Written by Matthew JC Powell Friday, 17 August 2012 16:59
Sometimes I'm truly gobsmacked at the logical leaps people can take. Makes my head pin.
This is an interesting article on from DigiTimes. It's all about wireless charging technology that may appear some time in the second half of next year for Intel-based smartphones and Ultrabooks. That could be cool, I guess, though why you'd want to drain the battery in one mobile device for the benefit of another, I'm not really sure. If you want to, It's not that big of a hassle to carry a USB cable about, is it?
But I digress. This is an article from Macworld UK, which draws on the above DigiTimes article. It quotes extensively from the DigiTimes source, which suggests that the author read it, but then extrapolates in ways that suggest the author did not really understand it.
For one thing, a MacBook Air is not an Ultrabook. Most manufacturers' Ultrabooks look an awful lot like the MacBook Air, but the MacBook Air is an Apple design that does not employ all of the elements that allow computer manufacturers to call their machines "Ultrabook". That's an Intel trademark, you know, and if you don't meet the spec Intel won't let you use it.
Apple may or may not employ some future Intel technologies in future versions of the MacBook Air, but to assume that it will on the basis that the Air is an UltraBook is a fallacy.
For another thing, the article only refers to Intel-based smartphones. iPhones and iPads are not Intel-based. Honest, they're not. You can look it up. Is the author indicating inside knowledge suggesting that Apple is going to abandon its own chip development and migrate future iPhones and iPads to Intel-based processors, thus massively disrupting the app ecosystem it has so carefully built up over five years and that is the basis of its strength in the mobile marketplace?
You'd think that would be the headline, wouldn't you?
No, the author is bundling iPhones and iPads in amongst Intel-based smartphones — a category in which they do not belong.
Finally, the author makes the bald statement that "Apple’s MacBooks are often the first to receive Intel’s latest software". Wow.
Where to begin? How about "we're talking about hardware here"? Apparently the words "transceiver" and "receiver" were insufficient to tip off the author that this might not be a software-only solution.
Even if we assume the author meant "Intel's latest hardware and software" or something similar, the reply that leaps to mind is "no they're not". Apple's MacBook Air was the first to get Intel's low-profile processors that ended up as the basis for the Ultrabook spec, but such preferential treatment is the exception, not the rule. Generally, Apple picks and chooses what of Intel's innovations it wants to incorporate into its own products.
I'm not saying, of course, that it's impossible that the 2013 version of the MacBook Air — should a new model be released next year — will incorporate inductive charging technology, and that next year's iPhones and iPads will include the hardware and software modifications required to make use of it. It could happen. It may even be in some way based on the Intel developments to which the DigiTimes article refers. I doubt it, but maybe it could happen.
But the Macworld UK article simply offers no basis to believe that, and doesn't even offer it as a conjecture — just a fact. The nearest thing to a qualification is the "don't be surprised if" in the last line. Frankly, I will be surprised.
That wouldn't be a problem, of course — individual articles get stuff wrong all the time — but this one's been picked up by outlets like MacDailyNews, among others. And MacDailyNews doesn't question it — it's from a Macworld writer, so it must be true, right?
If it snowballs, with more outlets running it unquestioningly, it starts to gather weight simply because it appears everywhere. Other blogs might pick it up, assuming that Macworld UK and MacDailyNews know their stuff, and then it's mainstream.
Makes my head spin.
Discuss this article on MacTheForum
Written by Chris Oaten Friday, 02 March 2012 11:50
This is a yarn about some image editing software from OnOne — but first, I'd like to share a GarageBand story with you.
Some years back, I had an epiphany with the aid of GarageBand. See, for a long time I'd been trying to get this guitar lick to sound right on my acoustic six-stringer. It sounded OK — indeed, after some years of practise it sounded as slick as I could make it sound. But it always failed to sound like it should. I wanted Eric Clapton, but all I got was Tiny Tim.
What I didn't realise was that what the lick needed was some amplification. That, and a GarageBand preset called Roadhouse Rock, which took that neat bluesy lick and gave it some, er … well, you know ... oomph. Suddenly, I was the bar room blues god I always knew I could be.
Why am I sharing this? Because the GarageBand experience taught me that presets can be a wonderful thing — that borrowing somebody else's canned expertise can open new possibilities or solve a quandary that you might otherwise never have gotten on top of. And the wonder of presets doesn't end with guitar amp emulations.
Enter OnOne Software and its latest offering, Perfect Photo Suite 6 (PP6). This software isn't all that new, having been on the market since late 2011, but there's a good reason I haven't written about it yet and I'll reveal why shortly.
First, back to the beauty of presets. I know a lot of photographers and retouchers look down their noses at image edit presets. I understand why, too. Having spent a lot of time and effort honing their Photoshop talent, they see presets as a cheap alternative to real skills and, worse, a breeding ground for clichés. But what if you don't have the time for developing some 'shop skills? Or the innate talent for recognising what it is that a photograph needs to make it look even better than it already is? You need only witness the rise and rise of apps such as Instagram to see that people like presets — or, at the least, an easy fix.
But that thing about clichés holds true. I'm gonna scream if I see via Twitter another Instagram pic of what is actually a really boring photo pretending to be an interesting one with a coat of aquamarine wash and a bit of "antiquing". Spare me.
So where are we? How's this: Presets can be a great aid in bringing something extra to an image but be careful how you use them? There you have it. OK? Fair enough? And if you're one of those snobby Photoshoppers with some mad skillz, this is your stop. Off you get. We're gonna talk about an alternative approach to bringing some snap to images and we don't want you sitting at the back of the bus making snide remarks and chortling to yourselves.
Now, if you're thinking PP6 is just another collection of canned presets, I would be at fault for your thinking it, given the way I've been prattling on, so let's spell out what's in the package. Bear in mind the version designations for these modules indicate a full-point release of discrete software titles that can be purchased separately but the best value lies in buying them as the PP6 bundle, priced at $US299.95 (or $US149.95 as an upgrade from the earlier package). Further, installing PP6 gives you an Aperture or Lightroom plug-in, a Photoshop plug-in and standalone versions of the apps, so you're well covered for workflow options.
PP6 comprises seven editing modules:
• Perfect Portrait 1 is for portrait retouching; skin smoothing and blemish removal, that sort of thing.
• Perfect Layers 2 brings layer effects into an Aperture-based workflow. Pretty handy this, given that the absence of layers is a giant hole in Aperture's editing toolkit. Layers, if you weren't aware of them, provide the ability to stack images on top of one another, with areas of full or partial transparency that reveal images lower in the stack to provide a range of image effects, such as a faux multiple exposure, or a combination of simulated paper textures.
• Perfect Effects 3 provides a set of image effects. Black and white transformations, vintage looks, vignettes, movie style treatments, and so on. These are the canned effects with funky names such as "Dawntreader" that people commonly associate with plug-in software.
• Perfect Mask 5 provides a number of masking treatments such as removing backgrounds. It applies a different methodology than Photoshop and for some masking jobs — in particular those with a solid colour background — it is Photoshop's equal at masking.
• Perfect Resize 7 is an app some readers may have previously known as Genuine Fractals. It enables the enlargement of image files beyond their existing resolution and dimensions. A very handy tool for those in the print industry who need to upsize image submissions (or images sourced through unconventional means) to suit publication specs.
• Focal Point 2 is a selective focus tool. Add a soft-focus vignette, change the depth of field or create a tilt/shift effect.
• Photoframe 4.6 Pro allows you to frame your images with film edges, borders, textures and so on. Build textured page layouts for wedding albums, etc. It's another app that is easy to over-use but, applied with discretion, can be invaluable.
Right, so there's the package. And why have I not written about it until now? Because, performance-wise, it needs some work. I've been living in hope that a software update would materialise that fixed performance issues. Alas, that was not the case, though a minor maintenance update was issued not so long ago.
Perfect Portrait is a terrific tool if used carefully. Overplay the skin smoothing and your subjects will end up looking like wax Barbie dolls. But Perfect Portrait has some neat tricks. A useful feature is its facial recognition, which selects a face and applies a selection frame, so treatments are limited to faces; a good thing, because retouching arms as heavily as a face looks just weird.
But if you have two people or a group, the facial recognition slows to a crawl and clicking from one face selection to another is an exercise in frustration, with the software taking so long to respond that you end up clicking again, which of course reverses your action, so you click it again but nothing happens, so you wonder where you are. You need to click and wait for about 15 seconds if you can be that patient (but who can?) to get your desired response. This is painful.
Worse than the poor responsiveness is that it's crash-prone, especially with a group shot. The software just falls over.
Moving on to the Perfect Effects module, there are a number of image treatments I have to admit falling in love with. Problem is, it is horribly sluggish. A good feature is that selecting one of the image treatments will generate a preview, allowing you to test it before applying it and saving. Great! Except having to wait up to ten seconds for the preview to render gets old very quickly.
I understand why it's taking so long. Many of the image effects and other tricks in PP6 are complex treatments. But some users, especially those who prefer the quick-fix plug-in approach over the DIY Photoshop approach, may well fail to appreciate the complexity of what's happening under the hood and throw their arms up in despair.
See, there's a dichotomy at play here. Plug-in solutions should be fast to use. Many, if not all, of us have that expectation. We're conditioned to it. Photoshop solutions, on the other hand, are often laborious, time-consuming and require specialised skill. I'm sure I get no argument there. So when a plug-in solution such as PP6 is sluggish, it's hard not to feel let down, irrespective of how complex the processing task may be.
This is such a shame because the feature set of this software package really is terrific. I'm impressed with what OnOne has achieved. There is a world of canned effects that could take you a long time to work through and, with the ability to stack effects in layers, the possibilities for customisation are limitless. Also, it's fun to use, notwithstanding its sluggishness. The way the user experience unfolds is very much the opposite of the world of mystery that Photoshop presents to the uninitiated.
So here's the deal. When onOne updates PP6 and makes it snappy to use, I'll write reviews of each of the modules. Until then, you might want to hang on to your money because, sadly, I can't recommend it as is, unless you have the patience of Job.
That said, you can download a 30-day free trial of each module in PP6 or even the whole lot as the PP6 bundle itself. Just have a thermos of coffee handy. And maybe a deck of cards.
As a matter of disclosure, I trialled PP6 using a 2.8GHz i7 processor with 8GB RAM, which really should be adequate. It certainly doesn't fail me in Photoshop. If you have a fully-specced Mac Pro with stacks of RAM and a multi-core Xeon processor, brute force might just overcome PP6's sluggishness.
Written by Chris Oaten Sunday, 13 November 2011 18:13
Having recently entered a contract with Telstra for a 24-month plan with an iPhone 4, the 4S's features are of no real consequence to me, or so I thought. However, having now shot some video on a 4S, the temptation to pursue an upgrade is a good deal stronger. More about that in a moment.
The iPhone 4S release sure caused a stir, didn't it? I found it a bit of a laugh, actually. Some of the reporting was the worst I've yet read. Can anyone tell me how one "fails to live up to rumours"? How is that done, exactly?
Here's a rumour. Let's call it Rumour X. And it's been picked up by some media outlet, let's say Spews Limited, and presented as a "likely new feature" according to an expert insider who knows someone who works at Apple but can't, of course, reveal their name. So it could be anybody. Or nobody. When the 4S is released and the "new feature" isn't there, then according to Spews Limited maths, it just don't add up. Thus, Apple failed to live up to rumours.
Is that how the logic goes? Could someone help me out?
Another of my favourites was "New iPhone 5 is only half what you expected". Let's break that one down. It's not an iPhone 5. And, er ... no, hang on, that's it. The fact the people who made it call it an iPhone 4S should be a reasonable indication it's not an iPhone 5. Mind-boggling stuff.
(As a matter of disclosure, I was one of those who reported on the 3G when it was released in Australia. I was working for a newspaper at the time and the editor informed me there was a page three in it. That's the penultimate big deal in newspaper reporting. That's the editor saying he thinks it's big news — but not so big that it would knock the Pope dying off the front page. For a tech reporter, back then, page three was your call to the major league.
Fair enough, too, because the iPhone's first Australian release was a big deal. It would be the device that changed the smartphone landscape, that would get people to take notice of what a pocket-sized, phone-enabled computer could do for them. So, you might imagine, the report was a bit on the breathless side. Combined with a fancy layout with diagrams and a breakout, it was quite a splash.
I'm a little embarrassed now about how I wrote that piece. I remember the editor walking past on the day of publication, saying: "Well done, mate, you stopped just short of gushing, which is just how I wanted it".
I was also taken down a peg the next day by a critic writing for Crikey, who placed the importance of the iPhone's release in stark relief by pointing out the newspaper ran a story on page 17 about a murder on the north side of town. Page 17. Apple device trumps local murder, by 14 pages. I still think there's something disturbing about that.
But the point I'm trying to make here is that while my iPhone report had a bit of fanboy flavour about it, I can proudly tell you that its contents were based entirely on what actually did happen.)
When the iPad 2 came out, it so happened that I was trying some Android tablets: Motorola's Xoom, Samsung's Galaxy, and Acer's Iconia. I didn't care much for the Android OS, certainly not on a tablet, but what I really liked about each of those tablets was the camera. The camera on each of them really blew the iPad 2 away and I decided there and then I would wait until iPad 3.
It was a comfort, therefore, to see the quality of camera Apple has put into the 4S. If at least its equal is not in the iPad 3, I may well go postal. Although, given some of the decisions that have come out of Cupertino of late — yes, Final Cut Pro X, I'm looking at you — one could be forgiven for thinking that any crazy stuff could happen.
In any case, the video capability of the 4S is a very welcome improvement. Coupled with iMovie or a third-party video editor such as Splice, the 4S is now a viable consideration for vloggers who value mobility and accessibility over the features and multi-stepped workflows that go with shooting with a "real" video camera. I believe that with an iPhone 4S you could maintain a series of high-qaulity video snapshots of a holiday, cover a news event, or shoot a how-to video. Pretty much most simple video tasks. And do it with panache.
On the down side, there's no zoom in the 4S's camera, so if you are going to cover a news event, remember what famed war photographer Robert Capa said: "If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough". Also bear in mind that getting close enough can kill you, so use some judgment on that one.
How good is the video quality of the 4S? Better than an iPhone 4 camera? Pfft ... yeah. Better than a Flip HD? Yep (just). Better than a Nokia N9? Yep. Better than a DSLR — such as, say, a Canon 5D MkII? Now, there's an interesting comparison.
A video went up not long after the 4S was released comparing it to the Canon 5D MkII — the camera that started the DSLR video phenomenon. It compared some very average scenes — and by average I mean scenes that didn't really test the resolving power and clarity of the 4S's lens and sensor combination — shot on a 4S and a 5D MkII and presented a comparison that was very favourable for the 4S. However, what it didn't show was the 4S's negatives.
The 4S may be able to adjust exposure to suit a darker scene but at the same time it can't allow for control over colour temperature changes, so if you shoot some ducks in full light and then some ducks floating into a shady part of a pond, you get a clip from the shady shot that's cool and bluish. Put the warm, full-sun clips next to the bluish clips and they look ugly. The touch focus is pretty good but will hunt for the subject in high-contrast lighting. Also, it's too easy to slip your finger over the lens.
The jelly effect is still there, too. This is the distortion that happens to the geometry of the image when you jerk the camera suddenly. Avoid handheld shooting to minimise this effect.
With all that said, the 4S can produce some very satisfying video if you shoot within its limitations. And it's much smaller thatn an EOS 5D MkII.
In all the discussion about what the iPhone 4S is not, cannot to and does not deliver, not to mention what the number on the box isn't, some things were overlooked. Not the least of which was what it can do as a still and video camera — something actually worth reading. Some of the media outlets reporting on the device's lamentable lack of being called "iPhone 5" actually wanted you to pay for the privilege of reading it.
Like that's going to happen.
Written by Matthew JC Powell Sunday, 06 November 2011 22:19
For various reasons I've been thinking a lot about Steve Jobs lately. In particular I've been thinking about the eulogising of him as an industrialist alongside Ford, an inventor alongside Edison, a creative genius alongside Da Vinci. It occurs to me that it wasn't always that way.
In his book Walter Isaacson recounts how shortly after Jobs's sacking from Apple the then-President of the USA, Ronald Reagan, held a dinner for 500 top Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. Steve wasn't invited. 26 years ago, Steve Jobs wasn't considered one of the top 500 people in Silicon Valley with whom the President ought to rub shoulders. And that hurt him deeply.
But when Barack Obama invited him to a far more select dinner, he held out on accepting because the invitation hadn't come directly from the President. Even after he accepted, he fussed about the menu and almost backed out when he learned there were going to be others there.
You might think after the Reagan snub that he'd have been enthusiastic to find Presidential acceptance later in his career, but no. His stature had changed dramatically, and he knew it. Indeed he wanted Barack Obama to know exactly which one of them held the upper hand.
26 years ago Steve Jobs had already been the wunderkind who founded Apple, who virtually created the personal computer industry (to a point) and who had brought the world the revolutionary Macintosh. All of that was behind him, but no invite. No Edison, no Ford, no Da Vinci.
I mention this because I think some folks reading this might not remember what it was like in 1996 when Apple bought NeXT. I think in retrospect it's imagined as a kind of thunderous charge on mighty stallions with trumpets and cannons and whatnot. It wasn't. I was there. I remember.
What you need to recall is that at the time NeXT was essentially a vanity venture that Apple picked up for what would be considerd pocket change by the scale of just about any corporate takeover ever, and Pixar — while well-loved — had not yet gone public so no-one really knew how much it was worth. Steve Jobs was basically the guy in charge of a bunch of toys.
Apple was a bigger thing even then than either of those companies, and it looked for all the world unsalvageable. The guy who made the NeXT Cube and Toy Story? He's gonna turn it around somehow? I don't think so.
Well, I didn't think so. And neither did a lot of people. The ousting of Gil Amelio was the catalyst (among a number of other factors, but it was the last straw) that saw Macworld and MacUser merge into one magazine. Apple's dumped another CEO — they're gone. That was the thinking. Honestly. I worked for Macworld at the time, so I know these things.
Let me give you another little bit of context, from my own perspective. in 1995 The Beatles released Anthology. The rarities and alternate takes and stuff were all well and good, but the big thing was Paul, George and Ringo all working together again to "finish" two unfinished John Lennon songs.
I may have mentioned over the years that I'm a bit of a Beatles fan. I don't make a big thing about it, but there it is.
I was beside myself with anticipation. I was, for a short time at least as we all knew it was a one-off thing, going to live in a world where The Beatles were a current group. I was going to hear a new Beatles song on the day it was released. This was going to be huge.
I don't know if you will recall "Free As A Bird". It was, you know, OK. Had a cool video. But I was hoping for a classic, a world-changer, a meisterwerke. It was, you know, OK. "Real Love", the second single from that project, was much better, but Lennon had also finished it much more, so there was less for the 1995 Beatles — The Threetles as fans called them — to do.
Anyway, the big Beatles comeback was something of a disappointment for me. So by the end of 1996, when Steve Jobs came back to Apple, I was primed for disappointment.
I went to the Worldwide Developer Conference in 1997, at which Jobs gave his first "real" public presentation as an Apple employee again. It wasn't part of the Conference, it was a side session — "A Fireside Chat With Steve Jobs". There were microphones, so developers could ask him questions and he'd chat. It was incredibly informal, and rightly so, given Jobs at the time had no formal role at Apple.
You can watch it on YouTube, of course — these days everything is permanently accessible — but at the time it was pretty cool to be there in the room with him. I didn't ask any questions, naturally, but a few people did. Including one fellow who gave Jobs a withering put-down about "what have you personally done for the past seven years". It was harsh.
Steve Jobs was respected by the people in that room, but he was not revered. To his credit he took the barbs well and responded respectfully. I doubt very much that the Steve Jobs who nearly snubbed Obama would have done the same.
Anyway, my point is that 25 years ago Jobs wasn't revered, and even 14 years ago at the start of his tenure as Apple CEO he wasn't treated with anything like the awe that he later commanded.
He turned Apple around. He took a business that was as dead as they get and turned it into one of the biggest companies on earth, with unprecedented reach and influence. He ushered into being some amazing devices and services that radically altered the way people buy and handle media content.
All of that was since 1998 though. Really, since 2001 and the iPod, since the iMac was cool and all but didn't really change anything. So the reverence with which Steve Jobs was thought about at the time of his death was based, really, on ten years' work.
It was good work, of course, and it's made people go back and re-evaluate what he'd done before. Retrospectively, Apple was insane to have forced him out. The NeXT Cube was amazing and ahead of its time, and did you know Tim Berners-Lee invented the web on one? Gil Amelio was an incompetent lunatic who was driving Apple into the dirt and thank goodness Steve, the Greatest CEO Of All Time, was there. History is often improved when you look at it through the lens of what came after.
Then again, the reverence with which The Beatles are treated — with which no less a personage than Steve Jobs himself treated them — is based on only eight years' work.
But Steve's comeback was better.
Written by Matthew JC Powell Monday, 17 October 2011 23:14
Note: I wrote this shortly after the "Let's talk iPhone" event, but given the events immediately following that, I elected not to publish it. I think enough time has elapsed now. I've updated it accordingly. — MJCP
May I call you Tim? Steve never seemed to mind being called Steve, but he was a counter-cultural type and you're a bit more — how can I put this — "button-down". I don't know if the first-name-basis thing is going to be your style. Even so, you're the CEO of Apple now, and your customers would like to think that, in some way, they're your buddy. Comes with the job.
I watched you "talk iPhone" and, to be entirely honest with you, I was a tad underwhelmed. Not with the products, mind you — I think the iPhone 4S looks pretty cool and all those disappointed people should pin their hopes on rumour sites a little less. No, I was underwhelmed with the presentation.
This was, as you said, your first gig as permanent CEO of Apple, and a great many eyes were on you. The pressure must have been huge. In hindsight, I expect there was a possibility you knew how dire Steve's situation was, and that contributed to a sombre sort of mood. That's understandable. It's human, and one of the things that has always separated Apple from the rest is its humanity. Don't ever lose it.
You've been given one of the toughest jobs in the world. Not the management of the world's most valuable publicly-listed company with tens of thousands of employees (though that's no doubt tough) — you're the guy who has to follow Steve Jobs. Particularly since his passing but even before that, you must have known that you will quite simply never be compared favourably to him. That's no reflection on you, it's just reality. He's on a pedestal now — the superhuman "Saint Steve", greatest genius of our time. He's Edison, Einstein and Da Vinci rolled into one. You're in his shadow, and it's unlikely you'll ever get out.
Most incoming CEOs have an opportunity to stamp their authority on a company quickly. Usually, this is because the last CEO was golden-parachuted out of there or resigned in disgrace. The new guy can come in and say "the era of that schmuck is over, everything he planned is cancelled and we're doing things my way now" and investors respond favourably to the new "direction" even before it's necessarily been set.
You don't get to do that. If you do, you'll terrify millions of people and it won't be long before you're the CEO of something that is not the most valuable publicly-listed company in the world anymore. Rather, investors want you to do the things Steve would do, to maintain the course Steve set. They want you to be as much like Steve as possible. With that in mind, I have a few bits of advice to give you.
First, be as much like Steve as possible. I don't mean turtlenecks and 501s — that would be creepy. I mean for your public appearances and addresses like "Let's Talk iPhone" you have to be what Steve was — intense, focussed and above all enthusiastic.
Steve had a talent for seeming like he was seeing the stuff he was showing off for the first time. He was the ultimate insider, yet he was also one of us. When something impressed him, he let it impress him. When it was exciting, he let himself be excited. His joy at seeing a new product unveiled was the template for the audience's joy.
The way you drawled about how excited you were practically snapped my brain — it was that much of a contradiction. I accept that you're from Alabama and that imposes certain limitations. That's OK, we just have to work within those. You're never going to have Steve's staccato. But Alabamans do get excited, right?
Now, I don't mean you should manufacture enthusiasm — look on YouTube for videos of Steve Ballmer to see how badly wrong that can go. I do mean that what you say and how you act need to be more in alignment. If you're not excited, don't say you are. Steve wouldn't.
Also, Steve was brutally unsentimental. If something didn't work or didn't fit his vision of where the company and the industry ought to be going, he would kill it without regard to how much had been spent on it already, or how much a part of the company's history it might be. He lived in the future.
I'm told, possibly unreliably, that Steve left plans for the next few years for what Apple ought to get up to. Stories range from "he left ideas for four products" up to "he mapped out a timeline of the next twenty years". The truth is probably different, and you needn't tell me. It was wise of Steve to plan like that — any CEO should have long-sighted plans, especially one who is aware he might be leaving soon.
You have to be brutally unsentimental with those plans too. Maybe Steve was a brilliant visionary genius who actually did anticipate what the entire industry would do in the next decade and exactly what Apple should do to shape that. More likely he had a few good guesses and got some things wrong. The last thing Apple or the rest of us need is for you to cling to those plans because they were Steve's. If it turns out that the best plan for Apple five years from now is entirely different to what Steve planned, ditch Steve's plan. Steve would.
My other bit of advice is don't be like Steve. I know, it's a paradox. Bear with me.
From before the iPhone announcement, but for the past few years in particular, Apple seemed to be very consciously putting other faces up in front of audiences as much as possible. You, Phil, Scott and so on. This was smart, because there had come a point where Steve and Apple were seen as synonymous, inseparable, like Steve was the one toiling away through the night coming up with amazing gadgets for the rest of you to sell. That was bad, because it hung far too much of the company's fate on the performance of one person. That makes investors nervous.
It was very prudent to show the public and investors just how many smart, creative people there are at Apple. They may not get exactly what it is all those people do, but they know that they exist and they work in Cupertino making Macs and stuff.
The problem is, few people outside the technology industry know what a Chief Operating Officer does. For that matter, few people inside the industry do. As far as a great many of your customers know, you're a numbers guy who never invented a single thing before being handed Steve's job. (And a lot of Apple old-timers will remember that last time Apple's COO got promoted to the top job it was Michael Spindler, and that was ... well ... sub-optimal.)
You have to fix that.
Where Steve had to break the "creator myth" you need to create one. Where Steve could sit back and act more as an MC to recent Apple presentations, and indeed needed to, you need to be the guy out front as much as possible. You have to give us the impression that every device, every application, every OS update is forged in the sweat of your very own brow. We must believe that every single nut and bolt, every curve and every line, has met with your approval. We must start to believe that you're the guy toiling away inventing stuff.
Don't sideline Scott and Phil, though — they're good presenters. But when someone else is showing off their products, you still have to be on stage watching while we watch, judging the presentation just as we do. And just as we're judging you.
And the last bit of advice: don't be a bozo. Back in 1998 when Steve was maintaining the pretense that he was heading up the team searching for a new CEO rather than becoming the CEO, he said that once before he'd left his company in the hands of a bozo and he didn't want to hand it over to another bozo. Apparently he didn't find anyone who wasn't a bozo — anyone who he could trust to be Apple's CEO.
So he made one. He spent over a decade building the company, including recruiting you mentoring you and making you into the person he could see as the next CEO. I don't know what lessons he taught you, or what qualities he saw in you that he nurtured and which qualities he trained out of you. That's between you and him. I don't think that he "made you in his image" as someone suggested — that's a bit demeaning and disrespectful to your contributions. But I do believe he invested in making you the best Apple CEO you could be.
He trusted you not to get so focused on one thing that you ignore everything else like Sculley did, nor to pursue so many cool projects at once that nothing ever comes together into a coherent plan like Spindler did, nor to treat Apple like it was just any other business the way Amelio did. Those men were bozos of the highest order and under their leadership Apple stood still for a decade. Steve trusted you not to stand still.
I have every confidence that you will not disappoint that trust. I wish you every success, and hope that you will take my advice in the spirit in which it is intended.