Not many people realize the most special feature of iPhone 12: this will be the 10th generation iPhone launched without the guidance of founder Steve Jobs. Before he died of cancer, Jobs just released the iPhone 4, marking a big step in the design and performance of the Apple smartphone. In early 2011, he quit his job for treatment and in November died, exactly one day after Tim Cook unveiled the iPhone 4s.
10 years without Steve Jobs, even though it reached the $ 2 trillion milestone, Apple is often criticized for lack of creativity. Indeed, in the past 10 years Apple has not been able to make a revolution on par with an iPad or an iPod, let alone the iPhone. New products like the Apple Watch, the AirPods cannot replace the role of smartphones. Apple even let Amazon stand out in the smart speaker war, making HomePods a rare exception: for the first time in years, Apple was not at the forefront of building a new market.
It’s been 10 years since Steve Jobs unveiled the last iPhone in his life.
But saying so is somewhat unfair to Apple. Until now, the “modern smartphone” of Steve Jobs is only 13 years old.
The first revolution: From Apple II to MacBook Air
How does the age of the iPhone relate to Apple’s innovation? If you look at it really rigorously, Steve Jobs actually only made two revolutions in his whole life: the personal computing revolution and the mobile computing revolution.
Let’s go against the history of the company with the logo of the Apple Cut. In 1977, Steve Jobs and his friend Steve Wozniak had their first success through the Apple II, one of the pioneering machines for the concept of “personal computing”. Unlike most of its contemporaries, the Apple II is easy to assemble and use, and even has the ability to display colors.
The first revolution of Steve Jobs: The personal desktop computer.
By 1984, the concept of “computer for everyone” was brought to the next level by Steve Jobs with the Macintosh, the first commercial PC with an intuitive GUI interface. Just a year later, a conflict with the board led Steve Jobs to leave – at the same time, Bill Gates was also bringing the GUI to every home via Windows. In 1997, he returned to “revive” Apple through a unique iMac, a product considered to have contributed to the global Internet boom.
Three years before his death, he left his last legacy to the Mac in 2008, when he pulled the MacBook Air from inside an envelope. The easy-to-use Macintosh was now packed into a beautiful piece of metal; Cumbersome connections are gathered into a super handy experience with touchpad and Wi-Fi.
The iFan will call the Apple II, Macintosh 1984, iMac 1998 and MacBook Air 2008 revolutionary products. Few people realize that they are not truly separate revolutions, but just major updates, helping to bring a new better experience but does not change in nature. In the end, the Macintosh, the iMac, and the MacBook Air were all just products to inherit the role of the Apple II: the personal computers – the PC.
Steve Jobs’ later PC “revolutions” are essentially just a continuation of the Apple II revolution.
The Mobile Revolution of Steve Jobs
After the PC, Steve Jobs just made a second revolution: mobile. And this revolution includes the iPod, iPhone and iPad, which are the bright spots in the last 10 years of the founder of Apple. Again, they are not really separate revolutions but just closely related forms of the same revolution.
That is the mobile revolution. Seeing the danger that iPod sales could be “swallowed up” by feature phones, Steve Jobs embarked on the work of defining his own smartphone. The iPhone, which arguably paved the way for touch-enabled smartphones to become the most popular form factor, was derived from three simple aspects: “iPod. Telephones. Internet communications. “. Such a portable music player became the premise for the computer to shrink into the palm of the hand.
The iPod, iPhone, and iPad were not separate revolutions.
The Apple Watch and the AirPods are too – they still belong to the cellular revolution Apple initiated long ago.
And iPads are merely zoomed iPhones. The only difference is that the iPad screen is larger, and the experience and even the software are almost identical. iPad boomed just because users needed an entertainment device with a screen large enough to watch movies or read newspapers and a body small enough to hold in the hand. After this narrow demand was met, iPad sales saturated early, even before the iPhone.
Only once every 30 years
How far apart are the two Apple revolutions? If you chose the Apple II as the starting point for the personal computing revolution and the iPhone as the starting point for the mobile revolution, Steve Jobs’s company was exactly 30 years old. Even Steve Jobs and the geniuses at Apple took 30 years to revolutionize computers, from a desk (or lap) into the user’s palm (and pocket), from being a work-optimized tool to a connection-centric one.
Before that, 30 years was also the time for the world to move from the first electronic computer (developed in the second world) to the “computers” small enough for personal use. Apple II, Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit or IBM PC.
If Steve Jobs were still alive, it would take him another decade to create the next hi-tech revolution.
This means that we will have to wait at least a decade if we want to see “star change” in the world of hi-tech. And that’s the case smartphones can be replaced…
And Apple … The fact that Apple is still innovating – Apple Watch or AirPods is a typical example that the Apple family still has the ability to pioneer expanding new types of devices. But all of them can only help improve our familiar mobile experience, not completely change the nature of the hi-tech industry the way Apple II or iPhone did. Don’t blame Apple for losing creativity after Steve Jobs left: even if he stayed, Apple would only be half the way to the next milestone.