Of course, particularly in the dark times of the mid 90’s, Steve had to aggressively remind people in key positions at the company to snap out of their bad habits forged in his absence….to rigorously enforce his renewed principles of focus (no more dozens of different Mac models; just four: consumer desktop, consumer laptop, pro desktop & pro laptop), uniqueness (no more generic beige boxes — the translucent colored iMac embodied this principle), and doing things the NeXT way instead of the “old Apple” way.
In those early years after his return, Steve inevitably had to play the role that everyone sees as inseparable from the man himself: that of the enforcer, the “visionary” who will snap you in half if he thinks you’re not understanding what he needs you to understand. To get the true Apple back on the rails, he had to apply a lot of force….but after the iPhone shipped and the Intel transition was complete, that course correction had been fully realized.
Don’t get us wrong, Apple can’t possibly be the same place without Steve. It can, however, continue to do more than just succeed — it can, and will, dominate.
As we have been saturated by nostalgia and the intensity of looking back, we’ve also been receiving some of the most amazing dirt to ever cross our desks. If anyone is thinking that 2009 will be a period of coasting on existing momentum for Apple, a year that will see little to no new products of note….they couldn’t be more wrong. With or without Steve to introduce them, more new products will be introduced this year than ever before and they will be of a caliber that simply cannot be overstated.
The timing of Steve’s planned return to the company in June, while also partly a product of medical advice (which I as a chronic/severe illness sufferer know to be a poor predictor of what will really happen; poor at *best*), is no arbitrary time-table in the business sense. It is based quite directly on what may be the most important and dramatic product introduction of the year — the next major new iDevice.
That rumor is still under heavy embargo, but we’ll say this: imagine what the iDevice platform could do that isn’t yet done by the AppleTV, iPhone or iPod. Think of the biggest, most obvious gap in that product matrix and you will have a very good idea of what to expect….
Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3 of this series which will go into more specific detail about some of the history we’ve witnessed, and then looking forward at what we think the world of Apple will look like in 2034 when another 25 years have come and gone. We’ll also be reviewing Welcome to Mac and digging into some of the hottest dirt we’ve shoveled in years….don’t miss it!