The death of Apple founder Steve Jobs today has everyone talking about his many accomplishments, especially in the last decade: the iPod (2001), the iTunes store (2003), the iPhone (2007) the iPad (2010). Each one was an incredible leap forward (iTunes alone ushered in an era of legal digital music).
But what I find so interesting is the innovation Jobs brought to Apple when he returned in 1996 that made all those other accomplishments possible. It started, perhaps, with 1997’s Think Different campaign. It was just an ad campaign (and not developed by Jobs), but the idea soon became a reality as Apple introduced the iMac in 1998. The iMac literally re-thought computers with an emphasis on out-of-the-box ease-of-use (“There is no step three!”) and, of all things, style. Later the same philosophy came to laptops with the iBook in 1999 and delicious color choices like tangerine.
And Apple Computers became cool again.
All of that innovation to their core product brought the company back from the brink and laid the groundwork for what was to come. Without the success of the iMac, there would be no iPod.
Unicorns and wheels, as Jason Kottke describes it. The lesson here is that if you want to create unicorns, you have to learn how to create wheels first.
(If you’re unfamiliar with Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement address, “How to Live Before You Die,” you should read or watch it. Good stuff.)
So U2 and Green Day welcomed the New Orleans Saints back to the Superdome in style with a mesmerizing 10-minute performance that rivals U2’s 2002 SuperBowl appearance. And you can watch it on YouTube. The highlight of the show was the groups performing “The Saints are Coming”, an old Skids song (Andrew Careaga’s got the history). The song and performance were a benefit for Music Rising, an organization the Edge started to help replace the instruments of Gulf Coast musicians.
Now here’s where it gets weird. U2, Green Day and Music Rising partnered with Rhapsody to offer downloads of the performance to benefit Music Rising. Rhapsody, which is incompatible with Mac and less than compatible with iPods? The song is going out to radio, and a commercial CD release is planned for November 7.
So if you’ve got a U2 iPod you may have a hard time getting the latest U2 song on it, at least for now. So what gives? Did U2 and Apple have a falling out? Was Apple not willing to give the benefits to Music Rising (doubt it, seems like Apple has done charity downloads before)? Or is music so last year and Apple is too focused on video? Weird.
One of my roommates just got a brand new Macintosh G-3 yesterday. It’s the snazzy new bluish looking Mac with the big handles. Personally, I’m a PC man. I use a PC. I like a PC. I’m some what biased to a PC because it’s the only thing I’ve used (besides my old Commodore 64, but that doesn’t count). But I must say, the new Apples are rather appealing (pun definitely intended). They look good, I mean darn good. They’re aesthetically pleasing. Almost beautiful. There’s just something about a colored computer that’s cool. It’s not your run of the mill computer, which I guess is Apple’s whole deal (Think Different). I do have to wonder how people who care about interior decorating feel about the new Macs though. In a college dorm room, it really doesn’t matter. Just an odd thought. So what am I saying? Nothing really, just that I like what Mac is doing. They’ve got a nice ad campaign going, they have good looking computers, and they don’t have Bill Gates. No other computer company can say that. Hmm, maybe I’ll have to start looking into a Mac. Of course actually using a Mac is a whole other world. Oh Andy, can I…