February 14, 2012

Trying to Assess the Role of Apple as a Company


I started this series of posts with my review of the Steve Jobs Biography. Walter Isaacson, the writer of the biography, was indubitably impressed with Steve Jobs as a person, and with Apple a a company. While I am also impressed with certain accomplishments of Jobs and of Apple, I don't think that all of the inventions that Isaacson mentions in the biography as world changing really are.
For example the iPod never really made it from where I'm standing, and the iPad is an OK tablet, but I doubt that it will be a major tablet in say five years. The role of Apple and Jobs in portable music players as well as in tablet devices is of innovation and popularization for sure. They are the first company who really made money on these things, but ultimately they are not the ones making most of the money on them.
The same goes for the mac computer and the mouse aided Graphical User Interface (BTW, Malcolm Gladwell makes some really interesting points about this story). They made the macs, but the person who really popularized the Graphical User Interface is none other than Bill Gates. I doubt he'll get a fancy book after he dies, and maybe that is why I plan to discuss my life with Microsoft Computers starting next week.
So What is Apple's greatest product? I think it's the Apple ][, the computer that started the Personal Computer industry, and embraced open technologies!