Apple had some rather spectacular failures as well. The Newton (of which I was an early adopter) never really worked as desired. Here’s an article about the Newton and seven more Apple goofs. Anyone remember the Pippin? At least I never succumbed to that one.
The recent release of the iPhone 4S, Steve’s last imprint on Apple, shows that Apple still may not predict the market with perfect accuracy. The remake is really much more phenomenal than it originally seemed. Better processor, better camera, more memory, better antenna system, and Siri, the latter of which in some ways brings to fruition some of the original magic conceived for the Newton projects. See this video from 1987:
It only took about 25 years to bring this futuristic technology to the future.
But Apple is taking somewhat of a hit over what is really a significant upgrade…because users were expecting a new screen and new case. A 4 inch screen and a more streamlined case would have gotten big accolades; huge new tech innovations are getting a “meh”. You can rest assured that the iPhone 5 will have a new form-factor, hopefully not introduced too late to smash the competition. Personally, I’m satisfied with the iPhone 4 housing. As Steve once said, it is “like a beautiful old Leica camera”.
My friends (and even Mrs. Dalai) have asked me what I think will become of Apple now that Steve is gone. I’m hoping for the best, really. Steve must have left some documentation of how he thought things should work, and his hand-picked successor, Tim Cook, seems quite qualified to carry on the traditions. There are enough brilliant people working for Apple that I can’t imagine it will founder much, if at all. I have great faith in their people to carry on. You can rest assured that the motto for the foreseeable future will be: “What Would Steve Do?”
Perhaps my greatest regret about Steve’s untimely passing was voiced by AuntMinnie user Elegiac:
Imagine what he might have accomplished had he focused his creative energies on developing solutions for medical informatics. It is hard to imagine how much more productive we all would be if we used a unified and properly designed PACS/VR/RIS/EMR system created by people who placed value on an integrated work environment which just works. What could have been.
Indeed. PACS vendors take note.
A hat tip to Radio17 who reminds us on the AuntMinnie thread that 3D advanced imaging is one of Steve’s Pixar legacies as well. From an ACR article about Elliot Fishman, M.D.:
The Brooklyn native (and Yankees fan) arrived at Hopkins in 1980, and by the mid-1980s, began working in 3-D medical imaging. He characterizes the state of the art back then as “pretty limited.” Looking around, Fishman approached and began partnering with Pixar Image Computers (and later, with Siemens), where a cadre of elite researchers was doing seminal work on computer visualization using ultra-fast proprietary computers. Fishman’s contribution was to help Pixar adapt its massively complex technology to the medical front. Ultimately, Pixar shifted its focus away from medical computing, but its groundbreaking work opened the door for a host of scientific revolutions. In time, Pixar would enjoy tremendous commercial (and critical) success making such movies as Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Cars.
Recalling those halcyon years of around-the-clock work, Fishman says, “The people at Pixar were the smartest people I’ve ever worked with, anywhere. I’m talking 11 over 10 — just incredibly unbelievable.” But he reserves his warmest praise for Pixar CEO (and Apple Computer founder) Steven Jobs. “He is a remarkable visionary and also one of the most charismatic people I’ve ever met.”
“One of the highlights of my career,” he continues, “was giving a named lecture at Stanford University. Steve came to my one o’clock lecture on 3-D imaging, which I’ll never forget. I figured I’d be speaking to radiologists, so even if I was wrong on some technical point, they might not know the difference. But with Steve there, I realized that if I made a mistake … ‘Oh, my God, if I say something wrong, he will definitely know.’”
Rest in peace, Steve. You will be missed.