tim Cook is stamping his values on what Apple is doing.

While writing a book about Cook last year, I accidentally stumbled on six values he has been championing at Apple:

  • Accessibility
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Inclusion and diversity
  • Privacy
  • Supplier responsibility

These are the things Cook has been pushing internally since taking over from Steve Jobs in 2011. These are the priorities of his leadership, reflecting the things he wants to get done and the internal values that guide what Apple employees do and how they do it.

Monday’s keynote was a chance to witness these values in action, to see the kinds of products and services his priorities are helping to create.

Turn your iPad into a mini iMac with this minimal stand [Review]

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Wiplabs Slope iPAd stand
Wiplabs Slope stand is a great way to keep your iPad off the sticky, messy countertop in the kitchen.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

My family tends to smear our kitchen countertops with all kinds of gunk. No one has ever heard of the words plate or cutting board. So taking an iPad into the kitchen is a risky proposition: It inevitably ends up in some sticky mess.

Enter the Slope: a nice-looking stand that keeps my iPad out harm’s way.

Made from anodized aluminum, the Slope is good for the kitchen, desk or bedside. It keeps your iPad out of the muck when cooking, or at the perfect angle for work.

Apple whips its gigantic global supply chain into shape [Opinion]

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Apple supply chain worker inspecting glass
Apple is really cleaning up its supply chain under Tim Cook.
Photo: Apple

Over the years, Apple took heavy criticism for employing an offshore supply chain rife with abuse. The company is still stained by the rash of worker suicides in 2010 at Foxconn, its main supplier.

But as Apple’s latest Supplier Responsibility report shows, the company continues to make remarkable strides to improve conditions for workers and the environment.

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PDF editor PDFelement Pro 6 for Mac works wonders with PDFs.
PDFelement works wonders with PDFs.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

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Dashlane app iOS
The Dashlane password manager app on iOS is good-looking and easy to use.
Photo: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac