Motherhood and Apple pie

I have mentioned previously that, in technology terms, I am an Apple man. I have two Apple Macintosh desktop computers and one laptop; I have an iPhone; I have an iPad; I have two iPods; I have an Apple TV. At times in my long life I have used PCs, and I am proficient in the use of Windows, but I am always glad to get back to my Apple stuff.

But part of the Apple culture I subscribe to was formed in days of, if not adversity, then at least underdog status. First it was the hegemony of ‘IBM-compatible’ computers (a term the younger generation will never even have heard of), then of MS-DOS (which was the dawn of Microsoft), then of Windows. While these systems controlled 90 per cent or thereabouts of personal computing, it was fun to be part of the alternative Apple culture. Or at least, it was fun until Steve Jobs left Apple and its products started to look like the faceless IBM/Microsoft competition. Those were the days that I moved over for a while to Windows, made more fun by the fact that my computers were home-made by my Faculty’s then technology officer.

But Jobs returned to Apple, the Truth was re-discovered and made more Perfect still, and everything in my house went back to Purity and Good Design. Then came the iPod and the iPhone and the iPad, and all this is even more perfect than anything before. Indeed, the iPad is probably signalling the New Age of electronic enlightenment. But something is not the same. We are not the oppressed minority, we are not the under-dogs. Apple has become the largest global technology company, it almost totally controls online music sales. It does not have the dominant market share in either smartphones or computers, but it has the recognised leading product in each. Out-manoeuvered for so long by Microsoft, Apple is now thought by some analysts to be getting ready to take over its old rival. The future is Apple.

Or is it? The question mark in the story hovers over Steve Jobs himself. Here is the man who, without a doubt, gives Apple its identity, its style, its ability to fuse technology with design and culture. And he is ill. Yesterday he announced, again, that he is taking leave from the company to deal with health issues. How dependent is the world’s Apple future on this one man? Or has he now instilled in the company a sense of design and destiny that will survive him if he were to retire?

Indeed, the question is this: is computing success the product of better technology, or is it a cultural matter? I must do a bit of research on this. On my iPad of course.

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4 Comments on “Motherhood and Apple pie”

  1. anna notaro Says:

    Surely Ferdinand this is NOT the question, (unless a rhetorical one) since technogy and culture are in symbiotic relationship. A suggestion for your research: D. Nye’s Technology Matters ( As for the impact of Jobs’ illness on the future of the company, it will be negative in the short term, however there is a collective dimension to knowledge creation/technical innovation that cannot be underestimated as recent literature has pointed out (

  2. jfryar Says:

    I’m pretty sure Steve Jobs didn’t invent the iPod, iPhone, iPad or any other Apple product – they were the result of thousands of people working in market research, as scientists, engineers, designers, etc. So the products will continue with or without Steve Jobs at the helm. Mr. Jobs role, as with any CEO, is to have a vision of where the organisation is going and put people around him to achieve it. Now, having emerged from the same-ness of other technology companies, Apple has a clear ‘view’ of what it does and how it differs from other companies. It’s much easier now for someone else to continue that legacy if and when Steve Jobs retires so Apple will continue to go from strength to strength …

    For a while anyway because I think it’s only a matter of time, like all big companies, before Apple will be broken apart on issues of competition.

  3. John Says:

    You might like this interview with Jonathan Ive who leads the design of Apple products under direction of Steve Jobs.

    Dieter Rams introduces it. He designed Braun products for many years and is a big influence on Jonathan Ive.

  4. The future is fidgetal

    Thought you might appreciate the below copy and link:

    Hundreds of readers have shared their own linguistic creations after reading a recent Magazine feature lamenting the way the popularity of technology is changing the way we speak.

    In a backlash against the growing use of alienating jargon, people have been coming up with their own wry interpretations of the all-consuming technological revolution.

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