Apple gets Cook’d

Holy shit. White is thin.

This week there was an Apple “launch event” with new CEO Tim Cook at the helm. Weather conditions were perfect and the launch went off without a hitch. The iPhone 4S is now safely in orbit at 347 miles above the surface of the Earth and traveling at a speed of 25,000 feet per second.

The iPhone must already be running HangTime, the best iPhone app ever made. Bar none.

Commander Tim Cook went solo on this mission and the world was ready to eviscerate his bowels based on the fact (not speculation) that he isn’t Steve Jobs.

So, aside from his product safely achieving low Earth orbit – how did it go?

If I were to offer a one-word review of all the so-called reviewers of the event and the product itself, it would be this: brutal.

CEO, I served with Steve Jobs, I knew Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs was a friend of mine. CEO, you’re no Steve Jobs.
–Crass Media, paraphrased

Wow. Thanks for the brilliant insight. Is this an example of how the media works? Try to imagine what everyone else will say, throw caution into the wind, and say the exact same thing yourself? Mmm, I love the smell of Pulitzer in the morning!

It’s all based on the premise that every little thing Apple farts out of its ass has to be a quantum leap gold nugget over what came before. Anything less is instantly deemed a dismal failure.

What? It’s called the iPhone 4S and not the iPhone 5? Holy fucking shit! Curse you, Apple! You just ruined my life!

CNET: “Surprise: the iPhone 4S looks just like the iPhone 4. Disappointing? Sure.”

CNET: “A new iPhone that looks like the old iPhone? Really?”

BetaNews: “S in 4S Means ‘Same'”

International Business Times: “Apple iPhone 5 Not Announced, Fans Voice Displeasure”

ConceivablyTech: “It’s a harsh sentence an [sic] implies that Apple missed an opportunity to pull ahead with another wave of sizeable innovation.”

Reuters: “Without Jobs, Apple’s gap with rivals could narrow”

ZDNet: “It’s The Great iPhone 5 Launch, Charlie Brown!”

iPod nano Lesson

The 4S approach is tactical rather than visionary. When in better health, Jobs took radical risks, often to thwart copy-cat competitors and show them up. The original iPod nano is classic example. Apple killed off iPod mini in September 2005 at the height of popularity and replaced it with the diminutive nano. Copy-cat mini’s were just reaching store shelves for the holidays, and suddenly they looked like last year’s model and simply gigantic alongside iPod nano. It was a huge marketing and logistical coup and showed exceptional brilliance.

Cook’s early tenure is marked not by risk but sameness. Apple launched new iPods yesterday that look like the old ones. It’s another safe, logistical bet, but with a difference: iPod owns the portable media player market. iPhone is fighting for dominance. The original mini and nano were risks that led to huge spikes in iPod sales. A radically inventive iPhone 5 could have done something similar for Apple smartphone sales. Instead, Cook chose sameness, leveraging logistical strengths, instead. Competitors can sigh in relief, because Apple didn’t pull an iPod nano on the smartphone market.


I can’t help but try to imagine what this mythical quantum leap in iPhone is supposed to look like. That’s the rub, isn’t it? Tim Cook was supposed to whip out something so visionary that people can’t even imagine what it might be. Think that’s easy? “Oh yeah, here it is. I almost forgot. I keep it in my ass. Viola!”

If it was so easy, everyone would be doing it. You know, like copying ever single thing about iPhones.

Rumored features of the nextgen uber-visionary quantum leap iPhone 5:

  • Micro-sized to fit under your fingernail
  • Responds to voice commands or by tapping morse code on any surface
  • Available in traditional black, new fangled white, or fruit colors: lime, strawberry, blueberry, grape, and tangerine
  • Fast-Wallet technology for swipe debit purchases at retail outlets and gas stations
  • Holoscreen retina display projector with 4.2 trillion megapixels
  • WiFi, bluetooth, firewire and 50G broadband support
  • 32TB storage (holds 32,768 billion 4 minute songs)
  • Miniaturized electron collider technology
  • Black hole inducer
  • Full power phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range
  • Personal site-to-site transporter signal (requires remote transporter room)
  • New apps supported: iPickLock (will open car door, dead bolt, safe), iTaser (shocks people up to 20 feet away), iGravity (produces a variable G anti-grav field in a 5′ radius) and iXrayGlasses (see people naked!), and iBacon (set phone near raw bacon, set desired crispiness, and bacon will be cooked to perfection)
  • Price: $49.95 USA (Made in China by people who are now dead)
  • May contain some chemicals and substances known to the State of California to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity

And let’s say they actually made that thing? Think about what they’d have to make next to avoid nextgen criticism then. Wowzers.

There’s no pleasing some people. The iPhone 4S represents the best of the smart phone genre the world has ever seen, and it’s from the company that invented the bloody thing. Not copycat companies who stole invention from someone else, tweaked it and put their own stamp on it. Is the iPhone 4S a quantum leap over the iPhone 4? No. Some call it an “incremental” improvement. But if you crave a smart phone, what are you going to buy? An iPhone 4S or an iPhone 4?

We’re a comparison-hungry people. Rather than evaluate a product or CEO on their own merits, we’ll decide how they measure based on comparisons to what came before. iPhone 4S, sir, you are no iPhone 4. Tim Cook, sir, you are no Steve Jobs.

6 responses

  1. I felt pretty badly for Cook in this — a) he has to go out and try to wow with something that compared to their previous product isn’t all that wow-y, and b) the guy he’ll NEVER EVER LIVE UP TO goes and dies causing a week’s worth of homages and remembrances. There’s a reason that John Adams isn’t on any money.

    Also, I’ve been finding the whole Jobs beatification pretty creepy. I mean, he was a ruthless CEO that made billions selling you gadgets that were pretty. Bill Gates makes billions selling you software that isn’t pretty but gets the job done worldwide and gives billions back philanthropically and he’s despised like George Lucas.


    1. I’m pleased to get some response to this post. It was decidedly NOT intended as anything anti-Jobs. I actually find myself a little sad about his passing.

      I also feel for Tim Cook. One thought keeps crossing my brain. Jobs had faith in Cook. Maybe the rest of the world can give him a chance.

      I guess the real question isn’t about the iPhone 4S at all. It is this: Will Tim Cook get the chance to make his own mark, or will he be disposed of because he isn’t Jobs?


  2. But didn’t they establish a sort of enhance, then surge big pattern when they went from the 3 to 3gs?

    I’m up for an upgrade…still not sure if the best move is low price 4 or the 4s. Either is going to be my first move into smartphone world


    1. I have to admit I’m not totally up on the phone thing. I hate phones. In my opinion, that fact that the iPhone contains an actual phone is quite the deal breaker. 🙂

      I prefer a devices like the iPod Touch or the iPad that have no phone and still do lots of fun things without data plans. I’m fine with my little device living within the limited WiFi bubble. Only rarely is the lack of WiFi ever a problem.

      I hope that Apple will continue to bring products for the phone-hater genre.


  3. Okay, Bill Gates didn’t do squat until his wife, Melissa, pushed him to “give back” to improve his image. Steve Jobs’ legacy will live on. He was a visionary. I can’t believe how many people have come on my blog with the search terms, “Was Steve Jobs a Narcissist?” He was a perfectionist, and at times was extremely difficult to work for/with, but that’s because he had a vision and didn’t suffer fools. He was prickly. He was human. People who ask this question are forgetting that the hallmark of narcissism is “Magical Thinking.” Steve Jobs’ was not about smoke and mirrors. He delivered. And delivered. And delivered. He was the real deal.


    1. When I think of Bill Gates, I think “businessman” first and “flim flam man.” I think never before in the history of humans has a product so flawed been so successful. Gates’ product succeeded in spite of itself.

      When I think of Steve Jobs, like you, I think “visionary.”


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