You do realize Apple is not actually magic, don’t you? I mean, it’s a corporation, it’s run by people — human beings, mortals. That whole magic thing is just made up. Like Santa, or that Flo from Progressive. A thing we say and it’s fun but it’s not real. Not really real.
You do know this, right?
Because fuck if we can’t get analysis of Apple, it’s moves, its changes, its products, without analysts contorting themselves to tell you, to tell the world, that Apple is magical!
Oh, and Steve Jobs is dead. Still.
As Apple gets even bigger, even richer, as it very rationally chases profits deep into China and around the world, those whose money comes from the glowing Apple halo, the constant talking about Apple, about what Apple will do, won’t do, might do, should do, shouldn’t do, for this product, for the next product —
BECAUSE IT’S THE FUTURE!
…we are left with analysis that’s not really analysis but instead one never-ending reminder that Apple is all things that are right and good for now and forever for one and for all (except for those icky people who want only those products which are made by companies who race down to the bottom). Because Steve. Because magic.
This is a lie.
The Apple halo spreads wealth and middling fame to many, far more than any other company in the world, and those made rich from the Apple halo are incentivized not to offer analysis but rather proof — PROOF! — that Apple is magic.
Spoiler: Apple is not magical. Apple is a for-profit corporation headquartered in the surprisingly dull town of Cupertino, California.
Which brings me to the promotion of Jony Ive.
It’s not a promotion.
Tim Cook remains fully, 100% in charge of Apple.
Thus, when Gruber says: “I can see Cook-Ive as a sort of titular reversal of the Jobs-Cook C-level leadership duo. Cook oversees operations and “running the company”; Ive oversees everything else,” it’s shockingly wrong.
Tim Cook is fully in charge of Apple. Jony Ive, who already reported directly and only to Tim Cook *still* reports directly and only to Tim Cook.
Jony Ive is still *not* in charge of retail. Jony Ive is still *not* in charge of the money. Jony Ive is still *not* in charge of marketing.
Nor software development. Nor hardware. Nor iCloud…
Moreover, Jony Ive is no longer in charge of design on a day-to-day level. And I can assure you, even those of you whose business experience comes from blogging, if you aren’t in charge of the day-to-day, you aren’t in charge.
This is good.
Jony Ive without Steve Jobs is like Paul McCartney without John Lennon. Just silly love songs.
Consider what Ive has done since Tim Cook (then) placed him in charge of all “human” design:
iOS 7 — which is just ugly
iOS 6 — a Samsung phablet derivative
Apple Watch — pricey jewelry that does damn near nothing
It’s very telling that in the same piece where Gruber suggests Ive is co-CEO, that he says this of iOS 7:
(Ive) and (Alan) Dye more or less assembled a new team. This sort of thing invariably ruffled feathers from the prior UI designers in the company — especially those who worked under Forstall on the iOS team.
Wink, wink. iOS 7 is a fail.
So where are we?
Here: the idea that Jony Ive is now or ever will be co-CEO is wrong. Apple is a business. The world’s biggest. The CEO doesn’t go about handing over his authority to someone else…
IT’S FOR THE GOOD OF APPLE!
But we can’t be told the truth of Apple, not ever. Because we must believe Apple is magic. We must believe that the ghost of Steve Jobs magically guides all who enter. Because magic. Because to ever describe or analyze or review Apple and its products in non-magical terms reduces Apple to what it really is, a corporation. And corporations are filled with politics, in-fighting, competition, collaboration, the very best, the typically middling, and sometimes the worst of humanity.
But to say this, to reveal this obvious and verifiable truth is to dim the Apple halo and if we dim the halo the Apple blogosphere is similarly dimmed.
In Gruber’s piece about Jony Ive and the company’s “masterful” announcement of his “promotion,” he mentions Steve Jobs six (6!) times.
The ghost of Steve Jobs now resides within Jony Ive!
Gruber also links to the Ben Thompson piece on the Jony Ive “promotion.” And I quote:
Steve Jobs’ spiritual partner
Jobs believed so deeply
(Ive) now serves Steve Jobs’ function as the soul of Apple
Jobs’ spiritual partner
JOBS! HE WALKS AMONG US!
Jony Ive has zero experience in retail, zero experience in marketing, zero experience in hardware or software development, in cutting deals with Hollywood, in anything at all related to the critical importance of the cloud. To think he’s now a “co CEO” is laughable.
You won’t hear this from the echo chamber, however, because it comes damn close to suggesting that Apple is not, might not be…magic.
Spoiler: Apple is not magic.
I’ll close with this: wanting to believe, to believe in magic, is a deeply held human trait. It resides within us all. Some seek magic in the word of the Lord. Some seek magic in the quiet of nature. I wouldn’t dare mock these people for their faith, for wanting to believe in magic.
But if you seek magic from a giant, global, for-profit corporation, you may be disappointed.